During the pre-holiday rush, it’s easy to get caught up in the grind. You have staff to hire, schedules to make, and inventory to stock up on. While you’re busy knocking items off your to-do list, don’t forget the holiday you’re celebrating – Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is about showing gratitude. It’s about slowing down, indulging, and giving thanks for another great year. During this period, show the people who have helped your business succeed, how grateful you are for their help. Here are some creative ways to show the people most important to your business you’re grateful. For Your Customers Perhaps some of the most important people and the most forgotten people in your business are your customers. These people don’t just spend money at your business throughout the year, they also actively spread the word about you to their friends. Still, showing them gratitude isn’t always easy. Here are a few ways to use the Thanksgiving season to extend your thanks to your loyal buyers. Host a VIP Sale – This sale would be exclusively for your most valued customers, such as your loyalty card holders or mailing list members. Making a person feel exclusive will make them feel more appreciated. This should go beyond any regular holiday sales to make it even more meaningful. Personalize Your Service – During the holidays, people struggle to find the perfect gift. Now, more than usual, they need a personalized shopper to help. In your store or business, ease the holiday burden for your customers by offering a concierge shopping experience. Going above and beyond to make their life a little easier will get noticed and be greatly appreciated. Handwrite a Note – These days, handwritten notes are few and far between. There’s something uniquely special about opening up the mail and finding a handwritten notice of gratitude. Do this for your most loyal members and you can be sure they will feel appreciated. For Your Strategic Partners Strategic partners are other businesses that refer you customers. For example, if you’re a retail store, a strategic partner might be the mall where you’re located. If you’re a restaurant, you might partner with a local wedding planner to get large catering events. These people bring you a tremendous amount of business and deserve your thanks each year. Before the holiday rush picks up, here are a few ways you can show your gratitude. Send a Holiday Card – It’s not too early to get your holiday cards in the mail. Handwrite a note on your standard cards to your best strategic partners. The personal note from you will let them know how much you appreciate their help specifically and that they’re more important to you than a standard holiday greeting. Send a Gift – Did a strategic partner go above and beyond this year to help your business grow? Sending a gift might be a more appropriate token of thanks. This can be a gift basket to share with an entire team, a gift card for a specific partner who has done a lot for you this year, or something more personal. For Your Employees Your employees are the heart of your company. They work hard day in and day out to bring your customers the best service. When you’re showing gratitude to others this time of year, don’t forget the people who work hardest for you – your team members. There are traditional ways of showing your appreciation, such as giving out holiday bonuses or hosting a holiday luncheon. This year, shake things up a bit with a spin on the ordinary. Schedule a Luncheon With Each Team Member – Employees feel appreciated when they feel heard as an individual. The end of the year is the perfect time to give your employee a chance to speak up and share her opinions without worry about peer pressure in a meeting or ridicule from management. Schedule a one-on-one luncheon with your employee for valuable insights you might not hear in a standard team meeting. Truly listen to her feedback and get to know what she wants to see out of her job. Let this be an opportunity for her to speak candidly. The more she feels she can be open and that you’ve listened to her, the more she will feel appreciated by you. Give a Bonus of Paid Time Off – This time of year is busy – not just in your store but also in your employee’s lives. Instead of handing out monetary bonuses, hand out paid time off. It’s an unusual way to give a bonus but it’s one your employees will appreciate. They’ll get their holiday shopping finished, enjoy a few meals with their family and be able to relax for a day without worrying about sacrificing their pay. Host a Secret Santa – Make your office come to life with a secret santa party. This is a fun tradition during the holiday season and one most people will enjoy participating in. Keep it inexpensive and light so there is no pressure to buy something overpriced or overly personal. The goal of it is to have some fun behind-the-scenes so your employees feel enthused about working for you. They’ll also appreciate the gifts they receive from their colleagues, bringing the team together in a fun, unique way. Have a Decorating Party – Break up your employee’s regular routine with an office decorating party. This is a great way to inspire team camaraderie while changing up the daily grind for your employees. Make sure you don’t come empty handed to your decorating party. Bring food and treats to share with everyone. Make the mood festive so your team doesn’t feel like they’re working but instead, feel like they’re getting a break from the ordinary. For Yourself You deserve to receive a gesture of gratitude too. After all, you work hard in your business every day. This year, give yourself a thank you gift by giving yourself time off. Don’t get sucked into the holiday chaos. Instead, set yourself up with a strong team who will back you, even when you’re not in the store or office. Then, allow yourself to take a breather as you gear up for the year ahead. Images: “Man holding thank you word in palm/ Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.