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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!
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
Instead of buying a gift, how about writing them each a thank-you
note expressing how much their help has meant to you.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 . . .
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 help...to somehow be useful, to make the situation
better....so...I doubt that any of these people are helping
begrudgingly. They all love you and are doing it from their
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
this page was last updated: Aug 1, 2007
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