The holidays represent a great opportunity to express appreciation for your community’s moderators and staff members.

My moderators are volunteers who help because they have enjoyed the community and want to help maintain and give back to the thing that they have benefited from. There may be some other benefits, as well, but that should be the core.

What I have done in the past is send a Happy Holidays card, taking the time to write some honest thoughts, explaining how I appreciate what they bring to the team. I have also included gift certificates for small amounts to

I require that all of my moderators provide me with a mailing address, which allows me to send them a real, paper card. I believe that it has more impact that an eCard or an email. I am not trying to discourage that sort of thing, however, as it is obviously better than nothing and, as I write this post, it may well be too late to do anything but something digital.

There are a lot of different things you could do, depending on the resources that you have. Gift certificates are always great, I believe, but you can also send gifts. If you can’t afford anything more, just a card by itself is still much better than nothing.

I express appreciation regularly throughout the year, in most messages that I send, when we reach milestones and just in normal conversation, but I always encourage community managers to seize on the spirit of the holidays to once again make sure that your team feels valued.