Appreciation is defined as the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something. It’s one of those words that we tend to use daily. “Thank you so much! I appreciate it!” or “I appreciate everything you’re doing!” or “Much appreciated!” What about when you are looking to do a little extra in expressing gratitude – something beyond just saying the words? But yet, still hoping to keep it simple in cost, energy, and time commitment.
Whether it be a friend, colleague, family member, teacher, or other professional, here are some simple ideas to celebrate someone’s good efforts.
1. Word Clouds
A word cloud (also known as a tag cloud or word cluster) is an image composed of words. Many of us have seen these used for employee polling and visual representations throughout our professional years, yet using them for personal reasons is a fun form of expression.
Earlier this year, my colleagues presented this to me for my birthday. They were asked to submit a word or two about me, and the word cloud was created. This simple gesture seriously tugged at my heartstrings! It took the spotlight over the material gifts. And I can honestly say that my colleagues “know” me! It is something that I will always treasure.
These allow you to customize your “cloud” with different shapes, themes, colors, and fonts. Input or upload your words and play around with the features. You can edit your word list, shape size, and word frequency. When you’re finished, save the image – you’ll see options to print, send, or share.
So simple, but yet, it can be so meaningful! I became obsessed with the idea and made a couple for my daughter’s 4th grade teacher as part of the class gift. One had the first names of all of the children in the class. The other was comprised of words that the students chose to describe their teacher or their 4th grade experience. My daughter also made a word cloud for her softball coach and my husband for Father’s Day.
2. Bag of Goodies
Sometimes I like to head to a Dollar Tree to pick up various things to show appreciation. Choose from notebooks with cute sayings, adult coloring books/crayons, crossword puzzles, candy, chocolates, fuzzy socks, hair accessories, craft supplies, stationery, picture frames, pens/markers, gardening accessories. Or buy them all! Everything is $1. You can also find a nice gift bag to place everything in.
Another way to make your gratitude known is to donate to a favorite charity. Choose a cause that reflects the unique interest of the individual and donate in their name. Remember that it doesn’t need to be a large amount to make an impact.
4. Candy Bar Poem/Poster
It’s possible that I’ve been living under a rock, but in all my years, I had never seen a Candy Bar Poster until I was looking around Pinterest for a unique way to wish a happy retirement. A piece of oak tag and some candy (see Dollar Tree reference above), along with a clever poem, rhyme, or speech, and you have a completely personalized (and tasty!) creation. Adorable, witty, and customized.
5. Old Fashioned Greeting Card
Most of us get our mail every day, and what do we find? Bills and ads. Bleh. Around birthdays and anniversaries, we’ll receive some cards. Around the holidays, we’ll get a slew of cards, which I love, yet they are expected. But isn’t it cool when you stroll on over to the mail and notice an envelope that you didn’t anticipate?
Sending a greeting card “just because” is a considerate and deliberate action. Sometimes the language in the greeting card says exactly what you’re trying to – but consider including a handwritten message as well to make it even more personal and thoughtful. And remember, snail mail gets a bad rap! Many like to joke about the US Postal Service, but they will deliver a piece of mail for the mere price of a stamp. Fifty cents to send a letter anywhere in the country! Oh, and did I mention the Dollar Tree has greeting cards too?
6. Magazine Subscription
Speaking of snail mail….think about a subject that interests the individual you’re hoping to do something for and send them a magazine subscription. Each week or month, they will receive a little reminder of your gratitude and appreciation. Some subscriptions are pricier than others, but often you can find pretty good deals.