Are you having difficulty finding a birthday, holiday, or other special occasion gift? Try writing a short gratitude letter or card.
This is a great gift not only for a relative, friend, or significant other, but also for an employee, supervisor, or co-worker.
It doesn’t need to be perfect prose; all that’s needed is a list of things for which you’re grateful. And it doesn’t need to be a really long list; just 9 or 10 items can be sufficient.
Creating such a gift doesn’t take much more time and energy than shopping for a gift. In fact, it probably takes much less. This gives you more time to actually spend with your loved ones. On top of that, you’re more directly expressing some of the same feelings and thoughts you’d be attempting to convey symbolically with a gift. One can’t attach a dollar amount to such expression. This is in the same spirit as a Weekend of Authentic Connection.
Added bonus: the increased sense of gratitude will likely make you feel better, too.
Here are some items to consider for inclusion in your card or letter:
- aspects of the person that make you feel good
- aspects of the person that you aspire to emulate
- specific experiences you’ve enjoyed together
- things they’ve done for you, or that have impacted you in some way
- things they’ve done for others
- things you’ve learned from them
- talents you appreciate
- unique qualities they have
- things you can share with them, or things you experience with them, that just aren’t the same with any other person
If you need additional ideas, check out the 12 different types of intimacy. Chances are, you’ve already shared more types of intimacy with the person than you’ve realized.
If you want to make it a bit fancier, you can print it out on a piece of paper with a decorative background or border, and frame it. A few years ago, I did this for my parents. It felt better to give that to them than have most gifts I’ve ever purchased; and they appreciated it, too. I had largely forgotten about this until my mom learned of More Than a Sidewalk to Sleep On, and said that she was inspired to write gratitude letters to other family members as a gift.
Many thanks to my wonderful mom for having this idea, and for inspiring this blog post. While we’re on the topic, I appreciate the way that she and my dad have always valued my curiosity and creativity. I don’t take that for granted.
I hope you find it useful and connective as well! If you decide to do this as a gift, please share it here. There will also be an opportunity to express gratitudes for others as part of the next AWESOME Day. Connect to our mailing list and Facebook page to get updates on that.
Dave welcomes phone-based life, career, and transition coaching clients from around the world.