STOP & SAY THANK YOU:
THE HANDWRITTEN NOTE IS
MAKING A COMEBACK
911, We are losing the art of giving thanks! Sure, we constantly post on Facebook our gratitude for everything from a sunset to a pretty cafe lunch, and yes, we thank our friends, fans and followers there too for the birthday wishes, condolences, prayers, etc. But what is happening to the simple handwritten thank YOU note? 911! It’s going to go the way of the buggy whip if we don’t fight for it!! It used to be that if someone did something nice for us or made/gave us something, even if we didn’t love it (or even like it sometimes), we sat down and wrote one. It’s what the well-heeled wolves taught their cubs from a young age: it’s good manners to acknowledge the exchange of energy with appreciation in the form of a handwritten note.
Example: Birthday party. Gifts given. Fun was had by all. That next day the thank you cards were to be written and dispatched. Seemed like a chore, but really it was a simple formula:
Dear Party Guest,
Thank you for coming to my birthday party. I had fun with you. Thank you also for the nice dolly, t-shirt, book, etc. you gave me. It will be fun to play with, wear, read, etc.
The dolly, t shirt, book, etc. was incidental really. Giftee didn’t need to review or critique that dolly, t shirt, book, etc., just take a moment to say thank YOU. In doing so, Gifter was shown how appreciated the gift of their time and thoughtfulness. After all, this person stepped outside themselves to show that they cared.
Somewhere along the way though, we started moving too fast and getting too technologically advanced. It became acceptable to text a 'Thanks you', or send a funny meme. The thank you note is starting to seem like an old-fashioned, inefficient hassle in the one-click world. Write a single note to that Gifter or post ‘gratitude’ to one’s 500+ friends on Facebook for receiving a gift? Many will choose the latter over the former, but that olde tyme style still melts hearts.
As the recipient of a thank you note, we:
hold that note
feel the paper
read the words
see the handwriting and feel the energy behind it
connect with someone who appreciates us
How to start:
1| Keep blank notecards or stationary around just for this purpose. There's such a vast and beautiful selection out there now.
2| Within the week you are given a gift, get the stationary out and write a simple note.
3| Unsure how to compose a thank you note? There are some great examples to be found on the interwebs but simple is best: 'Thank you so much for feeding my goldfish Sparky while I was out of town. I so appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to make sure he was happy and cared for. You’re the best!'
4| Handwrite this this note. No typing. No computer. No email. No text. Go slow if handwriting ain’t your bag, or print, but let the human touch come forward.
When the thank you note goes, a special societal tenderness is not far behind it. We’re seeing it already, every Friday night when Jimmy Fallon writes his thank you notes. Yes, it’s a skit meant to be funny, but the ‘notes’ he writes snark and are critical. They point a finger at something and put it under the examination lamp. Hardly a “thank you”, more like a “thank me for being so clever and funny.” 911. Stop. Step back. A thank you is a thank YOU.
As John F. Kennedy said, “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” So right! The moment we give of ourselves when we get is intimate. It’s quiet. It’s not time to bestow an award, nor give out report card. The hand-written thank you note is a personal document of what we treasure and hold dear; you. And when these hand-written thank you notes are gone, so is a bit of our society’s sweet soul. That is what connects us with others, not the emojis. Without it, we lose intimacy and our heart’s eye contact.
"Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
— Marcel Proust