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Every day, there are people in our lives who help us and others and make us feel thankful. They may volunteer at organizations or in our communities, or they may simply be kindhearted souls who make others’ lives a little better. Why not take a little time to say “thanks” to the people who add so much to our lives. Here are 12 ideas to help you get started:

1. Write a note

The art of the handwritten note is something that is often lost in our era of email and text messages, but there’s something special about receiving a message someone took the time to write and send. Whether it’s on a pretty card or a plain sheet from your printer stash, put pen to paper and express yourself.

2. Make something creative

Whether you’re crafty or a whiz at baking, a handmade or homemade item can be a meaningful way to express your appreciation to others.

3. Say something nice

At your next family dinner or gathering of friends, put everyone’s name on a piece of paper and have each person draw a name. Then, go around the table and have everyone say why they’re thankful for the person whose name they drew.

4. Create a “welcome package”

Say “thanks for being here” by creating welcome packages for new neighbors, employees, or volunteers at your favorite nonprofit. You’ll make the newbies feel appreciated and valued.

5. Organize an appreciation event

Whether it’s a special lunch for volunteers or a simple outing to give a caregiver a break from their responsibilities, think about the best type of event to show the people for whom you’re thankful how much they mean to you.

6. Start a “thank you” project

Invite the community to give thanks by tying colorful ribbons with the things for which they’re thankful onto the branches of a tree, or find a place to affix a large piece of poster board, so they may express themselves there.

7. Lend an ear—or a hand

You can give thanks to others and show how much you appreciate them by simply being there when they need you. If a friend or family member needs to talk, be a willing and active listener. If they need help with a task or chore, offer it to them. And, while you’re at it, let them know how much you appreciate them.

8. Start them on a journaling journey

Starting a gratitude practice—regularly listing or thinking about the things for which to be grateful—has been shown to have many health benefits. Help your loved one realize those benefits by giving them a journal to start writing about their own gratitude—and make the first entry a note about why you’re thankful for them!

9. Send a “thank you” video

Strapped for time? Say “thank you” with a short video. Just turn on your phone’s video function and speak from the heart. When giving thanks, be specific: say why you’re thankful and include details about exactly why.

10. Write a letter to the editor

If a member of your community has contributed to the greater good, why not publicly express your gratitude? Local newspapers often publish letters from community members. Whether it's acknowledging the exceptional guidance of the track & field coach that led the team to a successful season or appreciating the impactful work of your town councilperson, express your thanks by sending it to the editor and letting others share in the gratitude.

11. Share a positive review

If you’ve had a great experience at a small business or read a book that you loved, use your thanks to give back. Writing positive online reviews can help businesses, authors, and service professionals get more sales. Your words could have a big impact on their livelihood, so go ahead and share your thanks.

12. Spend quality time together

Sometimes, the best way to tell someone you appreciate them is to spend time with them. A visit to someone who’s socially isolated or a phone call to an old friend is a great way to reconnect and show them how much they mean to you.

There are many ways to say “thanks” to the people who mean so much to us. If you’re looking for other ways to feel good, try volunteering. Get ideas and specific opportunities at

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