After the holidays, I used to get quite whiny about writing my thank you notes.
My grandparents had zero patience for this attitude and used to say to me, “If you don’t write your thank you notes, no one will give you anything next year.”
I know that isn’t true. I know plenty of people who never sent thank you notes and those same grandparents continued to send gifts to them. (Don’t ask me how I know this because it involves family intrigue and gossip and no one wants that in an art blog.)
But my grandparents words successfully wedged themselves in my brain, and now I always send thank you notes to people who have given me things after my birthday and after Christmas.
Well, not always to every person, now that I think about it. There was that one chronic holiday gifter and I always wondered if I should send a note based on the relationship and the nature of the gift and opted not to. This year, no gift from that person...
And that makes me think that maybe there are times to skip the thank you note, but if I ever again think, “Should I? Is it appropriate to send one?” The answer is yes. So I will just do it. Not to get more things, but to take the opportunity to reach out to another human being with some warm thoughts.
What does it cost me? Stamps are only going up one penny and I always have a stash. I buy cards with lovely art on them whenever I go to museums and I MAKE note cards, for Pete’s Sake. I always have the physical resources.
And how much time does it really take? Just a couple of minutes, really. I know that sometimes when you sit down to write something, you freeze up, but if you are writing a thank you note, all you have to do is state the truth in a few short sentences:
“Thank you very much for the gift! I will use it to make my life better in some way. It was very nice of you to think of me.”
That is all you have to say in some variation. It takes less than 5 minutes to write that. It will probably take you longer to find their address.
While having the annual argument with my grandparents about thank you notes - whichever set was visiting, they all were pro-thank you note folks - I would point out that I was with them when I opened the presents and said thank you at that time. Or I had talked with them on the phone that day and told them I appreciated my gifts. Why do I also send a note?
Of course, they were attempting to mold a young girl into a thank you note sender for life, so it was the habit that was important to them. Back in the 70’s, the post office was the only method of sending a note.
I profess that it is also the best way today.
How many emails do you get in a day? How many texts and facebook messages?
Now, how many actual letters or cards? How do you feel when you get one?
Wouldn’t you like to make someone else feel like that? We talked about how little it would cost you to deliver those same friendly feelings to someone else.
That is probably enough to convince you to send a real, snail mail, hand-written sentiment of gratitude. In case it isn’t, then you should know that sending a thank you note would make you just like an Olympic Gold Medalist....
Bethanie Mattek Sands is a perennial tennis champion and won a gold medal for the US in mixed doubles in 2016. She sends thank you notes everyday, as she explains in this video.
Now that you are convinced to send more thank you notes in 2018, beginning with some post-holiday appreciation, you need some cards!
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No need to thank me.