SOURCE: Society of American Florists

November 30, 2009 11:05 ET

Let Holiday Thanks Bloom

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - November 30, 2009) - (Family Features) The holidays are the just the right time to thank those unsung heroes who help make our lives better every day. According to a nationwide poll, Americans cite neighbors and teachers as the people most likely to deserve end-of-year appreciation. Also noted worthy by respondents are coworkers, childcare providers, house cleaners, bosses, postal workers, clergy, healthcare workers, administrative assistants, pet sitters and crossing guards.

M.J. Ryan, author of books such as "Random Acts of Kindness" and "Attitudes of Gratitude," and her newest book, "Adaptability," notes that 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. "The influence of personal exchanges is even more meaningful today, as we rely on more virtual ways of connecting with one another every day," says Ryan.

Ryan suggests flowers as an easy, yet meaningful way to show thanks during the holidays. "There is something special about giving a gift of beauty that shows truly how much you care," says Ryan. "Flowers are cheerful and will be displayed as a constant reminder of your gratitude."

Here are recommendations for holiday floral gifts from the Society of American Florists, for the unsung heroes in your life. For more ideas and advice, ask your local florist.

Neighbors -- 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.

Teachers -- 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 from the entire classroom.

Co-workers -- 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.

Childcare providers -- A great floral gift would be a sweet hand-tied bouquet presented by your little ones. Choose a monochromatic (all one color) look that is pleasing to the eye.

House cleaners -- Give your house cleaner a lush flowering plant to make their own home look and feel special.

Bosses -- A mixed flower arrangement is appropriate for any boss. Choose red, gold and purple-colored flowers which symbolize accomplishment, wealth and good fortune.

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

Rutgers University research conducted by psychologist Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., reveals 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.

For more information on flowers, including a searchable directory of local professional florists, visit aboutflowers.com.

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