When it comes to showing gratitude, sometimes words aren’t enough. While a lovely thank-you note will never go out of style, many people feel the need to showcase their appreciation with a token or gift. If you’re wondering what type of thank-you gift is appropriate, you’re in the right place.
Here’s what you need to know about choosing a thank-you gift to show your appreciation without words.
The History of Thank-You Gifts
The giving of thank-you notes dates back as far as the 1400s, when the earliest greeting cards came into existence. At that time, sending letters and sharing words was the primary method of communication for friends and family members separated by distance. In many cases, this practice fell to the wealthy and educated.
Giving gifts of appreciation dates back to biblical times. While there are no recorded origins of giving thank-you gifts, it’s long been the practice to show this gesture when invited to someone’s house or show general appreciation.
Thank-You Gift Etiquette
When it comes to giving thank-you gifts, there are a few etiquette rules to keep in mind. The first consideration is choosing a gift that’s appropriate for the occasion. For example, if you’re thanking a friend for helping you move, it makes sense to give thank-you gifts with flowers. However, if you’re thanking your friend for grabbing you a coffee, a bouquet might be a little much.
Another consideration is the timeliness of your thank-you gift. Ideally, you’ll send one within a few weeks of the event or occurrence that took place. Weddings tend to be an exception as they’re a large-scale event, allowing a grace period of a few months.
The Best Thank-You Gifts
Now that you have a better idea of thank-you gift etiquette, you can choose something appropriate for the recipient. Here are a few of the best thank-you gift options that work for almost everyone:
Flowers or House Plants
A bouquet of flowers or a small potted plant is a lovely way to brighten someone’s day and show appreciation. This option is also nice for generalized gratitude — for example, thanking someone for being a good friend, rather than highlighting a specific event.
This versatile option also allows you to be as quaint or elaborate as you like. Choose something appropriate for the occasion and keep your friend or loved one’s preferences in mind.
A Gift Card
Gift cards tend to be an impersonal gift, but they’re a simple way to show gratitude. This option is also lovely for smaller denominations — for example, returning the favor when your friend buys you a coffee. Giving a gift card is also a great option when the recipient isn’t a close personal contact, such as a co-worker or an acquaintance.
Giving baked goods is a lovely way to show your appreciation. If you have the skills, consider baking something yourself. If not, pick something up from the local bakery rather than a generic boxed item. This simple thank-you gift is comforting and thoughtful without being overly personal or over the top.
A Bottle of Wine
A bottle of wine is a traditional host thank you gift to give when someone invites you to an event. It’s also a nice generic “thank you” to known wine lovers who help you in some way. Of course, if you know the person prefers another type of beverage, choose that option instead.
It’s important to note the etiquette when choosing an alcoholic beverage as a thank-you gift. First, confirm that the person does drink and that this gift is suitable for their lifestyle.
A Framed Photo
A framed photo is a great thank you gift for a close friend or family member. This option is ideal when the person has joined you for a special event or gone out of their way to be with you for an experience. Alternatively, you can create a simple photo book as a lovely memento.
Finally, the best gift you can give someone is an experience or time together. Don’t hesitate to take the person out for dinner or some other type of outing as a sign of your gratitude.
Any of the gifts on this list are a great way to show your gratitude when the words just can’t say it.