It’s the holidays, and that means the fall semester is almost over! Football season was really fun–and kind of cold–but you made it through with big smiles and a whole lot of teamwork. Homecoming let you walk across the football field at halftime carrying flowers, had you finally performing that halftime routine you’ve been practicing since the summertime, and was a great opportunity to celebrate your school spirit with your closest friends. For some cheerleaders, this has been a great start to an amazing school year! But for others on your team, this may be a sad time because the season is halfway over, or the stress of finals has pushed them over the edge! You wouldn’t be a cheerleader without the word ‘leader’, so take the initiative to cheer up any of your overwhelmed teammates with these four festive activities:

Host a gift exchange. It doesn’t matter if it’s a white elephant, secret Santa, or a straight up gift-giving party, nothing puts a smile on someone’s faster than letting them know that they’re appreciated! It's always a good idea to give back to your teammates, since they are pretty much your family and they would do the same for you. These kinds of gift exchanges are inexpensive (usually $10 or under) and will encourage your team to bond one more time with each other before winter break. Plus, it’s an easy way to get the holidays started off right!

Compliments. It sounds simple because it is! And it’s subtle, too! If you are struggling with a teammate’s negativity, it’s probably because there is something going on in their life that you don’t know about and they’re finding it hard to deal with it. Without snooping into your teammate’s personal life, you can casually let them know you care by saying nice little things. Compliments are the best medicine for personal issues, particularly when they happen to be sincere! Tell them that you are thankful for them being part of the cheer team, that they are talented, and that they are strong enough to get overcome any obstacle.

Organize a themed practice. Cheerleading season isn’t ending with the fall semester, but that doesn’t mean that cheerleaders should miss out on normal holiday festivities! Ask you cheer coach if your team can have an ugly sweater practice instead of the normal practice wear. If that’s a no-go, ask a school administrator if cheerleaders can have a funny holiday hat day around campus. If you can get the team involved with a common activity, chances are it’ll spread some cheer by just happening.

Cookies. That’s right–good ol’ fashioned holiday treats. The holidays come but once a year, and that means we have to take advantage of Christmas cookies as much as we can! If you spend an afternoon baking homemade holiday treats after school, your teammates will sure to be smiling at practice the following day. Your teammates will recognize the amount of effort that you put into making the cookies, as well as your abundant culinary skills! Don’t forget to put some cookies aside for Santa while you’re at it.

How else do you spread cheer on your team? Tell us what nice things you do to let your teammates know you care in the comments below!