Five bucks says that when you need an inexpensive thank-you gift, you default to a coffee shop gift card. Latte love has its place, but if you want to reach for a more unique thank-you gift, we’ve got five ways to show your gratitude in a real, personal way.
- Everyone loves to see themselves in a positive light. If you’re looking for thoughtful thank-you gift ideas for someone in particular, that means you’re grateful to them for a specific reason. Showcase that reason with an easy photo book that displays why you’re thankful. Snap a few shots of soccer practice or game day, taking care to get the coach in the frame, and you’ve got the start of a unique thank-you gift. Chatbooks lets you create photo books from your phone and social media feeds, so you can steadily build your gift every time you see this special person. Coach will prefer your easy, thoughtful thank-you gift to yet another candle—and will probably keep it forever.
- Think of what you use. Not so much what you would like, but things that you—and everyone—uses. You probably don’t need another mug in your already crowded kitchen, but everyone uses hand soap. Many people don’t splurge on nice bottles or bars for themselves, but as a one-off a premium soap still makes an inexpensive thank-you gift. Think about other things that everyone consumes and uses that you can get a little fancier with. Gourmet salts, lush dish towels, and a great pen fit the bill.
- Homemade does get to the heart. People are sometimes afraid to give homemade gifts because they might not turn out perfectly—but they make memorable, unique thank-you gifts. Choose only what is simple to make, like granola you pack in mason jars. (It’s easy: Toast a large panful of oats and nuts, then add dried cranberries, raisins, and dark chocolate chips. Layer in a jar, then add a ribbon for a creative thank-you gift.) Forget stress-inducing miniature gingerbread houses with freshly grated ginger in the dough and perfectly piped white snow on the eaves. That’s for other people, not you. Those rarely come out the way we expect them to anyway.
- Hit the sweet spot quickly. If you’re known for a particular recipe, a one-time effort can give you years of unique thank-you gifts. Make a photo book of the recipe, with step-by-step pictures of how you do it. Chatbooks lets you include text pages in a custom photo book, so you can end the book with the actual recipe. If your famous Toasted Whatevers come from an old family recipe, include a photo of the original handwritten recipe card. Then print multiples of the book to keep on hand for emergency gifts.
Make them feel like they’re with you. If Aunt Heather couldn’t make the cross-country trip for your wedding or the baby’s first birthday—but her lovely gift did—make a fun custom photo book from the event. It’s a thoughtful thank-you gift and the next best thing to being there. A brag book of pics from preschool parties and holidays fits nicely into Grandma’s handbag and lets her show off your kids to her friends. If you, your spouse, sibs, or Nana herself is in some of the photos, quadruple bonus points for you. “When you can touch somebody with a gift that evokes powerful emotion, that’s a powerful gift,” saysAileen Avery, gift expert and author of Gift Rap: The History and Art of Gift Giving. Exactly.