24 Last-Minute Appreciation Gifts to Show You Care

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If we take the time to look, we’ll see that the world is filled with people committing acts of kindness and demonstrating compassion to their fellow humans. Most often, these heroes act out of the desire to make the world a better place, never expecting to be recognized or thanked. That’s why it’s so important to thank them.

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Appreciation gifts don’t have to be large or extravagant in order to be meaningful. Sometimes, it’s the simplest gift that puts a smile on someone’s face. If there’s someone you need to thank, use this gift guide to present a thoughtful, meaningful gift that says, “I appreciate you.”

Appreciation Gifts for Teachers or Mentors

Teachers and mentors hold a special place in our lives. They are often available and present through the ups and downs of life, ready to cheer us on or lend a helping hand. Use one of these touching ideas to say thank you for all they do. 

1. Engraved plaque

Think something as special as an engraved plaque will take too long to order? Think again. Amazon has a wide selection of customizable engraved plaques that allow you to have your own message engraved on a plaque perfect for someone’s desk at home or at work. 

Most companies offer customized plaques with a three- to five-day turn-around time. That means the most you’ll have to wait to get your order in the mail is five days from the day you order it. 

2. Framed wall art

Wall art is always an excellent option to give to a teacher or mentor. You can find many ready-made wall art pieces featuring phrases for teachers or mentors such as, “Teaching is an art,” “A great mentor is hard to find and impossible to replace,” or “Teachers plant seeds that grow forever.” When choosing a piece of wall art, keep in mind the person’s preferences for color schemes and styles, and be sure to get it framed

3. Keepsake box

This makes an excellent appreciation gift for those who want to give a teacher or mentor a group gift. Simply have each person contribute by writing a card and printing out a favorite photograph to place in the keepsake box along with a gift certificate.

Appreciation Gifts for Clients, Bosses, Coworkers, or Employees

Clients, bosses, coworkers, and employees all hold a special place in our lives and workdays. Show your gratitude with one of these gift ideas.

4. Thank you mug

A mug is one item that is readily available online and in numerous brick-and-mortar locations, often used to express thanks and show gratitude. If you haven’t given the recipient a mug before, this can be a perfect last-minute gift. 

Pro tip: Make it extra special by customizing it with their favorite colors and adding it to a coffee-themed gift basket with Kona coffee and a portable French press

5. Small potted plant

Want to brighten someone’s day and desk with a little spot of green? Consider a small potted plant, like a succulent or a grow your own herb kit. Choose a ceramic pot that you can decorate yourself with sharpie markers and choose a fun saying like, “You’re the best!” or “Thank you for everything!” If they don't have a green thumb, consider getting them a mini zen rock garden instead. 

6. Small tea or coffee basket

To make this gift simple, stick to three or four items and place them in a small decorative tin. Include items like a tea or coffee sampler, coffee stirrers, chocolate or cookies, and a spoon rest. Tuck a thank you note inside and you’ll have a complete gift.

Pro tip: Use a galvanized tin to hold the items and personalize the tin by writing a fun message on the outside with sharpie markers.

7. Cupcakes or dessert

If you’re so last minute that you’re driving to the office and still need a gift, swing by a local bakery and pick up a gift box of fresh-baked desserts such as donuts, cupcakes, or mini bundt cakes. Nothing says “I appreciate you” like a fresh baked goody.

Pro tip: Choose options in their favorite flavors or colors. Also, be sure and avoid any products that contain ingredients they’re allergic to such as nuts, gluten, or food dyes.

Appreciation Gifts for Volunteers

Volunteers give their time, energy, and talent to make sure the big picture is realized. Show how much you appreciate these special people with one of these gifts.

8. Bouquet of flowers

Most people appreciate an old-fashioned bouquet to brighten up their day. If you aren’t sure of the person’s favorite blooms, simply choose something bright and cheery. Include a card to thank them for all their hard work and let them know how much they are appreciated.

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9. eGift card

Digital gifts and gift cards often get a bad rap for being too impersonal. However, if you do it right, an eGift card might just be one of the best appreciation gifts someone can receive.

To make an eGift card more personal, purchase a card for a restaurant or store you know the person loves. If they enjoy coffee, don’t just go for Starbucksㅡunless you know they love Starbucks more than any other coffee shop. Do they love reading? Find out where they get their books or audiobooks and proceed with a bookstore gift card accordingly. If they love learning about something unique, consider getting them an online course membership.

Since it’s so easy to send eGift cards, this might just be your best bet for a last-minute gift.

10. Punny gift items

Sometimes the simplest things are the cutest. Put together a small “punny” basket with items that tell your volunteer how much you appreciate them. Include items like LifeSavers candy, mints, and travel antibacterial hand soaps. Then, include a card that says, “Thank you for being such a lifesaver! Your commit-mint is appreciated more than you know. Thank you for always lending a hand.”

Appreciation Gifts for Nurses, Doctors, or Other Hospital Staff

Nurses, doctors, and hospital staff work long hours and perform countless tasks that often aren’t acknowledged. Thank them for their care and hard work with a thoughtful gift such as these.

