1. Channel your second-grade teacher and playfully give out gold-star stickers to all the people in your life -- young and old -- who somehow make your day a little easier.
2. If you know someone is going out to dinner to celebrate a special occasion, call the restaurant in advance and say you'll pick up the cost of her wine or dessert.
3. When someone is moving to a new city, supply friends and family members with stamped, preaddressed postcards. (Hand them out at the going-away party.) By the time the family pulls into the new driveway, there will be warm wishes awaiting them.
4. When you run across a newspaper or magazine article you think someone you know would find interesting, take a moment to clip it out. Attach a Post-it note that reads "Thought you'd enjoy" and drop it in the mail. This takes less time than writing a letter, but the gesture still shows the other person you're thinking about her. Laura Noss, who owns a public-relations firm for nonprofits in San Francisco, says her father, who lives in Cleveland, does just that. "It means so much that when he's reading something, he'll rip it out, fold it, attach a message, put the postage on it, and send it to me," she says. "I save almost all of them."
5. Similarly, when a young person in your hometown does something to merit a mention in the newspaper (the high school quarterback saves the big game in overtime or your neighbor gets elected student-body president), clip out the photo and article and send it to the person's family. Chances are, they'll want to collect every copy they can. (One notable exception: the police blotter.)