‘Tis the season for gifts and giving, for counting our blessings and expressing our gratitude, too. Last night, after snuggling Little G to sleep and watching an old “Breaking Bad” episode with my hubby, I sat at the kitchen table and wrote some thank-you notes. Three different friends had made my family’s Christmas season merrier with their kindnesses, and I wanted to let them know we appreciated them.
When I was growing up, my mom taught my three siblings and me to thank people for their thoughtfulness and generosity with a handwritten note, promptly composed. This lesson resonated with me and has stuck with me all these years later. I like the idea of putting pen to paper to consider a kindness, acknowledge it, and then send off my appreciation.
Can’t you just e-mail or text a thank-you note? Sure, of course. And when I use electronic communications like these, I like to attach a picture of the gift “in action”—for example, Little G having a tea party with the Raggedy Ann doll my brother mailed her as a Christmas present.
But I really enjoy writing and mailing thank-you notes that you can touch; hold; hold onto as keepsakes. Here are five reasons why:
1.) Say, “Thank you,” in a heartfelt, unhurried way. Slightly more meaningful than a “Love the new Anthropologie potholder!!” text (which I dashed off to my sister a few days ago—we all have our moments, right? 🙂 ).
2.) Relive the joy. When I write a thank-you note, I take time to reflect on the gift and the giver. And in doing so, I give myself the opportunity to enjoy the gift and the goodwill it generated—and the accompanying friendship, a gift itself—again.
3.) Be present in the moment. Writing the old-fashioned way, with simple pen and paper, enables me to take a break from electronics—from the hum of my laptop and the mere being of my phone, constantly reminding me of all the people out there to connect with, all the possibilities, all the things to do. *Simplicity.*
4.) Brighten someone’s day. When I open my mailbox and see a handwritten note, it’s the first thing I open (sorry, Pottery Barn catalog and Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer!). You too? Personal correspondence brightens my day, and I think it may brighten others’, too.
5.) And … fun stationery. I love picking out note cards and writing papers of all kinds, anywhere from the Hallmark Store to Half Price Books. Writing thank-you notes gives stationery a purpose. Would you agree?
Meanwhile, here are some helpful links related to thank-you notes …
- “5 Tips for Writing Thank-You Notes With Kids” (Real Simple)
- “How To Write a Charming Thank You Note” (Southern Living)
- “The Found Art of Thank-You Notes” (The New York Times)