Every holiday has its icons. For Valentine’s Day, it’s the Cadbury heart shaped assorted chocolate box by a landslide. You know Valentine’s Day is coming when the isles at your local drug store are packed with them. We’ve come a long way from the original Valentine’s Day, ironically established to celebrate the lives of two Roman men, both named Valentine, who were executed on February 14. The significance of this day made the journey from executions to the celebration of love. Along the way, there came a trend known as “Vinegar Valentines” in 19th century America. They were anonymous cards sent to people with the intention of pointing out their negative qualities, not the loving ones. Thankfully that trend has passed us by! Valentine’s Day is often a day of joy, sometimes sorrow, and still always fundamental importance.
As we give remembrance and acknowledgement to those in the most special places in our hearts, let’s not forget those in our work place. How do you show your appreciation to the people you work with on Valentine’s Day? Here are five ideas that top the list without breaking your budget.
- Acknowledge a job well done or a particular talent that you admire. Depending on your work environment or your own personal style, this might be stopping by someone’s desk to pay him or her a sincere compliment, writing a note, or picking up the candy he or she is always craving. Words of encouragement can go a long way.
- Say thank you. A simple “thank you” can show more gratitude than you think. Workers who feel appreciated are more prone to step up and do more than what is expected. Chocolates are a “gimme” when it comes to V-Day giving, but nothing is likely to be as powerful as the words, “I am grateful for you.”
- Make them laugh. This one may sound cheesy, but there are a host of benefits you bestow on a person when you bring out a genuine laugh. It’s a universal response that is delightfully contagious. Give one person the gift of giggles and watch the whole office join. Laughter is truly the best medicine as it heals the body, mind and soul.
- Break bread, or better yet, cake! If your team is quirky enough to appreciate cake-decorating together, that’s one way to take the Valentine’s Day workplace bonding to the next level. Spruce it up by cutting it into a heart-shape. Add some festive candies to the top. I am a believer that teams who eat together are happier and more effective together. Snap a picture of the final product and put it on your company’s social media accounts. Even better yet, make it a competition!
- Cut out early as a team (with the boss’s permission!) This suggestion is actually geared towards you, Boss. Surprising your team by allowing them to leave an hour or two early can show your care for them and make that day a little more memorable. Who wouldn’t mind beating out the rush hour traffic, right?
Like any holiday, remembrance is what Valentine’s Day is all about. Whether it’s remembering to give thanks, remembering those who have served our country, or remembering spiritual significance in our lives, there is one common thread that runs through all of our holidays; love. One might say that Valentine’s Day is the holiday of all holidays because it embodies the unifying theme of what and why we celebrate. Whatever you choose this Valentine’s Day, remember love is given in all types of forms from a hug, to a kind word, or to a Cadbury heart-shaped chocolate box. What matters most is that it comes from the heart.