By: Natalie, Expressing Thanks and Gratitude
If this season could be captured in two simple words, it would be appreciation and gratitude. I have been very fortunate to see so many people that I love over the course of these past few months, and now, as the dog days of summer come to a close, I have been thinking about ways to show my friends and family appreciation for all the joy, love, care, and patience they give to me every day.
As a quick example, my aunt and cousin recently hosted a party as a get-together for my extended family. Although we couldn’t quite get everyone in the same room at the same time (we’re quite a large crew), it was such a joyous event where I could connect and chat with family from all over the country. This one, specific event reminded me that I need to take a moment to give proper thanks to those around me because I was surrounded by so much love all at one time. (*Hint: The photos attached to this post are from the night of the party that I’d like to thank.*)
There are so many amazing people in this world – mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, teachers, co-workers, bosses, friends, the list could go on and on. I hope that this little “how to” helps to inspire you to give a little love and appreciation to those amazing people in your life.
How to Show Appreciation to Those We Love
To start, take a moment to reflect on your loved ones and family members. Sometimes just taking time to picture all of the smiling faces in your life is a helpful start. As a journal exercise or something to ponder on, you might also consider reflecting on a few recent moments where someone went out of their way to help you.
The list below is divided and organized so that you can find the perfect expression of appreciation for just the right person. You don’t have to spend money to show someone you care, so we have included options both at minimal cost and for free, depending on your preference. Also, feel free to personalize these ideas for everyone in your life – a little personal touch goes a long way!
How to Show Appreciation…
For Family Members
Buy a bouquet of flowers or candy
Everyone loves a bright red rose or a brilliant daisy, especially when it is sent with a box of chocolates or a candy bar. Flowers are the perfect gift for your grandmother, mother-in-law, or sister, because you just know that it will make them smile.
Send a thank-you note or letter via snail-mail
Gone are the days we rush to the mailbox to get an enduring letter from those we love. But who says we can’t bring that back, even if for a moment? Send a heartfelt letter to a family member to remind them that they are oh-so-special to you and it will certainly be a bright spot in their day.
Bake their favorite sweet treat
For those of you with a sweet tooth and a knack for baking, consider whipping up a lovely treat for your loved ones. A plus is that you can make a large batch for you and your family to enjoy back at home! 😉
For Your Spouse
Clean the one thing that no one wants to clean
I can’t live in the only home that experiences this – we have that one thing that no one wants to clean! Maybe for you it’s the bathroom or the dishes or the garage. Whatever it is, to show your partner that you care, get your rubber gloves on and get to work!
Plan a date
Dates can be hard to plan and organize, especially with a busy schedule! Pick a day, an activity, or a movie and put it on the calendar for just the two of you.
Cook their favorite dinner
There is always that special food that frequents the requested list. Get the oven ready, table set, and prepare your spouse’s favorite recipe!
Send a small gift
Maybe you saw a pair of earrings that would look striking on your friend from high school or maybe you walked by a frame that would look great in your best friend’s office. Find something small that can serve as a token of your gratitude for all the joy that your friends bring to you and make sure you pass it along.
Take them out to dinner
Friends are always for trying new things – or perhaps trying old traditions again. Take your friend to the new sushi place down the street or take them to the restaurant you frequent, regardless, there is no better time to share thanks then alongside a good meal.
Make a post for them on social media
For your favorite social media queen or king, consider writing a heartfelt caption along with that cute photo of the two of you. Nothing is more special then seeing a sweet, sentimental photo pop up on your feed!
For Your Favorite Co-Worker
Grab lunch with them
While packed lunches and break rooms are a great place to have a quick chat, why not schedule a lunch to have a moment to thank them for all the happiness they bring to your work life? Or, get something to go and bring it back to the office to share a quick bite.
Get them coffee before work
When you get your morning cup o’joe, consider grabbing an extra order for your favorite co-worker. A coffee pick-me-up in the morning is a great way to say thank you. You could even write or draw something sweet on the cup!
Save a seat in the breakroom or meeting
Meetings are a little bit easier with your best co-worker by your side, consider saving a seat as a reminder of how much you appreciate their smiling face.
For the Teacher in Your Life
Give them a potted plant
Whether this special gift is for a yoga teacher or your child’s preschool teacher, everyone loves a beautiful potted plant to liven up their space. Succulents are a great option because they’re very affordable, require little water, and they look beautiful!
Jar of candy
After a busy day teaching, a sweet treat from a hand painted or decorated jar doesn’t sound like such a bad thing! There are thousands of design ideas to decorate and make mason jars full of thank-you candies on Pinterest. Fill one up with their favorite sweet treat and they’ll be able to enjoy it over time.
Cute pencils with animals, notes, or polka dots are a great choice to say thank you to the teachers in your life. Afterall, no one can have too many pencils!
For Your Children
Tell them a joke
Little kids love jokes- even if the delivery doesn’t quite work out as expected. A quick search on the internet will have you prepared to show appreciation for every kid you know.
Give them a great big hug
A quick hug and a message of appreciation goes far for a little kid. Next time you see the little ones in your life, give them a hug to say thanks!
Plan an activity only with them
To show your appreciation for your kids (little or big), plan a day to just focus on them. Great ideas include the amusement park, the mall, or a museum.
For Your Furry Friends
Make them a special treat
Everyone knows that pets are an integral part of the family, and they bring so much joy to our lives. To show appreciation for our pets, why not try a new pet treat recipe from Pinterest or Facebook? Or, if they’re a fan of peanut butter, apples, or seaweed, indulge them with their favorite treat to say a special thanks.
Take them to the park
Why this may not apply to all pets, for those who have a special dog in their life, consider taking your pet to the park for an evening out- just as a thank you.
Buy them a new toy or bed
To show how much you appreciate your pet, consider picking them out a new toy or bed. They’ll likely immediately know that it belongs to them and be so excited to have something of their own.
For Anyone and Everyone
Say a quick thank you over the phone, in-person, or via text
A quick thank you (in all forms) is a great reminder that you care for someone. Everyone loves a little heartfelt note from those they love, and it is a wonderful way to show appreciation!
Along with a quick thank you, consider writing a more personal note that specifically details why you are so appreciative of those you love. As a start, write down a few bullets and then let your heart wander.
Send them something that reminds you of them
Have you ever seen a movie, book, or picture that reminded you of someone you love? Consider sending your loved ones that particular thing to show them that they are in your thoughts.
Anytime is a good time to show appreciation
Anytime is a good time to show appreciation! Whenever you have a spare moment to be reflective, think about showing your loved ones how much you appreciate them. It is so special to put into words the feelings you have for friends, family, and loved ones.
I, for one, will be starting by writing a thank you letter to my aunt and cousin for hosting such a beautiful party…