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Arrangements in pastel shades and the softest yellows, peaches, warm pinks, creamy whites and subtle greens make us feel safe, snug and loved. Consider a nurturing floral arrangement for a new mother, a sick friend or a grieving loved one – anyone who would benefit from a caring, loving embrace. See five emotional color palettes and the flowers that bring them to life.

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A low, clustered floral arrangement in all shades of pink symbolizes opening the heart and making others more receptive to you. Start and end the day counting your blessings, by placing this floral design of gratitude on a nightstand, dresser or in the kitchen.

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Holidays & Occasions Christmas Express Holiday Gratitude
Poll Reveals Unsung Heroes Who Deserve Holiday Gratitude PDF Print E-mail
Flower Holidays, Occasions & Parties - Christmas Flowers

Flowers from a floristWhy We Give More Gifts Than We Receive

University Research Reveals Why Flowers are the Perfect Gift to Express Thanks

From neighbors and teachers to coworkers and even therapists, a nationwide poll reveals the unsung heroes in our lives and communities – beyond traditional family and friends – who Americans believe deserve their holiday thanks.

Ranking atop the list of those who deserve end-of-year appreciation, cited by 53 percent of respondents, are neighbors, who throughout the year pick up our mail, keep an eye on our kids and ground our community roots.  Coming in close behind – not surprisingly – are teachers at 51 percent.

According to the poll, the overwhelming majority of the American public, 70 percent, also say that they give more gifts than they receive during the winter holidays.  According to M.J. Ryan, author of books such as Random Acts of Kindness and Attitudes of Gratitude and her newest book, Adaptability, the exchange of gifts widens our network of friends and builds stronger interpersonal connections, which we inherently desire, particularly in times of stress and uncertainty.


“There are powerful implications of expressing gratitude and appreciation through gifting, no matter how simple and easy,” says Ryan.  “The influence of personal exchanges is even more meaningful today, as we rely on more virtual ways of connecting with one another every day.”

When it comes to expressing gratitude, Ryan believes flowers are one of the most meaningful gifts to share with important people in your life when simply saying ‘thank you’ isn’t enough.  “There is something special about giving a gift of beauty that shows truly how much you care,” says Ryan.  “Flowers are attractive, cheerful and are visibly displayed as a constant reminder of your appreciation.”

Interestingly, following teachers on the list of daily unsung heroes are coworkers who 50 percent of Americans believe deserve thanks during the holidays.  Even bosses were noted by 36 percent of the poll respondents.

“The most successful organizational cultures are those that foster interpersonal relations and establish bonds between coworkers.  Strong relationships pave the way for problem solving, happiness and longevity in the workplace,” says Ryan.

Here is America’s complete Top 10 List of Unsung Community Heroes who deserve holiday gratitude, including recommendations for gifting:

  1. Neighbors (53%) – Treat a great neighbor to a bouquet of flowers that will make their foyer fragrant.  You’ll even get to watch their eyes light up as the delivery truck pulls up.
  2. Teacher or tutor (51%) – Ask your florist for a low clustered arrangement that a teacher can keep on their desk and still keep an eye on the class.  The flowers will elicit smiles for the entire classroom.
  3. Co-workers (50%) – Thank an office mate who has been supportive throughout the year with a bunch of multi-colored tulips or other flowers that will brighten up traditionally neutral office walls.
  4. Childcare provider (47%) – For the one who cares for your little ones, a great floral gift would be a sweet hand-tied bouquet.  Choose a monochromatic (all one color) look that is pleasing to the eye.
  5. House cleaner (41%) – Give your house cleaner an arrangement to make their own home look special.
  6. Boss (36%) – A mixed arrangement is appropriate for any boss.  Choose red, gold and purple-colored flowers which symbolize accomplishment, wealth and good fortune.
  7. Postal worker (35%) – When your letter carrier arrives, hand him or her a small flower arrangement in a basket or small dish garden – what a special delivery.
  8. Clergy member (35%) – Serenity and relaxation are the essence of flowers in shades of green and misty blues.  Choose these tranquil colors to reflect the calm nature of a spiritual counselor.
  9. Health care worker (32%) – Consider an arrangement in pastel shades and soft yellows, peaches and pinks for a health care worker, as these colors are to make us feel safe, snug and loved.
  10. Administrative assistant (31%) – Choose shades of red, which elicit motivation, courage and power. Ask your florist for an up-shooting spray that also includes rich orange and fuchsia, colors which exude positivity.

Just missing the Top 10 list were school bus drivers (28%), pet sitters (22%), crossing guards (21%), school counselors (20%), therapists (16%) and financial planners (10%).

“This holiday season, treat your unsung heroes to the universal symbol of friendship and caring – flowers,” says Ryan.  “The people who support you everyday are likely to feel thanked long after they receive them.”

Rutgers University research conducted by psychologist Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., reveals that those who send flowers, in comparison to other gifts, are viewed as successful, caring and emotionally intelligent people.  According to the lead researcher, the findings show flowers have evolved to activate positive responses from people and that each bloom has the potential to put a smile on our face.

The Omnibus poll was completed for The Society of American Florists by Echo Research, Inc. Echo questioned 1,001 American adults (500 men and 501 women) via telephone on June 4-7, 2009.  The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percent
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Flower Meanings

Iris = Inspiration

Iris Flowers

See more Flower Meanings.

Aboutflowers.com is the information resource on flowers, florists, plants and gifts.

Aboutflowers.com features photos and images of flowers, floral arrangements, bouquets, floral designs and plants, as well as tips on flower and plant care, a comprehensive list of flower meanings, the latest flower holiday statistics and numbers, flower design trends, sample card messages, flower gift-buying advice and a directory of local florists.

Aboutflowers.com offers flower gift and decorating and entertaining ideas for all occasions, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving, Easter, Secretaries Week and Administrative Professionals Week. Brides-to-be will find tips for wedding flowers, including bridal bouquets, ceremony and reception flowers and advice for working with a wedding florist. Sympathy flowers help comfort a relative, friend or associate who has lost a loved one. Aboutflowers.com also features get-well flowers, prom flowers, and tips for ordering flowers and sending flowers to a man, and ideas for flowers for every room of your home.

Florists have always known that flowers make people happy, and now scientific research proves flower power. Aboutflowers.com highlights university research proving the emotional and behavioral benefits of flowers and plants. Rutgers research shows that the presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects social behavior in a positive manner far beyond what is normally believed. Another Rutgers study demonstrates that flowers ease depression, inspire social networking and refresh memory as we age. A Harvard study reveals that people feel more compassionate toward others, have less worry and anxiety, and feel less depressed when fresh cut flowers are present in the home. And a Texas A&M study demonstrates that workers' idea generation, creative performance and problem-solving skills improve substantially in workplace environments that include flowers and plants.

Aboutflowers.com is hosted by the Society of American Florists, the U.S. floral industry trade association.

Visit www.nationalfloristdirectory.com to find a local SAF member florist to send flowers, roses and gifts for delivery.