Maybe it’s because I’m from the South, or maybe it was because my mom always insisted we do it growing up, or maybe it’s because I’m an introvert … but I love writing thank you notes. I noted that I’m an introvert here because I often communicate better through the written word. I have been known to TEXT (yes, I know!) my husband who was sitting next to me about something I was nervous to bring up face-to-face. (Ha!) He read the text, and that started our conversation. I personally think hand-written letters are a lost art, and I intend to teach my children the art of a thankful-filled thank you note as they get older. People still write to Dear Abby about thank you notes (or lack thereof) — see this post (“Well-Written Thank You’s Don’t Have to Be Long Compositions“) from last month.
I always share my Birmingham Moms Blog posts with my 80-year-old great uncle (I hope he doesn’t mind me outing his age on here, because he’s going to read this!) He had this to say: “Over the years, in the Air Force and later as a teacher, I learned that people want to talk, talk, talk, but no one wants to write; it exposes your education. The written and printed word survives; talk, and email, is as ephemeral as yesterday’s sunset.” So, there you have it! (Also, I definitely had to look up what “ephemeral” means!)
My mom recently uncovered love notes between my grandparents from the early 1950s. That find is such a treasure to me, to my children, and to my future grandchildren. It lasts much longer than any other form of communication.
As parents, we see our kids go ninety to nothing each December making Christmas lists for Santa, talking nonstop about gifts, and asking every day, “How much longer until Christmas?” I desire that my children have a sense of contentment and thankfulness in this fast-paced, consumer-driven society. What better way to have them reflect on what they have than to write it down in a letter? It’s a way to get their minds off themselves and on to others. This doesn’t come naturally to young minds; it must be taught.
According to Miss Manners, one should never jump right into a thank you note with, “Dear so-and-so, Thank you for the ….” Start with a statement such as, “We enjoyed seeing you,” or “I can’t believe Christmas has come and gone,” etc. It’s important to converse for a bit before diving in with the “thank you’s.”
Ideas for Kids
Obviously, many of us have little ones who barely know how to write the letters to their own names, so the above is a moot point for thank you notes from kids. But you can still train your children young with “training thank you notes” such as these, these, and these made by local Birmingham artist, Gracie and Co. How fantastic is this idea? I wish these were around when I was a kid!
Another fun thank you note idea for children is to mail a photo of your child enjoying the gift and have them help you glue it onto a 4″x6″ index card. Write a short note, affix a postcard stamp to it, and drop it in the mail. Easy peasy. Having them be involved helps them learn, as well as have fun in the process.
How about you? Are you a thank you note stickler? How do you get your kids involved?