What is the best way to thank your GM?
Run a game for them. Seriously. GMs almost always want to be players – they love roleplaying so much that they are willing to take on the extra duties and responsibilities of writing the scenarios, buying the books, distributing information, drawing maps, and wrangling conflicting schedules all so that you all can play. But deep in their hearts, GMs WANT to play too. And you should make that happen from time to time. Because if you don’t they will eventually burn out and then there will be no fun for anyone.
Of course, not everyone has the skill set or the willingness to get behind the GM screen and actually run something. For those who don’t –
It doesn’t have to be money of course. Take them to your FLGS and let them pick something out, and then snatch it from their cold, heartless hands and pay for it. Buy them a cool new game aid they don’t have. Sponsor a kickstarter in their name.
Another great option – thank them publicly on social media. Tell people how much you enjoy their game. Generate buzz about it. Say good and kind things. Give compliments. They’re free and they mean a lot.
Finally, give them food. GMs tend to eat like Zoidberg in Futurama. If they are going to run a game that takes hours of preparation time for you, at least feed them.