Why thank you! 6 simple ways to show your gratitude

    With gift-giving season behind us, there’s no time like the present to remind you that every gift, no matter the size, requires a thank you of some sort. Call me old-fashioned, but quickly shooting off a text message or email doesn’t quite cut it. Here are 6 ways that do:

    1A thank-you card

    Luckily, the thank-you card industry is a booming, multi-billion dollar business. If you need to say thanks for a gift, you can go with the basics and pick up a thank-you card at a store like Hallmark. If that strikes you as boring or too impersonal, you can ususally find a selection of more unique thank-you cards at your neighborhood gift store.

    2An artisan thank-you card

    If the gift was really special and you want to go all out, you can find all sorts of freelance designers who make their own handmade cards. You can feel good knowing you are supporting local artists, helping them make a living through calligraphy or graphic design. Shops that sell greeting cards are a dime-a-dozen on Etsy, so the only problem you’ll have finding the perfect card will be narrowing down your options.

    3Go the extra mile and DIY

    And of course, if you’re artistically inclined you always have the option of making your own. DIY thank-you cards are the perfect way to teach kids how to show gratitude, and a fun electronic-free afternoon activity too. Gather up the construction paper, markers, and art supplies, and watch your kids make cards worthy of going up on the gift giver’s fridge.

    4Express yourself

    Maybe you’re not into the visual arts, but everyone has a creative talent to tap into. Express your thanks in a medium that comes more naturally to you. If you’ve got a love for words, send the gift giver a poem. If you play an instrument, write the gift giver a song. And depending on your relationship and how free-spirited you feel, a thank you dance might even be appropriate.

    5Get them a gift

    Let’s say you received something from an out-of-town relative for Chanukah. You could, of course, just send them a thank-you card, but you could also surprise them with a gift of your own in return. Who cares that Chanukah is over; everyone loves receiving gifts! And a surprise makes it all the more special. A gift out of the blue lets your loved ones know that you’re thinking of them all year. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. A small tchotchke that made you think of the gift giver could mean a great deal more to them than something like a gift card.

    6Make a donation

    Often the gift giver has no desire to receive a gift in return. Think of Grandma or Grandpa for instance, who are probably trying to pare down their belongings rather than add to them. Instead, consider making a donation in their name, especially to a cause that they support. They will get a certificate in the mail notifying them of the donation (you can choose whether you want the amount shown or not). Folks from the older generations will be thrilled to receive such a thoughtful response to a gift they gave. Of course, the donation should supplement a thank-you card, not replace it!

    Ben Fisher is a singer-songwriter based in Seattle. He lived in Israel between the predominantly Arab East and predominantly Jewish West Jerusalem for three years and used his experience there to write his folk/Americana album, Does the Land Remember Me?