Thanksgiving is later this week here in the United States. Families and friends often gather together over a good meal, and give thanks for whatever in their lives is good. Frequently, those thanks are directed towards an invisible, bearded man sitting in the sky and everybody at the table agrees that it’s really cool to have the food in front of them. Then everybody rushes out to get in line for their favorite store to open at midnight in the hopes that they might score an amazing bargain.

There are, for most people, many things to be thankful for. And everybody’s lists will inevitably be slightly different. So it might not always be appropriate to, while still at the table, note everything that you personally are thankful for. There’s a more than fair chance your Aunt Janine has never even heard of Xena, Warrior Princess, much less knows that your local UHF station is airing re-runs at the perfect time for you.

So why not take that internalized thanks, and make it external this year? I’m not suggesting you try to drag your Aunt Janine into a long discussion about Xena while she’s passing the mashed potatoes, but what about contacting some of the people who are responsible for what you’re a fan of and telling them you like their work? A writer who’s books have been really meaningful to you, an artist whose style is one you’ve copied repeatedly and have learned a great deal from by doing so, a director who goes out of their way to hire minority cast and crew for his projects. Or even just the program manager at the UHF station for airing a show you really love. Why not take some time after dinner to track down some contact information, and just say, “Thanks.” Just let them know that you appreciate their work.

After all, you’re a member of that fandom for a reason, right? You’ve connected with that in some way that’s deep and meaningful. Why not tell the people responsible? It’s easier than ever to get someone’s Twitter handle or find their Facebook page. I can almost guarantee that a simple “thank you” will light up their day. Which is a pretty awesome gift to give on Thanksgiving.