Did your mom always remind you to write thank you notes? It’s good advice, even if it sometimes goes unheeded. Certain situations and people deserve a “thank you”, and there are ways to make the gift thoughtful and fun instead of just an awkward letter.
Make it Personal
The best way to get in the habit of sending a tangible thank you is to start with obvious opportunities: friends who do huge favors, professionals who solve a crisis, even family members who help out in time of need. Of course, it’s great to branch out and thank someone who hasn’t done anything specific lately but has been an all-around great person.
Think how great it would be to receive a little thank you gift – why not do that for someone else? And when the gift is made, make it personal. Include a little handwritten note, a personal touch like an added tag or something like that. Show that some thought was put into it, it will mean that much more. Don’t go with generic but pick something that person will truly appreciate.
Now when it comes to thank you gifts, it is usually inappropriate to go over the top. The idea is to thank the person, not to make them feel like they now need to respond to match what was done for them.
Consumables are the key here. Things like food, drinks, gift cards and so on are perfect. They can be accessed right away, cementing the moment in their memory.
Bunch up some cookies or a favorite candy with the note. A reasonably-priced bottle of wine would be about as high up the ladder to go. Gift cards are great, but don’t go with cash or something equally bland. Pick a restaurant or shop the person will really love. Rest assured it will be put to good use.
How to Make a Gesture
Another route to go would be to make a gesture instead of a simple gift. The thing to remember here is to stay proportionate to what was done. They need to feel appreciated, not obligated.
There’s also a question of propriety here. Some of these things are great for a neighbor, less so for a family dentist. For example, that bottle of wine would be appropriate for a neighbor, but unless a person knows their dentist personally, that same bottle of wine might not be appreciated as much.
Try handling a tedious yard chore like mowing the lawn or raking leaves. It should go without saying – do a good job! Or perhaps there is a service at your disposal that you could offer, like a free meal, a complimentary babysitting, or a free car wash.
For that option, make something up in writing that guarantees them what’s promised so they don’t feel uncomfortable showing up and asking for their free car wash. Again, it’s about making them feel good, not about scratching “thank you card” off the to-do list.