Is there a verb that means "to make someone feel special"? I've used that same phrase one too many times in the same piece and would love to mix it up!

For example: "On your child's birthday every year, harness the power of family traditions to make your child feel special."

You could use something like "...harness the power of family traditions to delight your child" but that doesn't bring the same meaning.

From my perspective, to make someone feel special isn't just about making them happy or excited -- it's about making them feel that they matter to you and that you appreciate them for who they are.

Thank you in advance for any help you can offer!

  • There are expressions like "spend quality time with someone" or "boost someone's self-esteem", but they're not single-word verbs.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 15:36

4 Answers 4


How about celebrate? It works doubly with the birthday aspect.

1. To observe (a day or event) with ceremonies of respect, festivity, or rejoicing. See Synonyms at observe.

3. To extol or praise: a sonnet that celebrates love.

Source: The Free Dictionary at American Heritage


Harness the power of family traditions to celebrate your child on her special day.



Informally, one can use the multi-word verb big up [for]:

big up (to/for) somebody [spoken; informal]

used when you want to praise someone

  • Big up to Kelly Holmes! She ran a superb race.

[Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English] [adjusted]

Although Collins still considers big up a slang usage, the Farlex Dictionary of Idioms gives the transitive usage without adding even an 'informal' caveat:

big up

  1. To promote or aggrandize the importance, quality, or positive aspects of someone or something.
  • The promoters have really been bigging up this new band ....

Uplift is good here. It carries the idea of the inherent worth of the person.

"...harness the power of family traditions to uplift your child"

To elevate in rank, honour, estate, or estimation. OED

Also according to OED, in Scottish it has the particular meaning of make proud as well. This fits with the OP's request for a word that doesn't just indicate a feeling of happiness but a feeling that they matter and have value.


I think one might loosely use "inspire" here.

to stimulate to greater or higher activity : make spirited

Source: Merriam-Webster

It's not an exact match for "make someone feel special", but I think it captures "make someone feel {positive}".

"On your child's birthday every year, harness the power of family traditions to inspire your child."

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