Daily challenge: Connect with a friend and wish them a ‘merry Christmas’

The holiday season is rolling in, and it’s that time of the year when we come together with our nearest and dearest to make merry and share the joy. Amid all the craziness and excitement, it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle, forgetting what this season is about – spreading love and good vibes.


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This year, we’ve got a little challenge for you. We ask that you reach out to a friend and wish them a heartfelt ‘Merry Christmas.’ It might sound like a worthless act, but trust us, there’s more than meets your initial expectations.

The importance of connection during Christmas

The holiday season is when people worldwide come together to celebrate traditions, share stories and create lasting memories. It’s a season of love, giving and togetherness. Yet, this time of year can also bring loneliness and isolation for many. It’s crucial to remember that not everyone has a circle of loved ones to celebrate with.

Your simple act of connecting with a friend could help them with the following:

Brighten their day
Someone you know could be going through a tough time or feeling a little down because the holiday season can sometimes magnify those feelings. A sincere ‘Merry Christmas’ message from you could be the unexpected ray of warmth they need. This small yet meaningful gesture can instantly lift their spirits, bringing a smile and a touch of brightness to their day. Your thoughtful message serves as a reminder that someone cares, and in moments of need, this connection can be a powerful mood lifter.

Combat loneliness
Loneliness is an unwelcome guest that often sneaks in during the Christmas period. People might be separated from their families, have lost loved ones, or simply find themselves alone during a time that’s all about togetherness. By reaching out to your friends, you might just be their lifeline, helping them combat those feelings of isolation and depression. Your message is a small act of kindness that can make a world of difference in someone’s life.

Strengthen bonds
Christmas is the perfect occasion to strengthen your bonds with your friends. Life gets busy, and sometimes, we unintentionally drift away from the people who mean the most to us. Sending a ‘Merry Christmas’ message is a way to reconnect to remind your friends that you cherish and value your relationship with them. It’s an opportunity to remind them you’re thinking of them and value the friendship you have. These small gestures can profoundly affect your relationships, rekindling the closeness and trust that might have faded over time.

We don’t share enough positivity and there’s reasons why

As we’ve explored, it’s surprising how a simple compliment can have such a big impact. So, why don’t we give compliments more often? Well, there might be reasons for this.

In a social experiment conducted in 2020, researchers carried out four studies to focus on why we don’t complement each other as much as we should.

The first two studies found that people who gave compliments often underestimated how good the other person would feel after receiving the compliment. This misjudgement influenced their likelihood of giving compliments in the first place. On the flip side, they overestimated how uncomfortable or bothered the recipient would feel (Study 2), and this misconception even persisted when they looked back on the situation in hindsight (Study 3).

It turns out that the anxiety and self-doubt of the compliment givers played a significant role in these mispredictions. They were worried about how competent they would seem when giving compliments. Interestingly, third-party observers have a better grasp of how the compliments would be received (Study 4).

But despite their initial anxiety, the compliment givers felt better after giving compliments (Study 4). So, it’s like this cycle of underestimating the positive impact and overestimating the potential awkwardness holding them back from a rewarding experience.

These studies show that people often underestimate the value of their compliments to others, which might be why they hesitate to engage in this kind of prosocial behaviour regularly.

And yes, this study doesn’t focus on Christmas greetings per se, but the foundations are all there. By reaching out to someone during Christmas, you’re complimenting and thanking them for their friendship by taking the time out of a busy period to wish them well.

Overcoming barriers and hesitations

We now know that many people may shy away from spreading positivity to others, and we get it. We understand that reaching out to someone, even a friend, can sometimes be intimidating. Here are some tips to help you overcome any barriers or hesitations:

  • Start small: If you’re feeling apprehensive, start with a short text message and gradually work up to a call when you feel comfortable.
  • Be authentic: Be yourself and speak from the heart. Authenticity is key to making a genuine connection.
  • Remember the impact: Remember the potential positive impact your message or call can have on your friend’s Christmas. It may be just what the doctor ordered for their current state of mind.
  • Focus on gratitude: Remind yourself of your gratitude for having this person in your life and how important it is to express it during Christmas. Could you imagine a life without this person?
  • Show some enthusiasm!: The difference between a no-eye-contact, monotone ‘Merry Christmas’ and an enthusiastic ‘Merry Christmas’ is like night and day.

How to participate in our challenge

Are you still feeling a little apprehensive? No problem, we’ve got you covered. Here are some clear and concise instructions on how to participate in UKAT’s ‘Connect with a friend and wish them a ‘Merry Christmas” challenge:

  • Choose a friend: Select a friend who holds a special place in your heart or someone you think might appreciate the gesture. It could be the friend you’ve not connected with in a long time or the friend you see weekly; the choice is yours.
  • Decide on the method: Decide whether you want to send a heartfelt text message, make a phone call or see them in person. Choose the method that feels most comfortable for you and your friend.
  • Craft your message: If you’re sending a text, craft a heartfelt message that conveys your warm wishes. If you’re calling, prepare a friendly and genuine script to guide your conversation.
  • Pick the right time: Find a suitable time to reach out, ensuring you’re not interrupting their plans or activities. If they’re busy with a newborn, for example, 11 pm may not be the best time for a positive act; if the time doesn’t arise when you want it to, wait. There will always be a next time.

Final thoughts

Take UKAT’s ‘Connect with a Friend and Wish Them a ‘Merry Christmas” daily challenge this holiday season. By reaching out to a friend and sharing the holiday spirit, you could make a difference in their life and strengthen your sense of connection and gratitude. Remember, it’s the simple acts of kindness that can make the world a brighter and more beautiful place during this special time of year. So send that ‘Merry Christmas’ message or make that call. Your loved one will appreciate it, and you’ll feel the season’s magic like never before.

Struggling with mental health over the Christmas period?

We understand that Christmas is a very sociable time for most, but that may not be the case with everyone. If your social anxiety, anxiety or any other mental health conditions are at the wheel this Christmas, it could be the perfect time to reach out to UKAT.

Our dedicated team of experienced professionals are here to guide you through this difficult time and offer solutions to any mental health, alcohol or substance abuse issues that may be holding you back in life.

Contact us today and regain the life you deserve.

(Click here to see works cited)
  • VK;, B.E. 2020. Why a simple act of kindness is not as simple as it seems: Underestimating the positive impact of our compliments on others, Personality & social psychology bulletin. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32856538/ (Accessed: 07 November 2023).