Thank You Gift Ideas

It can be quite discouraging when you’ve given someone a thank you present and end up feeling like you didn’t get much credit, if any; for the time, money, and effort you put into it.

We believe that everyone should be able to make it count when it comes to giving appreciation gifts. That’s why we’re going to share with you how you can give the best thank you gifts for any occasion, and with any size budget.

How? Well, just Mind Your P’s in Thank-You Gifts of course, but before we get to that let’s first briefly review exactly what these gifts are and why we give them in the first place.

What They Are

Based on our research no one has ever provided an actual definition for a thank-you gift. Yes, it very well may be common knowledge and perhaps does basically define itself. But since it’s not uncommon for these gifts to end up re-gifted or in the trash, we couldn’t help ourselves but to take up the liberty and create a definition.

thank-you gift

noun | ˈthaŋk-ˌyü ˈgift

: something given from one individual or group to another, as an expression of gratitude

Why They Fail

We believe there are two basic reasons why thank-you gifts may end up falling short on expectations.

  1. We all have different levels of empathic ability. Empathy is something that everyone could use a little more of, the good news is it can be learned and strengthened kind of like a muscle.
  2. We simply don’t know very much about our recipient or the context in which the thank you present is being given.

Do either one of these reasons sound familiar? If so, fear not. We happen to be quite good at getting gifty and will show you how it’s done. Of course you can always ask for other’s opinions or creep around on social media for ideas, but we came up with what we think is a better solution.

Just like all gifts, context matters. When you have all pieces of the puzzle it makes things much easier. However, unlike nearly all other types of gifts, a thank-you gift is as much about communication as it is about the gift itself.

With that in mind also consider the significance in the word, “expression.” Your gift is supposed to express your gratitude. This means that just because you think something is totally awesome and valuable, doesn’t mean your recipient will think the same.

Understanding things from someone else’s perspective isn’t always the easiest of tasks, that’s why communication is considered to be a skill.

Whether you are empathically challenged or unacquainted with your recipient, let’s now go over how you can champion those thank-you gifts each and every time.


P erson ersonal ersonalized

The old, half-dead, yet still catchy saying you thought of after reading the title above is merely a vessel for us to bring some P letter words about to come your way. We made it easy peasy for you to get your thank-you gifting on right, by committing to memory just one word. It also happens to deliver a trifecta of thank-you’ing solutions, and you only need to make sure your gift has one of them to acheive thank-you gift mastery.

The grand thanking gift word is: Personalized.


Yes, but with more emphasis, Personalized.


Good, let’s move on.

All you need to do is mind at least one of these 3P’s in your thank you gift and you’re good to go.


Person + al

Person + al + ized

Now let’s take a closer look at each one of these gratitude gift elements to understand how The Giftian defines them so you can apply them.


Your thank you gift has a Person Element when you can easily tell that a real person was involved in it, not counting the gift wrap. Think hand-made. To get credit for your gift here it just has to show in someway, something that could only be from a real person.

The idea here is that it shows more effort than just buying or printing a card. You don’t have to spend a lot of time on this either, in fact you may be surprised to know what some interesting studies show about different types of thank you presents and their effectiveness upon the recipients.


When your gift has a Personal Element it involves on some level your relationship with the recipient. You could put this element on the same level as common ground or an inside joke for instance, referencing a shared experience you had together.

Adding a Personal Element to your thank-you gift could also mean that you just simply handed it to them and took a moment to express your gratitude in words.


The final P to have in your thank you present if you don’t have one of the two above is a Personalized Element. This means that your gift is catered to your recipient for the unique individual that they are. This can often be achieved by incorporating their name into the gift, like their initials inscribed, embroidered, stamped, etc. onto a keepsake or display item, garment of clothing, luggage, cufflinks, in fact the options are almost endless for gift personalization.

Thank-You Gift Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Do know the gift context
  • Don’t compete, that’s not what gifts are for and if you are then check your pride at the door
  • Do consider presentation, gift wrap, gift bags, but also ‘where’ and ‘when’ can be important
  • Don’t donate money on their behalf, unless they specifically requested it, just don’t
  • Do include a hand-written note or card, at the very least have a tête-à-tête
  • Don’t be cheap, not necessarily with money, but with your communication
  • Do Mind your P’s in Thank You’s

Thank You Gifts for Teachers

Thank You Gifts for Coworkers

Thank You Gifts for Friends

Thank You Gift for Boss

Personalized Thank You Gifts
Thank You Gifts for Parents
Thank You Gifts Delivered

This is a great research paper that studied the influence of a “personal touch” added to different types of thank-you gifts. The experiments appear to be well documented and they were able to uncovered some very interesting results.

Bradler, Christiane and Neckermann, Susanne, The Magic of the Personal Touch: Field Experimental Evidence on Money and Appreciation as Gifts (May 31, 2016). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 16-045/VII.

Here is another interesting article with some practical information we all could share about the importance of saying thank you via email and responding to such messages.

Do You Really Need to Say Thank You? By Peter Bregman November 21, 2012


The more your thank you gift is directed toward the recipient as a unique individual the better.

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