When you want to express gratitude to someone, sometimes a simple “thank you” just won’t cut it. Maybe you want to thank your parents for all they’ve done for you, but there’s no exact card — or one big enough — for that. Or maybe you finally got your new puppy to stop barking every time she hears so much as a pin drop outside, and you know a “Hey, thanks for not going all Cruella De Vil on my dog” to your patient neighbors isn’t nearly enough. Whatever the reason, a really unique thank you gift can go such a long way and is a lovely gesture for the people around you who have made your life just a little (or a lot — thanks, Mom and Dad!) easier.
Mariah Grumet, founder of Old Soul Etiquette and an expert on all things politeness, knows exactly when to give a thank you gift. She says, “It is appropriate to give a thank you gift when someone hosts you or when someone assists you with something that positively impacted your life.”
And if you’re wondering about the unspoken question (ahem, price), don’t worry. As Grumet notes, “The gesture is significantly more important than the price of the item. Quite frankly, price does not matter at all.”
If a kind gesture is what you’re looking for, here are some recommendations for the best types of thank you gifts for all the people you might want to thank in your life.
(who deserve all the thank yous)
Whether you were the perfect child, a teenager who refused to follow curfew, or a college graduate whose “few months at home” after graduation turned into a few years, saying thanks to the people who raised you is always a good idea. And for those people, we think going all out with a unique thank you gift is appropriate, which is why we chose the gourmet sweet and savory gift box. It comes with a beautiful wooden chest (to store all the things you still haven’t taken from their house yet, such as your preschool drawings and old iPhones), roasted nuts, cheeses, and two decadent desserts — baklava and chocolate cake. Plus, wine — because you know you can still be a bit of a headache sometimes.
The Nice Neighbor
A friendly neighbor is worth their weight in gold. From checking on your house when you’re on vacation to reminding you about garbage day or opposite street parking, they’re always looking out for you without being too nosy. A “just because” thank you gift is always welcome, or you can treat them to a gift basket for, say, watering your plants. We like this fun tower of sweets, which contains a little bit of everything, including lemon shortbread cookies, milk chocolate truffles, and yogurt pretzels.
A Friend Who You Leaned on Recently
Your friends are there for you because they love you, but sometimes life requires them to be there for you a little more than usual. Whether they talked you through a breakup, looked over your resume, or let you borrow their very expensive stand mixer for easy dinner party prep, letting them know you appreciate them with a unique thank you gift is a nice way to send the love right back. This little tin from Cheryl’s Cookies has a fun variety of delicious desserts, including buttercream frosted cookies, pretzel clusters, and more, and is the perfect surprise. If you want to go one step further, you can make them a playlist of songs about friendship.
Your Significant Other
(for something they always do)
Giving a bouquet of roses to a partner or spouse for Valentine’s Day, a birthday, or when you’ve done something wrong is the relationship standard for most people. But what about a thank you for something they routinely do? A bouquet of brightly colored roses could be the perfect gift of appreciation for things like always doing the dishes or dealing with family dynamics during the holidays. That kind of gesture can go a long way the next time you forget to defrost that chicken or zone out when they’re telling you a work story.
The Eighth Grade
I don’t remember a thing about basic algebra, and I’m willing to bet you don’t either. If your child has a tutor who helps them ace a test that you would almost certainly fail, then that person deserves one of the best thank you gifts you can give. But maybe you don’t know a lot about them, save for their extraordinary ability to teach your kid math. That is when a tried-and-true gift like Harry & David’s famous pears come in handy. Grumet says, “If you do not know them well, avoid buying anything specific for their home, such as an art piece, that may not go well with their taste.” These pears are lovely, delicious, and well known, making them a surefire hit.
Someone You Accidentally Inconvenienced
A babysitter had to clean up your kid’s epic arts and crafts mess (we’re talking glue and glitter). You need your neighbor to cover your patio furniture before a gnarly rainstorm while you’re on your way home from work. Your mom had to pay for the coffee run (again!) because your wallet was in the car (again!). Sometimes, people do nice things for you because, well, you’ve kind of left them no choice. For these occasions, when you need a sweet (and savory) thank you gift that will (hopefully) bring back all their goodwill for you, Moose Munch is the way to go. The mix of popcorn and caramel is sure to make anyone smile, and there are three types of snack mix to try in this pack, including spicy and cheddar.
An Unexpected Host
We’ve all overstayed our welcome at one time or another. That quick drop-by that turns into a glass of wine and some charcuterie. Or your child’s playdate runs long and before you know it you’re eating dinner at another family’s house instead of your own. Or your flight back from a business trip gets canceled, so you crash with a friend who happens to live in that city. It’s only right you send them something that thanks them. A box of chocolates from Godiva usually does the trick.