Insurance companies and funeral homes send out calendars for the coming year with their logo attached; other businesses send pens or specialty food items to their best customers to show their appreciation. With technology taking the place of pen and paper it gets more difficult each year to choose a gift that will be welcome and express our feelings well.
As the spouse of a resident in a memory care center, I am truly appreciative of the loving services the caregivers and the supporting staff provide for my husband, from the daily skills assistance to the hugs and the kind words each and every one of them make sure to provide on every meeting as he wanders the halls or sits and eats a snack. Due to my husband's Alzheimer's disease, he is not able to show his appreciation but he still says "Thank you" when he is served most of the time.
That small response is appreciated by the staff and is something we sometimes forget. Look at the person directly and voice your thanks and your appreciation for the kindness received this year in the same way that we all appreciate a "thank you" from others.
But do we? I often feel embarrassed when I receive appreciation for something I have done. I often don't take the time to reply meaningfully, saying only "It was nothing." or "I like to be helpful when I can." Receiving gifts, compliments or thanks graciously and gratefully is a skill requiring openness and when I take not only the time but make the effort of truly relating to the other person, the relationship with that other person has a chance to grow and deepen.