It’s 2020, so it’s likely that you have at least one nurse or other essential worker on your holiday shopping list this year. Wondering how best to say thank you? Look no further! We’ve compiled a new list of ideas for thanking nurses and other caregivers throughout this winter holiday season.

Put it in writing.
A handwritten thank-you note never goes out of style. It is one of the most tried-and-true ways to show appreciation. An authentically written, heart-felt thank-you has high potential to pack an emotional punch (smiles, laughs, even tears).

But if snail mail isn’t your thing, why not create and send them an appreciation video with your smartphone? With free apps like TikTok and inexpensive video maker kits, it’s never been easier to say thanks with a unique video.

Give the gift of storytelling.
In recent years, services have popped up that enable a person to capture their life’s stories and share them with family members and anyone they wish. This has been, after all, the “Year of the Nurse,” and one worth remembering.

Make a humanitarian gesture.
Nurses are patient advocates and are often passionate about a special cause, such as the Alzheimer’s Association, or the hospital or school where they work. Find out the person’s charity of choice, and research the organization’s website or call to see if you can make a donation in their name.

Say it with food…or flowers.
For some people, the quickest way to their heart is through their stomach – especially when working a 12-hour shift on a busy patient care unit. Call your local hospital or nursing home to see if they accept catered food for staff, and send over a hot meal. Or, ask if flowers are allowed, and send some.

Share some practical magic.
Give a nurse something that will likely get good use. We suggest compression socks, since healthcare professionals are at greater risk of blood clots due to long periods of standing and being on their feet.

Other popular-yet-practical items this year: a handheld massager like the Theragun, coffee mug, a wristwatch, and a totebag.

Step up and be part of their village.
Caregivers are short on time, so help them out by giving up some of yours. If a nurse lives in your neighborhood, volunteer to help with little things like picking up groceries, putting up holiday lights, or walking the dog. Offering to take out the trash, mail a package, or entertain the kids are little gifts that go a long way when you’re a busy person focused on caring for others.

Make them a hometown hero.
You know how great they are, let the rest of us know, too! Check with your local newspaper, TV news station, or sports teams to see if they have any programs that recognize community heroes. If they do, nominate someone special. If you can’t find such a program, consider starting one.

Find the humor.
This year has meant a lot of cancelled plans and getting used to things that were once unimaginable, like wearing face coverings and standing six feet apart. A lot of tongue-in-cheek memorabilia are popular on Etsy right now. One caveat is not everyone sees the humor in 2020, so consider the individual before joking about toilet paper shortages and hand sanitizer.

Engage the senses.
Give the gift of mindfulness with the Calm app, where they can access guided meditations, sleep stories, and relaxing music. A light and absorbing book like the new Battle of Brothers might offer welcome distraction.

Or, give a candle with essential oils for a little luxury.

Be good, for nurses’ sake.
This year, more than just Santa has come to town. Many nurses have been busy, with the pandemic making their jobs more stressful than normal. Make the nurses in your life proud by helping to protect the medically fragile. These include older people, children who are chronically ill, and people with cancer or kidney disease. That means do your part. Mask up, wash your hands, and practice social distancing. Even though you may not be at high risk for getting seriously sick, remember that others around you could be.