In the Washing Post article “How George H.W. Bush used handwritten thank-you notes to build bridges”, the author stated that George wrote 1,000’s of thank you notes. That may seem like a large amount, but really that is only three years of writing one thank you note a day. Please get started while you read this post. I suggest putting a pile of thank you notes at your desk. You can start with some from the dollar store. They usually sell them in 8 packs. That is 1 a day plus an extra for when you inevitably need to start a note again.
As a stay at home Mom sometimes I feel helpless when people would like me to volunteer for things. Watching kids at Sunday school, being a member on the library board, and helping at our church are just a few.
I have decided that there are some things that I can do with the skills that I have been given. I came up with the thank you note idea because sometimes when I am depressed, being positive can get me out of a slump. I would sit down to write thank-you cards to others to stay positive. Just writing the card made me feel better about my current situation.
When I did get the cards to people, even when not in the time frame that I wish I could get them to the person, I at least got a smile and a thank you. Yes, I could do something at home while being a stay at home Mom that was helpful.
This means that I am getting better at saying No. Instead of saying yes, struggling, and then saying I can’t do something anymore, I realize that saying no is easier for everyone involved. I tried to be on the library board in my area. But after 6 months, I realized that being a stay at home Mom with two young kids was not the time in my life to pursue this dream. There will be another place in my life when I can devote more time, energy, and hopefully money to the cause.
So there I am, a Mom of a 74-year-old and 3-year-old sitting at home with some time between naps. I have a small publishing business called CZYK Publishing were I help others publish their books. I also have the house to take care of while my husband is at work at a local University. How can I help not only my own family and self but help others?
In Matthew 6 1-4 we learn not to tell others about our good deeds. “When you do good deeds, don’t try to show off. If you do, you won’t get a reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to the poor, don’t blow a loud horn. That’s what show-offs do in the meeting places and on the street corners because they are always looking for praise. I can assure you that they already have their reward. When you give to the poor, don’t let anyone know about it. Then your gift will be given in secret. Your Father knows what is done in secret, and he will reward you.”
This is why I am having trouble deciding to write this post or not. I am not writing it to tell you all the good deeds that I did. I am writing to show you the process of giving and how I think it is changing me.
Thank you notes are a great way to show your appreciation to someone for their generosity. The 17th Edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette says that in some cases, thank you notes are optional. There is no right or wrong way to write a thank you note. Once you start writing a few you will have your own personal style. Do not worry about how long you take to write a thank you note. Any thank you note that someone receives is better than nothing.
There are books out there on the way you are supposed to write a thank you note. In Reese Witherspoon’s book, “Whiskey in a Teacup”, she talks about the monogram she has on the stationary. She even has different stationery with different thicknesses based on formality. This is not the post for the rules of thank you notes. This is a post to help motivate you to be grateful for the things in your life. To remind you that you are not an island, but working together with many people to accomplish many things.
I am learning that thank you notes are what I would like to write more of. To get more thank you notes written each day I created a place with notes and a pen. Then I can start thanking others more. I can mail them or remember to give them to people. Starting each day with a thank you note gives me a more positive attitude especially during the winter blues. I hope these tips give you the motivation to put pen to paper. To be a cheerleader to others personal growth and possibly future decisions. You may spur future action in others.
Thank you Note Materials
The first thing I need to do was collect the items needed to do this. I started with thank you notes. While at the dollar store I picked up some thank you notes. Now, who do I send them to? I will have to work on that next. The nice thing about starting a thank you note is that is you are interrupted by life while writing it you can go right back to it when you have some time.
Note: If you don’t want to drive to a store you can also buy bulk cards and thank you cards on Amazon. Why not just buy 100 at a time? Create a thank you note station. Buy a large quantity of thank you notes and put them in one spot with the wrapping already open. Keep a pen with them. Also, some stamps and possibly some address stamps or stickers if you have them.
Start Writing – My First Examples
You don’t need a perfect time to start. Start today. You can wait until January 1st as a new years resolution. You can start on a depressing day in your life as a way to show gratitude to the world.
Not all thank you notes need to be notes. They can be verbal. They can be on the computer. But sometimes writing a sending a note, if you can, is good for you and the receiver. Just having a positive thoughtful mind may be helpful to get you started. The other day I wanted to write a thank you note to our pastor. I could not find my notes at the time. So I just sent it in an email. Better than nothing, right?
I thanked someone on facebook today. I did not give a formal thank you note, but I think verbal and social media thank you notes count too. I wrote a thank you note to someone who ran for state representative and did not win. I hope that he gets enough of these messages he will continue to win. I also wrote a note to someone we know who is school board president. While at this time I do not have the time for this type of position, I am glad he is there and I hope that a thank you can help pay him for all the time he is spending at this position.
As I am writing this post, I am sharing parts of what I am writing on social media. A friend shared this with me. “In this life, we cannot always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa. I think that the saying goes well with this project. I can’t do everything for everyone. Sometimes I think if I was not a Mom I could do more. But in reality, in any situation, there is something to pay forward.
Don’t worry about taking a break and writing more thank you notes. Different seasons in your life will occur. You may have to take care of different situations. Don’t worry if you stop. Just remember you can get back to it. If you don’t want to write a thank you note you don’t need to. I won’t make my daughter write 15 thank you notes if she is not interested. Sometimes I will have her decorate the envelopes instead. Don’t force yourself to write one out of obligation. Make it easier on yourself. Have the materials ready in one organized location. If you feel like writing one then you can but if not, that is fine too. By the way, this is not how you should write a business thank you note. There are rules for them that you should follow. These thank you notes are more personal.
