When someone does you a solid, it’s always nice to express your gratitude. Sometimes, simply saying thank you is just not enough. In these cases, it’s nice to have a handful of ideas at the ready to show your appreciation.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How to Show Appreciation to a Spouse or Partner
- How to Show Appreciation for a Friend
- How to Show Appreciation to a Family Member
- How to Show Appreciation to a Boss, Coworker, or Employee
- How to Show Appreciation to a Stranger
Hopefully, you have many people in your life that you want to appreciate regularly. Whether it’s your partner, friend, family member, someone in the office, or even a complete stranger, here are 35 ideas to inspire you. You can do more than one, mix it up, and make these ideas your own. There aren’t really any wrong ways to express gratitude.
How to Show Appreciation to a Spouse or Partner
Your partner is your person, so how do you show them you appreciate them? There are so many possibilities! It’s important in any relationship that both people feel loved and appreciated. Here are some simple and creative ways to make your partner feel special.
1. Plan a date night
Take your partner on a super romantic date night. Or if they’re not the romantic type, take them to a comedy show or concert. Plan an evening you know they’ll love.
Since the purpose of this date is to show your partner how much you appreciate them, try choosing something they love that’s a bit out of your wheelhouse. If they love sports, but it’s not your thing — it’s a perfect choice. When you see how much fun they’re having, it will warm your heart. Plus, there are always great snacks you can enjoy!
2. Write a love letter
Let your partner know how special they are and how much you appreciate them in a letter. There’s nothing quite like a handwritten love letter that you can read over and over and cherish for a lifetime.
If you are a musician, write a love song instead. It doesn’t get more romantic than that!
3. Give them a “me” day
Take care of the household responsibilities, let your partner sleep in, and send them on a “me” day. They get to do whatever they want for the day, whether it’s hanging out with friends, getting a massage, or just relaxing at their favorite coffee shop. Be excited to hear all about it when they get home.
4. Cook their favorite meal
Nothing shows love and appreciation quite like a favorite home-cooked meal. If you don’t know what to make, try calling up your mother-in-law or another close relative for a childhood recipe. This would be such a sweet surprise!
5. Buy them something special
If you know your partner has been eyeing something special, gift it to them. Surprising someone with a gift they really want is a truly thoughtful way to say thank you.
6. Plan a day of favorites
Show your partner you appreciate them and know them well by planning a full day of their favorite things. Start by preparing their favorite breakfast and delivering it to them in bed.
Take them to their favorite place — it could be a place to hike, picnic, shop, relax, or even see a movie. Then treat them to dinner at their favorite restaurant.
7. Tell them!
Sometimes we take the wonderful and helpful things our partners do for us for granted. Telling your partner how much you love and appreciate them is a great way to show your gratitude.
Make sure you explicitly tell them what you appreciate. This makes it much more memorable and moving. A warm hug or kiss is a nice finishing touch.
8. Give them control of the remote
If you’re anything like my partner and me, disagreeing over what to watch is a nightly occurrence in your home.
Letting your partner pick whatever they want to watch is a great way to say thanks. Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and your partner will pick something you both like.
How to Show Appreciation to a Friend
Having a great friend is a gift in and of itself. When they do something nice for you, it can be tricky to figure out the perfect way to thank them. Here are a few simple ideas that are sure to make your friend feel appreciated.
9. Plan a night out
Let your friend know how grateful you are for them by planning a night out for the two of you. Show your appreciation by planning something you love to do together, like catching the game at a sports bar, going dancing, or seeing a movie that just came out.
10. Deliver a treat
What’s your friend’s guilty pleasure? Show your friend you appreciate them with a cup of coffee, frozen yogurt, or other treats they love. Bonus points if you surprise them with it at work or on a bad day.
11. Buy them brunch
Everyone loves a good brunch with friends. Say thanks with french toast and mimosas.
12. Give them a basket of goodies
Show your gratitude by filling up a gift basket with all of your friend’s favorite things. Wine and cheese, beer and jerky, movie tickets and popcorn, or a self-care basket with bath bombs, face masks, candles, and lotion are all excellent options.
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13. Frame a picture of you two
Pick a favorite photo of the two of you and put it in a beautiful frame. This is a lovely way to show that you love and appreciate your friend and what they’ve done for you.
If you both have kids or puppies who are also friends — a framed picture of the two of them is a super fun way to go.
14. Make them something
There’s nothing quite like receiving a homemade gift. Thank your friend for their help by knitting them a cute hat, painting a picture, tie-dying a t-shirt, or any other creative DIY gift.
If you’re not crafty but love to cook or bake, a freezer meal, some homemade snacks, a batch of brownies, or a plate of cookies is a delicious way to show your appreciation.
15. Send a text
Send your friend a sweet, thoughtful, or funny text to let them know you’re grateful for their support. If they bought you or someone in your family a gift, you can send a picture or video of you enjoying their present along with the text.
How to Show Appreciation to a Family Member
If you have a tight-knit family, you probably spend a lot of time helping each other out. Whether your family has helped you move, helped out with your kids, supported you through a tough time, or threw you a party, here are some ways you can show you appreciate them.
