Handwritten Notes

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I come from a long line of letter writers. Growing up, after every Christmas and birthday, my mom would sit us down at the kitchen table with a pile of pens and a stack of thank you cards. She'd address the envelopes and we would scrawl out a little note. (Bribes may have been involved, but it got the job done.) At times I didn't know what to say or felt inadequate or simply didn't want to do it. But my mom, the champion gratitude coach, helped us through the rough patches and simultaneously helped foster a lifelong skill. 

I still write cards. There is something extraordinarily special about receiving a personal note in the mail. They can come for a particular occasion (birthdays, babies, marriage, get-well soon, or loss of a loved one), or they can be for no particular reason. I can never decide which is best.

In an age of instant communication it might seem a waste of time to put pen to paper, scrounge up a stamp, and write out a little hello. But this is exactly why I'm championing the lost art of handwritten notes. Have you ever written a thank you to a local business you appreciate? What about sending a post card out of the blue? When you take the time to slow down and mentally process what you are going to say you'll notice a slight paradigm shift. You start to really think about the other person. The person you are writing to. Where they are at in their life and how they've made an impact on yours. 

Currently, I have babies on the brain. In the space of one month I have three family members and one close friend having a baby. That's a lot of onesies! In preparation I've been stocking up on letterpress cards. I know, letterpress cards are expensive. They're totally worth it. But if you can't splurge on letterpress go to Target or stock up during after-the-holiday sales. The point is, having a stash of pretty paper and occasion-specific cards in your supply makes it all that much easier to send one out when the need arises. (Just make certain you have correct mailing addresses on file.)  

Lastly, I have a confession to make. When we were newly engaged the very first wedding related item I purchased was a box of 200 thank you cards. Two hundred. Who does that? But you know what?, I've used almost all of them. My aunt, before she passed away, mentioned to my mom that she was so touched by my thoughtful wedding thank you and that she had put it away in her "special spot" and planned on keeping it forever. 

That's the power of the handwritten note. Never underestimate your words.  

Pretty cards purchased here and here.
For tips on writing the perfect thank you note check out this NPR article


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