Post Category: Inspiration

30 Special Ways to Give Thanks + Unique Printables to Help


Kindness Matters designed and sold by Matthew Taylor Wilson

Giving thanks is common around the holiday season, especially during Thanksgiving. However, you don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving. Giving thanks not only benefits the recipient but you as well.

There are several benefits to giving and expressing gratitude. In fact, according to one study, giving and helping others is associated with multiple positive health outcomes, including reduced mortality. While other research found helping others makes you happier.

This being said, giving thanks doesn’t have to be to a person. You can internalize gratitude as well, which is a mindful and meditative practice. 

To help you get started, we’ve listed 30 ways to give thanks year-round. We’ve also included free printables you can use to give thanks to yourself and to those who mean the most to you.

1. Write a Poem

You don’t have to be the next Shakespeare to write a poem. Writing a poem for yourself or someone else is a unique way to reflect and share what you’re grateful for. It’s also a great way to get your creative juices flowing by writing a pun-filled and comedic poem both you and the recipient will get a kick out of. Make it unique by using a fun postcard.

2. Make a Nice Gesture With a Small Gift

If you know someone who drinks coffee or tea each morning, consider purchasing them a funky new mug

If the gift is for a family member or roommate, get up early one day and make their favorite caffeinated beverage for them in their new mug. They’ll be both alert and thankful for your attentiveness. 

3. Make Friendly Eye Contact When Passing Others

As people rush through their busy days, it’s easy to forget about human connection. One way humans communicate with each other is via eye contact.  Next time you go walking through the neighborhood or are out running errands, don’t be afraid to make eye contact with others. 

Also, try to notice the differences in people and be thankful for the amount of diversity in character people have — life would be boring if we’re all the same. 

4. Plan a Date Night

Thank your partner, friend, or family member by planning a date night. If you aren’t sure what to do for an upcoming weekend or want to change it up a bit during the workweek, check out our date night flowchart below.

The date night flowchart is perfect for helping people choose an activity they and others can do together. Tryout the printable below so you can have more fun and stress less about planning. 

make a date night flowchart

5. Give Your Time and Energy to a Cause

A fantastic way to give thanks to your community is by giving your time and energy to a local cause or organization that could use your help. Serving others not only helps those in need but can also lift your spirits and connect you with your community. For a list of local non-profits, visit Great Nonprofits that need volunteers.

6. Allow Someone to Have the Night Off 

Give someone close to you the night off by bringing a surprise dinner home or letting them know that you’ll be doing all of the cooking and cleaning tonight. If you have kids, have them get in on the action by taking on age-appropriate chores such as setting the dinner table or playing waiter or waitress for your spouse.

The person with the night off will cherish being able to put their feet up and relax while watching their close family or friends work together. 

7. Write a Traditional Thank You Note

Can you recall the last time you wrote a handwritten letter or note? Handwritten letters never go out of style. Consider a friend or family member you haven’t contacted in a while and send them a handwritten note or postcard expressing your gratitude for having them in your life. Another option is to recall a memorable story or moment you both shared. 

8. Help Others Decorate Their Home


Pisces Fish – PINK Poster designed and sold by VenusandMoon

Do you have a friend or family member whose walls could use a nice facelift? If so, then look into purchasing them a nice piece of wall art. The artwork doesn’t need to be super expensive either, just something that’s meaningful to them or works well on a wall in their home. Giving art is a fun way to find personalized art styles to show gratitude.

9. Cook a Comforting Dinner

If your partner or parent has cooked hundreds of delicious meals for you, thank them by giving them the night off and preparing a meal for them before they get home. They’ll be ecstatic and relieved to walk through the front door to the smell of a home-cooked meal.

Your meal doesn’t need to be elegant or fancy — a simple bowl of soup and bread will do the trick.

10. Give a Belly Hug

A belly hug is a more intimate hug you can do with your romantic partner or a close family member. It’s like a normal hug but your bellies are touching, making it more intimate. Your belly hug can last anywhere from 30 seconds to one minute. In one study, scientists found that bodily contact can reduce blood pressure levels and heart rate.

While participating in a belly hug, you and the other person can either internally think about what you’re thankful for or you can take turns open giving thanks and gratitude to one another.

11. Leave Online Reviews

Small businesses benefit greatly from online reviews. Help your favorite local brand, restaurant, or company improve their reputation by leaving a positive online review. You can use Yelp, Google Reviews, or other online avenues. You can also post or tag them on social media the next time you visit. These reviews take little to no time to write and are an easy way to express your gratitude for a great service.

12. Share Treats with Neighbors 

If you’ve baked some brownies or cookies and have extras, consider sharing them with a neighbor. You can present them as a gift by putting them in a mason jar or wrapping them in plastic wrap with a ribbon at the top.

13. Thank You Tags for Around Home

If you live with roommates, family members, or your partner, consider leaving sincere thank you tags for them when they do daily tasks. Sometimes we take for granted what others do for us on a daily basis. 

You can leave the below thank you tags around the house after your housemate or partner does something for you. There’s also a tag for when you want to take on some of the household chores.

thank you tags

14. Say Thank You to Unnoticed Community Members

Gratitude is contagious. An easy way to spread gratitude is to thank community members who go unnoticed. This holiday season, think about thanking community members such as bus drivers, grocery store clerks, your child’s school teacher, your USPS driver, or garbage collector with words of praise. If you have the funds, then purchase them an inexpensive gift they might enjoy. 