11. Men’s or women’s bracelet

If the person you need to thank enjoys wearing jewelry, consider purchasing a bracelet. There are many options available that suit all styles from delicate charm bracelets to braided leather and metal options. Customize it with an engraving or charm such as the staff of life along with “RN,” “MD,” or “PA” according to the person’s job.

12. Angel figurine

Angel figurines are the perfect symbol for doctors, nurses, and the hospital staff who look after and care for our loved ones. Look around at different stores such as Hallmark and Amazon to find the figurine that expresses your gratitude best. 

13. Self-care kit

Self-care kits can be perfectly tailored to guys or gals, and the types of lotions, creams, and scents they prefer. If you’re uncertain of the scents they like, stick to neutral tones and include items like a eucalyptus candle, unscented lotion, an eye mask, a coaster, and a mug or wine tumbler.

Personalized Appreciation Gift Ideas

Personalized items are gifts that are only applicable to one person. Personalization you might include on the item include the person’s name, the years they served, their specific job title and location, or other specifics that apply to the reason why you’re saying thanks.

While some personalized gift orders take extra time to process, a growing number of online sellers offer lightning-fast turnarounds. Just check how much time it’ll take for you to receive the order before you click “buy.”

14. Drink coasters

Drink coasters come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and styles and they’re the perfect item to personalize. Personalize them as much or as little as you want. Upload your own design or picture, a phrase, and name of the workplace or organization. Get creative and come up with a unique item they’re sure to love. Make this an extra special gift by including a personalized mug with their name on it.

15. Pens

Though expensive pens with professional engraving take longer to order and receive, there are many classy pen options with personalized engravings available through places like Etsy and Amazon. Make it simple and personalize it with their name or a phrase, and the date.

16. Fleece jacket

As long as you know the person’s size, a fleece jacket is a gift that’s sure to impress. Personalize it by having their name embroidered on the right or left front and the workplace or organization name embroidered on the opposite side.

17. Blanket

Create a personalized blanket by designing and ordering it online. Upload a unique design, significant pictures, or phrases to the blanket then choose the best shipping option available. Check for the estimated arrival date of the blanket to make sure you’ll get it in time.

Pro tip: Make this gift extra special by giving them a digital photo frame that shows off the pictures you used on the blanket.

Customized Appreciation Gift Ideas

Customized gifts are similar to personalized gifts but they aren’t as personal. To distinguish the two, to customize a gift, you might choose an item in the person’s favorite color, scent, or style of clothing. There is no personalized information included on the item like names or dates. Customized gifts are excellent if you need to purchase a gift in a few days and don’t have the extra day or two to wait for a seller to personalize it.

18. T-shirt

Everyone loves t-shirts and they are easy to customize. Pick a shirt with a fun phrase like, “Being an RN is my superpower” and customize it by choosing the fabric color, lettering color, and style of the shirt. 

19. A nice candle

Try to determine what scents the person you’re thinking of enjoys, then purchase a nice soy candle in that scent. Include a card that thanks them for “lighting up” your world with their compassion, care, and kindness.

20. Ornament

If you’re looking for a gift around the holidays for someone who celebrates Christmas, an ornament is a perfect go-to last-minute appreciation gift. There are many styles to choose and many ornaments can be customized with slogans, colors, and style preferences to make it a unique one-of-a-kind gift.

Inexpensive Appreciation Gift Ideas

You don’t have to break the bank to share how grateful you are for the role a teacher, mentor, coworker, doctor, or other person has had in your life. These next items require a small budget but make a big impact.

21. Thank you keychain

Keychains may not sound like an impactful thank you gift, but if you do it right, it can be something that is treasured for years to come. The key to making a keychain meaningful is to personalize it as much as possible. Many sellers on Amazon, for example, offer budget-friendly customizable keychains with a fast turn-around time for shipping. 

Personalize a keychain with a short but meaningful message. Purchase a few charms that relate to the person’s job or position and add them to the keyring. When you put it together, you’ll have a thoughtful gift they’re sure to love.

22. Tote bag

Tote bags are one of the best last-minute budget-friendly thank you gifts around. They are plentiful and easily available, and many feature customization options enabling you to tailor the tote to thank a nurse, doctor, teacher, mentor, or another person you have in mind.

23. Insulated hot or cold drink tumblers

Everyone loves taking their favorite hot or cold drink on the go. Thankfully, there are plenty of pre-made or customizable tumblers that have “thank you” slogans printed on the outside to remind someone how much of an influence they’ve been in your life. Consider adding a DIY assorted snack basket to round out the gift.

24. Bookmark

If the person you’re thinking of is an avid reader, consider getting them a luxury leather bookmark embossed with a phrase like, “Thank you” or “You’re the best.” They’re sure to smile and think of you each time they open a book.

Saying Thank You with a Gift

If you appreciate the way someone has stepped up in their role as a coworker, boss, volunteer, or medical professional, take the time to make sure they know it. While saying, “thank you” or “I appreciate you” is certainly a good start, it never hurts to add a small gift to show them how much you care.

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