Expressing Gratitude This Holiday Season

Thanksgiving Day is traditionally a time where friends and family come together, eat turkey, watch the Macy’s Day parade, and brace themselves for early Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday steals.

Within the memories we create and the traditions with loved ones, we also bring the personal appreciation into our work through practicing gratitude this holiday.

We hope as you read this post, you’re gearing up for the holiday season, getting ready to celebrate and make new traditions, and reminding students who won’t be home for the holidays that they matter.

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving in student affairs and higher education without giving a few shoutouts to our co-workers and colleagues, and truly appreciating everything they do.

Last year we kicked off the holiday season by reflecting on all we’re grateful for and this year we turned it over to you!

What better way than asking our community and browsing posts about the upcoming holidays in search of answers…

What student affairs and higher ed pro’s are grateful for this holiday season:


Outside of social media, we collected quotes from professionals who were grateful about many aspects of their work:

“The robust Thanksgiving dinners provided by dining staff and bringing everyone together on campus this holiday season.”

“The opportunity to have conversations and connect with colleagues via #sachat, #sapro, #sjechat, and individual conversations via social media.”

“I’m grateful to be a first-generation college student to inspire younger students on their own path and share my story to help them.”

“Graduate students with strong work ethics while on their quest for knowledge.”

“I’m grateful for the student affairs mentors and the people who guided me to where I am today.”


“The ability to impact the future leaders of the world.”

“Students who keep you young (as you get older, they seem to stay the same age).”

“Having the opportunity to build leaders.”

“The ability to foster change and understand student mentality.”

“Learning new things from different students everyday.”

“Educating others about the importance of creating inclusive environments.”

“Proximity to incredible grassroots student activism.”

How to Celebrate and Appreciate Co-Workers

A few minutes of reflection can guide us in really pulling out some unique qualities and positive characteristics in our co-workers. Make a list of your teammates and jot down a few reasons why they should be appreciated this holiday season.

Here are some questions to reflect on when writing a quick thank you note:

  • What skills make them who they are? What do they bring to the team? (honesty, reliability, creativity…)
    • For example, my supervisor and CEO, Reuben Pressman is super positive. Him and my teammate Mike Janofsky, Director of Happiness, are always making puns and invoking laughter in the office. They’re great at balancing humor with hard work, making our office space a fun place to work.
    • Or make it super personal. For example, I know Reuben really trusts me in my role and do the work needed to be successful with building our community. I appreciate that he handed over the reigns and believes in me to bring new ideas to our team. Thanks Reubs!
  • What do they do that makes you smile?
    • For example, every morning Lindsay Murdock makes her way up the stairs and greets the team with “Hi, Fam!” or “Hi, Team!” very enthusiastically. It’s something small, yet a great morning reminder that we’re all in this together despite our busy work schedules and projects.
    • Personally, Lindsay and I have been working as Inclusion Strategists with social justice professional Saby Labor since the summer, to increase awareness and knowledge around diversity and inclusion efforts within the company. They’ve both been rockstars and my personal knowledge has increased twofold because of them. Thank you team!

While it’s nice for all of us to reflect on what or who we’re thankful or grateful for this holiday season, here are some tips to make sure you’re communicating appreciation effectively:

  • Communicate appreciation outside of social media, try a face-to-face or through a thoughtful thank you note.
  • It doesn’t have to be a huge to-do – just do it.
  • Be genuine, if you’re doing for the sake of celebrating the season, re-consider if this is the best time. A busier time of the year may be a better time to show gratitude *cough* April *cough*.

Your Thoughts!

How do you express gratitude to co-workers or colleagues this holiday season?

Do you opt to show gratitude at other times during the year?

Tweet us a @HelloPresence with your thoughts! We’d love to hear from you.

Kayley Robsham

About the author: Kayley Robsham is the former Community Engagement Manager at Presence, the complete student engagement platform. Learn how we can help get your students involved.

Check I'm Here is now Presence. Learn more about this change in our blog post here.