As I write this article, we have just celebrated one of our favorite and most meaningful holidays. Thanksgiving is in the rear-view mirror, but surely we maintain the attitude of gratitude from that day. Even in this difficult time of Covid, we have much to be thankful for. As we approach Christmas, Hannukah and Kwanza, we look forward to sharing meals, parties and gifts with our friends, families and coworkers.
Now is the time to consider how and when you will express your thanks to those who have brought joy to your life. Maybe it was something special that you received during the year—a gift, a favor, a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear or an encouraging word when you needed it most. Let those people who matter to you know how much you appreciate them.
How do you do this? By a simple act. You send them a handwritten note with words that come from your heart. Not surprisingly this is challenging for many of us. As a result, we don’t do it or we put it off for an embarrassingly long time.
Let me suggest a few things that will help you write those notes.
- Start with a list of those whom you want to thank.
- Keep your list close by so it stays not only on your desk but on your mind.
- Purchase your stationery, either fold over notes or correspondence cards.
- Buy several pens that write easily.
- You’ll need to have stamps at the ready.
- Keep all your supplies where they are easily accessible.
- Set aside a time every day to write a few notes.
- Then do it.
Thank you notes need not be lengthy. A few sentences are enough if you are feeling challenged.
- Mention specifically what you are grateful for.
- If you have received a gift, say what you will do with it.
- If someone has been kind or thoughtful, let them know what their kindness meant to you.
- Perhaps look to the future as you close. Mention how you want to connect with or stay in touch with that person.
- Select a closing that you are comfortable with. It could be “Gratefully”, “With sincere gratitude” or even “Thank you again”.
- Sign your name and you’re done.
I want to leave you with a quote from my dear friend and colleague, Elizabeth Herbert Cottrell, whose book HEARTSPOKEN: How to Write Notes that Connect, Comfort, Encourage, and Inspire is soon to be published.
“Some say the handwritten note is a dying art, yet in both professional and personal life, it is still one of the most powerful tools we have for connecting meaningfully with others. A well-written note can give voice to the stirrings of your most heartfelt sentiments and can be read, saved, and treasured forever.”
It’s so easy to be “thankful” during the holidays, but I think we need to carry it all year long. I have all my notecards (my own art), envelopes, favorite pens, address book, and stamps within arm’s reach. So when I do decide to sit down to write, it’s a comfortable task.
I know Elizabeth well, and I am a member of her online note-writing group. I am very much looking forward to her book.