National Thank You Week is the perfect time to spread good cheer and encourage thankfulness through good manners, gifts, or just appreciating each other more. Doing just one of these can really make the difference in someone’s day.
Good deeds cause a ripple affect; do something kind and good things will happen to you, as well and someone else, who will then do the same. Compliments and thank you’s are infectious. Hearing something positive, even just an earnest “thanks for doing that” can be an amazing feeling that will make you feel appreciated, and we all need it sometimes.
Why not follow this example and pass something on this Thank You week. This could be done in many ways. One of the most exciting is the ‘Pay it Forward’ method. Buy two gifts, they could be identical, they could be whatever you choose. Gift these to someone you would like to say thank you to, along with a note instructing the other to be passed on to someone they would like to thank. Encourage the person you thanked to keep the good deed going and pass on two gifts, so that this can keep spreading love and appreciation further and further, touching everyone involved, eventually making a difference to the lives of hundreds of people.
The idea behind Paying it Forward is based around continuous positive momentum. Just like a machine that never stops moving, if just one person decides to start, it can kick off a chain reaction that never needs to stop.
Too often we get inspired by great ideas to make the world better but let ourselves get discouraged or disillusioned. If we continually remind ourselves that people are making our lives better, that that fact should be celebrated and rewarded, we can make a positive change on a potentially global scale. Studies have shown that giving to charity or giving gifts to friends activates the area of the brain that releases ‘feel-good’ chemicals, and this has been speculated as an evolutionary beneficial trait that fostered teamwork in early man, which would in turn aid survival.
We Brits love our manners – being notorious for the overuse of the word “sorry” and saying thank you to everyone we meet – but this can make it hard to show the true extent of our gratitude.
Sometimes you need more than those everyday words, and so here are some creative ways that you can say thank you.
Write It Down
In the era of the internet, a thoughtfully written letter or note can be a real treasure and it's often easier to write out emotions rather than saying them to someone's face. A written thank can help also help you avoid that frustrating loop of saying a genuine compliment and them repeating one back out of habit.
A handwritten note can be kept and loved more often than any verbal expression of thanks ever could. A written thank you needn't be long – a heartfelt post-it note can be just as meaningful as a two page letter – and the form gives you the opportunity to express yourself in a way that other methods may not.
Get Them A Gift
The best way to show you value someone is often just to show that you've been paying attention, and a well thought-out gift that does this can make an excellent thank you. It doesn't need to be huge or expensive, just specific to the person you wish to thank.
Maybe you know that they have a particular type of chocolate they like to eat that isn't readily available in the surrounding area. Or perhaps you've heard them talk about the fact that they recently lost their favourite pair of gloves and winter is approaching. A gift targeted towards their likes and needs will show you care enough to listen to them and make your gratitude clear.
Another way to say thank you is to make a gift. This can work well if you know the recipient well enough to personalise a gift to their tastes or simply because you know they'll value the effort you put in more than any costly purchase. The work that goes into making the present will allow you to show your thanks through the time and care that goes into making it, and they'll value it far more than any other type of gift (if they're nice.)
Whatever you create will be a symbol of you; your tastes, your talents, but also of who you're sending it to. If you're a bit of an artist, maybe a painting or thoughtfully made knick-knack would suit. There are numerous patterns available online for the avid knitters, from simple scarves for beginners to more advanced projects, and many more for sewing ideas.
For someone you know well, photo books can be a good option as you'll be able to show your thanks by celebrating shared memories. High street stores like Paperchase or WH Smith have a great number of options for photo and scrapbooks, including self-adhesive ones to provide versatility and ease, but there are also online outlets that can make a book for you once you've supplied your chosen thank you images.
Whatever you make, put as much effort as you can into it, if you're going to say thank you, you should say it properly.
Thank You Treats
Handmade nibbles are a tasty way to show your thanks and, as with crafty gifts, they give a personal touch without necessarily spending too much time scrambling around for ideas. You'll probably already be well aware of your cooking or baking skills and may already have some go-to recipes in mind that would suit your needs.
A quick rummage around the internet reveals a multitude of thank you recipes to try out if you're stuck – though maybe avoid looking when you're hungry. If you're trying to say thanks to someone close to you, you can go a step above this by making a special meal for the person you're showing gratitude to. This can be a great way to spend time with them, make them something nice, and your taste buds will benefit from all the hard work too.
There are numerous ways to say thank you to someone but quite often, as the famous phrase goes, actions speak louder than words. Doing something nice for someone can be just as effective a method of expressing gratitude as a lavish gift – even better if it's taking care of some chore they've been putting off. Washing the car, doing the laundry, weeding the garden. The options are endless and you could be tackling a chore that the person you're thanking has been avoiding.
Sometimes, however, just showing someone that you value them by spending time with them, giving them a hug, or even just watching their choice of film together – can be thanks enough.
Let us know how you're saying thank you with #ThankYouWeek, or tweet us at @ThankYouWeek