Thank-You Gifts

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Thank-you gifts to friends who helped after surgery

March 2005

I recently underwent surgery that involved a two-week hospital stay, and I am now facing a lengthy recovery period during which I am dependent on others for many of my activities of daily living (dressing, bathing, eating, etc.) I am married with three children. What has made this ordeal bearable for my family is the tremendous outpouring of help and support from our friends and the greater community, i.e. parents of teammates of my children, etc. These wonderful people have seen to it that dinner is delivered to my family every night, and they have arranged for a house cleaner to come to our home, and have shouldered the burden of picking up/dropping off kids, even going to our house at 11:30 at night to pick up the youngest child and keep him overnight so my husband could stay at the hospital with me one particulary bad evening. I am not eligible for disability payments, so our budget has just taken a big hit and we are barely making ends meet by cutting way back on expenses of any kind. However, we very much want to thank all these lovely people for their kindness by giving them some kind of gift. Does anyone have any ideas for a gift that is nice but inexpensive for upwards of 30 people?
Signed: Blessed with Tremendous Friends

While I understand your desire to thank the people who have helped you I strongly feel a handwritten and sincere thank you note is all that is needed. In our often-rushed and isolated society I know I find it a gift to myself to be of help to someone else during their tough time --and hope when it happen to me others will do their part. This is part of being part of the human community - people WANT to help you and don't expect a gift for it. Hope you have a speedy recovery! LJ

I'm sorry about your illness but so happy to hear that you have a great support network. I am a part of a large team of people supporting a good friend who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. I've helped the family in a number of ways for one reason-- I truly love my friend and want to help. Please don't feel that you need to buy gifts for the people who have helped you through your experience. My bet is that seeing you return to health is all they want.

Of course a personal thank you note is always nice, but beyond that I don't think you need to do anything. If you feel that you MUST do something, what about a donation to a charity that helps other people who might not have the same support network? You could write a letter to all of your friends explaining the donation and thanking them. Or maybe you could make a CD with some of your favorite songs, and give everyone a copy of that? Really, don't burden yourself trying to come up with a ''thing'' for each person. Just accept their loving support graciously and be ready to offer a helping hand if they ever need it. Good luck to you. A Friend

Instead of buying a gift, how about writing them each a thank-you note expressing how much their help has meant to you. anon

The nicest gift, which is also nearly free, is a thoughtfully handwritten note of appreciation explaining how important their help was to you in your time of need. Nobody will think the less of you for not giving some material good. David

These people helped you out of the goodness of their hearts. They certainly do NOT expect a thank you *gift.* Personally, I think it's inappropriate to give gifts to 30+ people in the situation you describe. If anything, perhaps you, your husband and kids can get together and divy up writing thank you notes, but I'm sure no one would expect them either. Really, the best thing you can do is pay it forward and help people out in the same ways when they need it. Sue

If I were one of your helpers, I would most appreciate a sincere, hand written thank you note, and the knowledge that you will help someone else in need when you are able. I don't need something material to feel appreciated, and knowing that it could strain your budget would take away from the enjoyment. Don't need a gift

What about hand-written thank you notes/letters to each person, telling them how much this has helped you and how much you appreciate them? I know it would warm my soul if I received one... and I wouldn't really want a gift. Karen

I recently was one of the ''givers'' in a similiar situation and I appeciated receiving a nice thank you note with a photo of my friend with her family. People that are generous enough to give their time and energy to support someone they care about aren't going to need a gift to feel thanked. Seeing you healthy will be enough. anon

Hearing you describe what your friends did for you in your time of need--wow, you really are blessed. And to your question I say: DO NOT buy them gifts! They cared for, supported and helped you because they are good people that love you. I am certain they would not want to be a burden to you in your desire to show your appreciation. I would simply write a heartfelt note/letter saying how much their efforts meant to you. I know that receiving such a letter would really make me feel good. If you want to hand something to them, could you bake some homemade bread or cookies? Something easy that they can enjoy? Good luck with your recovery. Elizabeth

Several years ago my mother had a similar situation when a number of friends pitched in to help her go through cancer treatment on the East Coast. My brother and I both live far away from her and her friends' committment made it possible for us to mostly continue our own lives with only occasional visits home.

In order to thank them, he and I made contributions in their names to our favorite cancer charity. We just took our total budget, divided by the number of friends and made each contribution in that amount. The friends each got a note from the charity that a contribution had been made in their name to thank them for all of their help. People were generally touched . . . Good luck!

I think a heart-felt thank you note that communicates how grateful you are for such a kind and generous friend (x 30) is more than enough. Your friends helped you because they love you; I think a gift sort of cancels out some of their care. Just write a note and pay it forward (or back) when the time comes. Been on both sides

I understand your wanting to express your thanks by giving gifts to all these wonderful people, but I really think gifts are not necessary and certainly not expected. When we have a crisis or need of some sort in our community, people WANT to help. I think as human beings we (I) feel that we need to somehow be useful, to make the situation doubt that any of these people are helping begrudgingly. They all love you and are doing it from their hearts.

That said....if you wrote a personal note to each of them expressing your appreciation adn saying how blessed you are to have them in your life, that would be worth way more than anything you could buy them. Hope this helps and hope you continue your recovery. been on both ends