Making your loved ones feel seen and appreciated is easier than you think. All it takes is a little consideration of what your loved one likes, a little time spent plotting the surprise, and a little effort to make it happen. You can spend some money, or none at all—so long as you put in the thought, time, and energy, you’re bound to make them feel special. Looking for more guidance? We’re here to point you in the right direction: try these 11 small surprises that say “I see you and I appreciate you.”
Send a for-no-reason card
Greetings cards are for holidays and big occasions—which is why receiving one out of the blue, for no particular occasion, feels so special.
Purchase a blank card or make one yourself. Fill it with a note that explains why you appreciate your giftee and thank them for their love, friendship, or guidance. You can deliver it personally or send via snail mail to make the gesture that much more memorable.
Treat them to a meal
Invite them out to eat, then cover the meal. Or spontaneously pay the whole bill the next time you find yourself at a restaurant together. Being treated to something, even if it’s just a greasy spoon breakfast, always feels nice. Avoid the “who gets the cheque?” dance by excusing yourself to the washroom and snagging your server then—it’ll make it all the more special when your guest hears “it’s been taken care of.”
Offer your help
When your loved one seems to be struggling or stressed, dive in with sincere offers to help — and follow through. If they’re a parent trying to juggle it all, offer to pick up their kids from school or to babysit on a Friday night. If they’re getting ready to move, offer to help pack a room. If they’re a caregiver for someone else, offer to run the errands they don’t have time for. Avoid the generic, open-ended “Can I help with anything?”, and show you genuinely mean it by offering something concrete with the dates you’re free and suggestions for what you can do.
Call out of the blue
In a world where voicemail is almost obsolete and most conversations seem to exist on screens, phone calls have become sacred. Surprise them by picking up the phone and ringing them up—just to say hi and that you’re thinking of them.
Make compliments specific
It’s easy to send a requisite birthday text or a congratulatory Facebook message—what takes a little more effort is actually thinking about the person you’re honouring and telling them why you care. Be specific: is there something they do that always makes you smile? A mantra they tend to repeat? Something they did for you once that you’ve never forgotten? Make them feel seen by putting those extra minutes into your message.
Cross an item off their to-do list
Imagine if a fairy godmother came along and erased “cleaning the house” or “raking the yard” from your to-do list with the simple wave of their wand? You can be that fairy godmother for your loved one. There are dozens of ways to execute this, like dropping by to mow their lawn or shovel their driveway, paying for a service they need (such as house cleaning), or bringing over groceries when they arrive home from a trip.
Nothing warms the belly and the heart like a comforting meal. Drop off a bottle of wine and a good cheese for no reason. Have their favourite pizza delivered to their place when you know they’re busy. Make a big batch of brownies and leave it on their doorstep.
Do you both spend a lot of time online? Let them know you’re thinking of them by sending links to articles you think they’d like or videos of pranks or photos of cute dogs—the more personalized, the better (“this made me think of that sticky situation you mentioned with your coworker!”). It’s simple, but shows that they’re on your mind.
Make a care package
A box filled with a handful of their favourite things says “I cherish you” several times over. Not sure what kind of items to include? Think their drink of choice, face masks, a new book with a note scribbled on the inside cover, a takeout restaurant menu punctuated with your recommended dishes, or candles (go the extra mile by anticipating anything auxiliary they may need but not have handy—such as matches for the candles).
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