16. Send flowers
If your family member loves flowers, this is a great way to thank them. Flowers smell wonderful and brighten up any space.
Make sure to send their favorite flower. If you aren’t sure, roses are a very classic option, while a wildflower bouquet is fun and modern.
17. Send a gift
You can never go wrong sending a thoughtful gift as a token of appreciation.
18. Be their chauffeur for the day
This is an especially good one as a way to say thank you to your mom. She spent so many years driving you around — what a fun way to show your appreciation to her. Drive her around and hit all her favorite spots!
19. Make a scrapbook
This is a great option for a parent or grandparent. Express your gratitude by making them a scrapbook. Fill it with pictures of the family and descriptions of how much you love and appreciate your family member.
20. Send a personalized thank you note
There are several great apps that make sending personalized thank you notes and postcards easy. We love this one. Upload a picture into the app, choose a template, input the recipient’s address, and voila - you’ve sent a beautiful thank you note!
21. Invite them over
Quality time is one of the best ways to show your family you’re grateful for them. Plan something special to do while they’re over, cook a meal, and make sure to voice them how much you appreciate their support.
22. Do something to lighten their load
If your family member did something to help you out, return the favor by running errands for them, cooking a meal, watching their kids, or cleaning the house.
How to Show Appreciation to a Boss, Coworker, or Employee
It is important etiquette at work to thank someone when they help you out. Sometimes a simple thank you is enough, but when someone really goes above and beyond for you, here are some ways you can show them you’re grateful.
23. Write a note
A note of appreciation for your boss, coworker, or employee can go a really long way.
Pro-tip for success: keep it simple, be specific, and show genuine appreciation. People can usually tell when you’re sucking up or when it’s not authentic.
24. Take them out for drinks
Show your colleague how much you appreciate their support by taking them out and buying them a round of drinks. If drinking isn’t really your thing, a round of appetizers works just as well!
25. Buy something for their office or desk
A nice way to show appreciation for a boss or colleague is to give them something they can display on their desk.
A beautiful pen or paperweight is a traditional option. A zen garden is unique and adds a peaceful ambiance. If their office has a theme, it is especially thoughtful to gift something that complements their space.
26. Throw them a surprise party
Pile the team into the break room or kitchen and throw the person a surprise office party. Elevate the gathering with some pizza and a cake of appreciation.
While you are all celebrating, have everyone go around and say why they appreciate your colleague of honor. Record this on your phone, and send it to the person after. This is something they can listen to over and over and cherish forever.
27. Give them an award
If an employee does something exemplary that really supports your business, give them an award! People love to be recognized when they go above and beyond. A plaque, trophy, or certificate is always fun to display on your desk. Plus, if the award comes with a bonus, even better.
28. Return the favor
If a colleague did you a solid, return the favor. Take something off their plate, offer to support whatever they're working on, or cover for them so that they can take a day off.
29. Gift a plant
This is a classic and thoughtful way to show your appreciation at work. This works great for a client who you want to say thanks to. A desk succulent is also a nice appreciation gift for someone in your office.
30. Write them a recommendation
A valuable way to show your appreciation to a colleague or employee is to write them a recommendation. This is a wonderful gift for their future. You can send them an email recommendation, write it in a letter, or even log into LinkedIn and leave them a recommendation on their profile for the world to see.
How to Show Appreciation to a Stranger
If a stranger does something nice for you, it’s good practice to show your appreciation.
Perhaps they gave you directions, let you merge, or you were lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a random act of kindness. If someone is a good human to you out there in the world, here are some ways to acknowledge it.
31. Pay for their coffee
This is a wonderful way to practice gratitude. If a stranger did something nice for you, pay it forward by paying for the person behind you in the drive-through lane. You’re sure to make their day.
If you happen to be in a coffee shop when a stranger does something nice for you, like hand you money that you dropped or let you cut in front of them in line, for instance, pay for their coffee!
32. Say thank you
Short, simple, and sweet. If a stranger does something nice for you, look them in the eyes and say thank you! You can’t imagine how many people don’t do this, and a simple acknowledgment of appreciation can go a long way.
33. With a genuine smile
If someone lets you merge in front of them, flash a genuine smile and wave. A warm smile can show your appreciation and might even brighten someone’s day.
34. Random act of kindness
If a stranger does something nice for you, pay it forward by doing a random act of kindness for someone else.
Put a nice note or some cash in someone’s windshield. Paint a rock with an affirmation such as, “you are loved,” and leave it where someone will find it. Pay for the next person in line. The options are limitless!
35. Let them “cut in”
If a stranger does something to help you in a store, show your gratitude by letting them cut ahead of you in line.
Keep It Simple and Authentic
However, you choose to show appreciation when someone has helped you out, do it from the heart. Be genuine! There’s no need for your expression of gratitude to be extravagant. A simple and thoughtful thank you is the best bet. Knowing someone appreciates you is a gift in and of itself.