20 Simple, Last-Minute Appreciation Gifts to Show You Care

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In life, it’s so important to look for moments of light and kindness. If you know someone in your life who is committed to bringing joy, it’s great to show your appreciation. You can always write a simple thank you note.

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But picking out a special appreciation gift is another great way to show gratitude. We’ve pulled together this appreciation gifts guide to help you express your appreciation for the people who bring brightness into your life.  

Appreciation Gifts for Teachers or Mentors

Teachers are special people. They invest their time raising a new generation of insightful and empathetic youth. Throughout your life, you’ve probably encountered teachers willing to educate you on how to advance your career or grow as a person. These gifts are a great way to show teachers and mentors that you appreciate all they do. 

1. Gift cards

Many people think gift cards aren’t very imaginative. But they can still be thoughtful and personalized based on what you know about the recipient.

Teachers tend to enjoy gift certificates to bookstores or office supply stores. They can apply them toward school supplies or use them to buy themselves a treat. If you’ve noticed your teacher is never without a cup of coffee, get her a gift card from her preferred coffee shop. That attention to detail makes this an especially thoughtful gesture. 

You can read our guide on how to send eGift cards for more.

2. Custom coffee tumbler

Teachers get a lot of coffee mugs as gifts. You can make yours stand out from the crowd by getting a tumbler and personalizing it in some way.

It’s easy to source custom tumblers online relatively inexpensively. You could get the teacher’s name inscribed on the mug along with “Class of 2020.” It will serve as a daily reminder of that particular class. 

3. Snack basket

Teachers don’t always have the time to get food between classes and after-school activities. You can put together an assorted snack basket for a teacher to keep in her classroom for a hunger emergency.

Look for nonperishable snacks like trail mix — they’re relatively healthy and provide a quick energy boost. 

4. Succulents

Plants are always a great way to help a room come to life. Classrooms can absolutely benefit from the addition of green plants. Just pick ones like succulents that are relatively low maintenance and easy to take care of. 

5. Grow-your-own herb kit

You can hand-grow herbs in little wooden planters right on your windowsill. This gift would be perfect for a teacher you know with culinary skills. A teacher could also grow herbs in the classroom and incorporate it into science lessons. 

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Appreciation Gifts for Bosses or Coworkers

It’s possible to spend a third of your life at work! If your boss or coworkers make your work life especially vibrant, let them know how much you appreciate it. The following gifts are perfect for someone you work with.  

6. Audiobook membership

Does a valued boss or coworker have a long commute? Give him or her the opportunity to multitask by listening to books to pass the time.

This is an especially thoughtful gift if your boss or coworker longs for more time to read. It can also be a great way to connect with a coworker who shares your love of reading. This is one of many thoughtful digital gifts you can get for someone you appreciate.   

7. Online class subscription

Many bosses inspire you because they encourage you to grow and change. If your mentor has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, sign her up for an online course that you know she’d be interested in. She’ll appreciate knowing that you value and encourage her interests. 

8. Desktop zen rock garden

People who work in high-pressure fields all need to take a moment to unwind and reflect. A mini zen rock garden could be just the thing for a needed meditative moment at work. 

9. Coffee gift basket

Bosses and coworkers often rely on caffeine to function at their best in the office. Put together a high-end coffee-themed gift basket so a coffee-dependent coworker can caffeinate in style. Select a nice coffee or two — Kona, for example — and package it with a nice portable French press.  

10. Personalized office mug

Do you have a secret favorite mug from the communal office cabinet? When you can’t find your favorite mug, it can start the day off on a sour note. Get a personalized mug with your coworker’s name inscribed on the side so your coworker feels appreciated and special.  

Appreciation Gifts for Parents and Grandparents

Your parents and grandparents are there with you from the moment you’re born. They help in countless ways as you grow up and navigate your way through life. It’s easy to take this for granted. If your parents or grandparents go above and beyond for you, return the favor.

Pick out an appreciation gift for no special reason to show them how grateful you are for their help.  

11. Thank you note

Sometimes the best gifts don’t cost a dime. It’s because they’re from the heart. Take some time to compose a special thank you letter to your parents or grandparents.

You can thank them for helping you through a recent difficult period in your life or you can sum up major events in your life where their support was invaluable. It’s a way to show that you don’t take them for granted and have always valued their support.  

12. Write a family history

Set aside some time to interview your parents and grandparents about their lives. Find out what they remember about the generations that came before them. Learn how your grandparents originally met. Ask their recollections about major world events. Record these conversations and turn them into a book of written family history.

You can also let them know their stories will continue to be told, as this family history can be passed down to future generations. This is a great way to show older generations that you really value their perspective and where they came from. 

13. Nice bottle of wine

If your parents or grandparents are wine connoisseurs, select a nice vintage as a thank you. It’s nice to find a label from the year they were married as a special personal touch.

This shows that you pay attention to and appreciate their interests. That kind of attention to detail really elevates an otherwise simple gesture. 

14. Digital photo frame

Your parents or grandparents may lug out the photo albums when they feel nostalgic. Thank them for supporting you over the years by loading some of their favorite photos into a digital photo frame.

Go ahead and add some more recent family photos into the mix and promise to update the content on a regular basis. This will be a daily reminder about how much you care.   

15. Creative supplies

Your parents may have encouraged you to explore your creativity. Return the favor by giving them the tools to pursue passions of their own.

If your dad is curious about home brewing, get him a starter kit. Sign up to do painting lessons with your mom if she’s picked up painting during retirement, and get her some art supplies. Giving your parents the freedom to play and be self-indulgent is a great gift of gratitude.   

Appreciation Gifts for Partners

Ideally, a spouse or romantic partner should be your teammate in all things, good times and bad. You can thank your loved one with a thoughtful gift of appreciation. Here are a few suggestions:  

16. Spa gift certificate

Men and women both can find something to help them unwind at a spa. Facials and pedicures feel great no matter what gender you are. Get your spouse a gift certificate or book a couples’ massage to foster closeness in your relationship.    

17. Gourmet gift basket

Does your significant other love obscure or pricey snacks? Put together an indulgent gift basket stocked with nostalgic favorites. Maybe your loved one will even share the snacks with you!

18. Frame an old photo

When you spend a lot of years with a person, it’s easy to become so focused on our present, you forget to be grateful for your past.

Find a nice photo from early in your relationship, preferably one that your partner hasn’t seen in a while. Get it enlarged and framed and present it to your significant other as thanks for a great life together. 

19. Have a movie night

Has your spouse been waiting for a particular movie to come out? Offer tickets to it on opening night. This is especially powerful if it’s not a movie you would be into on your own. Show your loved one that you value his or her interests. 

20. Do your partner’s most-hated chore

Take something off your loved one’s plate. Bonus points if it’s a chore your partner really dislikes! (You can’t put a price on skipping litter box cleaning for a day.)

Thank the People You Love with Thoughtful Gifts of Appreciation 

When someone in your life needs appreciation, a gift is an excellent tool. There are so many reasons to give someone a thank you gift. Maybe that person did you a favor or helped you through an illness. Maybe this person simply brings you joy. Whatever the reason, these simple gifts should go a long way toward showing you gratitude.  

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