15. Write Your Local Government Leaders

The past year and a half has been quite difficult for government officials everywhere. You can show thanks by writing a thank you letter to your local government leader. This can be from your mayor, congressional representative, or even your local precinct chair. 

16. Smile at Others

Like gratitude, smiling is contagious. Seriously, according to one study, when you spot someone else smiling, you might unconsciously smile yourself.  So, when you’re out and about or with people you know, try to consciously smile more — it’s an easy way to share happiness with others.

17. Pay it Forward

Next time you’re in line at the drive-thru or the coffee shop, pay for the food or beverage of the person behind you. This simple act might make their day.

Another way to pay it forward is to carry extra cash, water bottles, or protein bars in your car for those less fortunate than yourself.

18. Practice Overt Gratitude

Get in the habit of thanking people publicly. You can do this practice at home with family members, at places of worship, or in the workplace. Recognize others for their generosity or accomplishments. Public display of gratitude often has ripple effects where others will join in or share at a later date. 

19. Handout Thank You Cards

Writing a thank you note doesn’t have to be laborious or time-consuming. A simple and brief way to say thank you is to send or give someone one of the below thank you cards. What matters most is the gesture and that you’re thinking of and thankful for the person. Look through these thank you cards to find the perfect way to say thank you.

thank you card

Uplifted thanks greeting card designed and sold by Debi Hudson

20. Clean up an Area in Your Community

One way to give thanks to your community is to pick up trash, debris, or recycling in an area within your neighborhood. Consider going to local parks, popular hiking trails, or nearby roads where trash accumulates. Just make sure to wear disposable gloves when handling all materials.

21. Plant a Tree or Start a Community Garden

You can show gratitude to your community and Earth by planting a tree in your local park or starting a community garden. For either option, you can make it a communal event by putting up flyers or posting a local neighborhood social media page on the Nextdoor app. 

If you’re short on time, consider starting a mug herb garden for a close friend or family member.

By planting a tree or starting a community garden you’re giving to current and future generations, and teaching others the importance of sustainability. 

22. Leave a Generous Tip

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the service industry particularly hard. Many restaurants are still recovering as are their employees from both lost wages or reduced hours. If you have the means, leave a generous tip at your favorite local restaurant or one that’s been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. 

23. Appreciate Your Pet

Your pet likely loves you unconditionally, well maybe your dog more than your cat. Still, you can give thanks to your pet by spending 10 to 15 minutes petting or playing with them. Take this opportunity to be mindful as well and to solely focus on your pet.

24. Start a Gratitude Journal

journal with a bunny looking at the moon

Moon Bunny Hardcover Journal designed and sold by freeminds

It’s easy to start a gratitude journal. First, purchase a journal. Then, write one to three things you’re grateful for each day. If it’s one thing, go in-depth into why you’re grateful.

This meditative exercise will help you realize and appreciate what you have and will push you to be more grateful.

25. Mentor Someone

A great way to pay it forward is to mentor someone. This act of giving thanks is more personal and can heavily impact the mentee. You can mentor a recently hired employee at work or someone you see growth potential in. Another option is to volunteer during your lunch break or in the evening by mentoring kids.

26. Show Your Glow with a Candle

Burning a lightly scented candle and meditating on what you’re grateful for is one way to show thanks. You can easily do this activity as a morning exercise, during a mid-day break, or in the evening to help unwind. 

27. Indulge in Self-Care

geometric zipper pouch

Geometric Compilation in Rose Gold and Blush Pink Zipper Pouch designed and sold by UrbanEpiphany

A lesser known form of giving thanks  is self-gratitude. Show yourself gratitude by indulging in some much needed self-care where you can nourish your mind and body. Take a nice long bubble bath or take a day off work to focus on your mental health and give yourself a break from everyday life — after all, you can’t give to others what you can’t give yourself. While you’re at it, treat yourself to a nice gift like a new bag or phone case.

28. Share Gratitude On Social Media

Social media today serves as a way to escape for a little while and to connect with others. Help bring positivity to your friends and followers’ feed by sharing heartfelt and thankful posts.  

29. Thank your Boss or Co-Worker

As a working professional, it can be easy to fall into the day-to-day workflow without taking a step back to contemplate how you and others are doing both mentally and emotionally.

Take some time at work to consider recent accomplishments by yourself, your teammates, or your boss. Show them your gratitude with these workplace and boss gift ideas.

30. Play the Gratitude Game

A fun way to show and share gratitude with your family or friends is to play the gratitude game. It’s simple to play. 

First, you can print and cut out the gratitude cards below. Then, you have the option of placing all prompts in a jar or container for players to randomly pick from or you can decorate your dining table with these prompts and use them as conversation starters. Both versions can be played either one time during a meal or continuously over a period of time.

gratitude prompts game

After reading this article, we hope you feel inspired to give thanks to your friends, family, colleagues, and community. You can also show gratitude towards yourself with these positive affirmations. Additionally, if you’re wanting to add a little more gratuity, check out Redbubble’s variety of gift options designed and sold by independent artists.

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