Imagine: You come home after a long day and bring in the mail on your way in the door. Included in the pile of bills, junk, catalogs, and magazines is a small envelope of quality paper, your name carefully hand written on the front.
You drop your purse and the other mail, and set your phone down. You open the envelope. Inside is a notecard with beautiful original artwork on the front (you’re thinking you could even frame it later) and a short message inside.
Thank you, it says. Thank you…
A thank you note is deceptively simple.
Sure notes are for thanking a relative for a gift, an employer for an interview, and a friend for being there for us during a particular difficult time. But thank you notes can also be life changing for both the giver and receiver.
Sharing a thoughtful message via print isn’t a new idea; in fact, the ancient Egyptians were known to scribble their goodwill via papyrus and even as early as the 15th century handmade paper greeting cards were being exchanged in Europe.
These days, with the option to send your thanks via Facebook message or email, it’s a standout delight to receive a card in the mail.
You know by now that writing a list of things you’re grateful for each day can increase your overall happiness. Well, what if you matched some of the items on your gratitude list with a specific person and let them know how they impacted you?
Could you pay your gratitude, and thus your happiness, forward?
In the book 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Gratitude Changed My Life, author John Kralik shares how writing a thank you note each day for a year helped him focus on what was going well despite numerous set-backs and obstacles. Overtime, the practice of becoming aware to what he did have, to what was positive, changed his whole being. His life went from being an emblem of despair to a beacon of optimism.
As the receiver, too, a thank you note can alter our world. It doesn’t take long to jot down a few extra words to a waiter who served you well or a nurse who took special care of your parent. And sure, those people are just doing their jobs.
But receiving the kind attention of thanks can be the difference between doing just a job and experiencing meaningful work.
So, you want to write more thank you notes and you want to take care to do it well. Where to start?
First, before you write anything permanent, brainstorm how you want the receiver to feel. Perhaps draft out the language in your head or on scrap paper to be sure you’ve found the words that match the feeling you want to evoke. Language is important here.
But please don’t get too caught up in getting it “right”–even Virginia Woolf found it difficult to find the perfect verbiage in written thank you’s.
As she says in one note to a friend, “If only I weren’t a writer, perhaps I could thank you and praise you and admire you perfectly simply and expressively and say in one word what I felt.”
Once you’ve decided on what to say, the next step is all about the vehicle for sharing your thoughts: The card itself!
There are so many fantastic stationers and card makers out there today that your options and literally limitless. To help narrow the field, here are a favorite few to get you started:
This San Francisco based publisher offers a distinctive array of books, gifts, and stationery. My current favorite is The Art of Instruction Notecard set. The beautiful images are based on wall charts used as teaching tools in the classrooms of Europe in the mid-19th to 20th centuries.
Rifle Paper Co.
Known for its whimsical style and fresh, feminine, and fun perspective, this popular line is full of great options–like this gold stripe Thank You card you could choose a card at random and never go wrong. But for a real treat, try the gold striped card with a simple white thank you for an elegant touch.
Emily, a designer and creative director turned card maker has taken the stationary world by storm and counts among her many fans Bréne Brown and Joanna Goddard of the blog A Cup of Jo. Her cheeky cards are sure to make any recipient smile. For a fun twist on the thank you note, try her Gratitude on the Go cards. These tiny thank you’s are perfect for slipping into a pal’s pocket or dropping in the cafe tip jar (along with a tip of course).
Sharing our gratitude with those around us is a small act with huge rewards, for both ourselves and those who receive the thanks.
Who are you going to send a card to first? And what are you thanking them for?
Top Image of card from Garance Doré for Rifle Paper Co. Collection