#sol17 Day 16: Thank You Notes

Growing up, writing thank you notes was always part of receiving gifts. I vaguely remember it usually happened in a 24-hour span: open gift, ooh and aah, pull out some pretty paper and write a thank you note. Find a stamp–which my grandmother always had in abundance–address the envelope and either walk the card or letter out to the mailbox beside the road that evening, or wait until first thing the next morning.

Receiving gifts was a cycle that was completed only when the thank you note was mailed. It was a habit my grandmother started with me when I was young, and I probably only signed my name to start, progressing to more formulaic thanks as I got older until I evolved to be able to write thoughtful, genuine notes of gratitude.

I picked up a penchant for lovely paper along the way. I might have several boxes of correspondence cards stored in a drawer. Might.

Recently, I realized that I seem to have accumulated more pieces of lovely paper than were actually being used. Blame never having stamps on hand, blame email (my grandmother would probably lose her mind over that one), and blame self absorption.

What was once an ingrained habit had became rusty with lack of use.

Muscle memory is a fantastic thing, though. For the last few months, I’ve been writing thank you notes. Real ones. Some on lovely paper. Some on copy paper that I embellish with doodles I find on Pinterest. Lots for the many people who give E presents.

The more I write, the easier it is, and, miracle of miracles, the happier it makes ME, the one writing the note! I think that feeling of personal joy was not as apparent when I was younger. Back then, I’m sure writing thank you notes felt more like a chore than anything. At present, however, writing thank you notes is a reflective, mindful exercise. I’m able to write about what the gift meant and how it impacted me (or us, if it’s a gift for the both of us). I sit at my tiny kitchen table remembering, writing, and being thankful that someone thought enough of me to send something of meaning. I’ve even begun keeping a few cards near my journal and other writing supplies to make it easier to dash off notes.

The least I can do is write notes of thanks and teach E to do the same. (He already has his own lovely paper.)

slice of lifeThis post is part of the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers, who have created a space for writers and teachers of writers to come together. To learn more about this challenge, click here.


12 thoughts on “#sol17 Day 16: Thank You Notes

  1. We have the same writing time, Kim…right after babies’ bedtimes!! Haha!

    I never wrote many thank-yous growing up, and I struggle to do a good job sending them now. I’m still in those early formulaic stages you describe, although I do have WAY too much pretty paper and too many pretty note cards to be so behind. Maybe I can make it a goal to write them more frequently!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was required to write thank you notes as well. I try to write them now, but admittedly am not as diligent as I should be about it. When my boys were young, I required them to write thank you notes very shortly after receiving a gift. I am ashamed to say I don’t put as much pressure on them to do it now. I should. It is a lost art. Thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you notes are something I have always valued…both sending and receiving. I feel that they have become even more valuable and meaningful in today’s world as people tend to take the quick way out and send a text or e-mail. If they take the time to write down real words that say thank you, you know that they truly appreciated the gift/act/you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love sending thank you notes! I brought some in and had my senior homeroom write them for the teachers who wrote them college rec letters. I don’t always send them if I can thank the person who gifted *in person* (and I grew up making phone calls instead) but they are definitely a lovely habit.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yessssssss. I love this. I am behind on some thank you notes (almost a year, sigh), but once the semester is over, I am digging in. Like you, I find that writing them makes ME feel good, especially when people have given me such thoughtful gifts and I can share how much I appreciate them.

    Liked by 1 person

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