If you don’t want to write a thank you note you don’t need to. I won’t make my daughter write 15 thank you notes if she is not interested. Sometimes I will have her decorate the envelopes instead. Don’t force yourself to write one out of obligation. Make it easier on yourself. Have the materials ready in one organized location. If you feel like writing one then you can but if not, that is fine too.
I decided to write the first thank you note to my husband who was having a rather long week at work. Saying positive things were difficult for me since I had the girls most of the day. A thank you note was a great way to stay positive. I think he really liked the letter.
One morning at breakfast my daughter and I were talking about the Presidential election. She said she wanted to visit the White House someday. I told her that we could write him a thank you note. She asked if we could write one now. I said sure. So we wrote a thank you note, and also asked to meet him.
Within a month we got a package in the mail with a picture of President Obama and a few other cards. She kept the cards in her desk for a long time and brought the items to our church, the Common Place, to show everyone what she received.
My daughter’s teacher at school has become an important part of our families lives. I decided to send her a card to thank her for everything she does. Teachers can be amazing people who really care about their students. We can tell through her projects and lessons that she really cares.
Remember to Send Them
A thank you note to some can be something that you keep and never give to the person. I believe that you will still get something out of the process. But having a system to give the cards to others is helpful too. I find that you either mail them or give them to the person. If I am going to give them to the person, I usually put them in my purse. I realize that not everyone has a purse but think of a system that will work for you. I found one note in my purse that I forgot to give to someone. The corners were crinkled but I did not think the recipient would care. I put the thank you note out to remember to give it to the person.
You may want to write a note and then find the address. I did not know if I could find the addresses of the people that I wanted to thank. I wrote cards for a family for letting them have a party at their house, an organization for holding a farm to city event, and a missionary for coming to speak to us about Cambodia. I wrote them all. Then I went to search the internet for the addresses. Within five minutes I had them all addressed. I then put a stamp on them and got them out of the mailbox.
Large Group of Thank You Cards
Sometimes when I sit down to write a large amount of thank you cards I like to turn on some music. I usually just go to Pandora.com and listen to a playlist I created. My daughter just had a large 7th birthday party. During the party, I wrote down the gifts that she was given so I remembered to send thank you notes. A good tip is to have a pen and paper ready on a clipboard or a book before the party starts. Then when it is time to open present you are ready. When I was in high school and college I ran gymnastics birthday parties. This is something we always had ready for one of the caregivers at the party and they were always happy we thought ahead.
When you write a large amount of thank you notes you may need to take breaks or you might want to do them all at once. Taking breaks is not a bad thing. Just remember to start again. You will make mistakes on some of the cards that you write. You can either just rewrite the word of start over. That is up to you. You can also write thank you notes with a group that you are part of. Bring the materials to a group meeting, tell them your purpose, and then take a few minutes together to make a large change.
Receiving Thank You Notes Back
This is one part of this journey that I did not expect. Today a letter came in the mail for me today. I did not recognize the handwriting. The note was just a short note for thinking of her family during their busy lives. I was excited to get the note.
What is your special talents that you can share in your current situation? I am not asking what you would share in a perfect world. I am asking what you would share right now with the materials, time, and talents that you have. Don’t expect anything in return. But be pleasantly surprised if you do. Focus on the things that you can give versus the stuff that you can get.
Thank you Note Tips and Tricks
You can include the date at the top if you like. You can start with the word dear. You can sign it sincerely or love. Different type of people may require different types of notes. You might write differently to your Grandmother than your Boss. When writing your note, use the “rule of 3.” All you need in your thank you note is the date, a personalized greeting (Dear Their Name), and three sentences. Sentence number one should thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Sentence number two should mention something you enjoyed about the interview. Sentence number three should restate your interest in the position- but not your qualifications.
Creativity should be encouraged when writing thank you notes. Use your talents such as a drawing, poem, or song. They make different types of thank you notes. There are so many that the indecision may make you not want to buy them. Do not worry to much about the cards you are buying. Think about how you will make the person feel when they receive them.
Parts Of A Thank You Note
Start With A Greeting. You can start with dear, or just their name. Maybe Dearest is more your style, or hey. Then express your gratitude. You can explain to them how you enjoyed seeing them, or how you appreciate a gift. Then Sign the letter. End the message with your name or nickname they may call you. Be repetitive if you like.
Who Can You Thank?
Here are some examples of people you can thank: Holiday thanks, farewell letters, donation thank you, dinner thanks, meeting thanks, and teacher thanks. Teachers, friends, family, co-workers, leaders, follows, neighbors
I loved the…
How did you know I wanted a…?
I appreciate the
I’m thankful for the
I want to express my gratitude for
I’m grateful for the
I really enjoy the
I so value the
I want to express my appreciation
I truly appreciate
I want to acknowledge your generosity
Short Phrases you can use in a Thank You Note
Thank you so much!
Thanks for helping me.
Thanks a bunch!
Thanks a million!
Thanks a ton.
Thanks for everything!
Thanks for taking the time to think of me.
I can’t thank you enough.
I don’t know what to say, except thank you!
I owe you one.
I will be forever grateful.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I am so thankful for you.
I was so pleased.
I am moved by your thoughts and actions!
I wanted to thank you as soon as I could!
I appreciate you.
Words are powerless to express my gratitude.
Words are not enough to express my thanks.
Please accept my best thanks!
Please accept my sincere thanks.
All my love and thanks to you.
You’re too kind!
You shouldn’t have.
What you did means so much to me, thank you!
I’m speechless, thank you!
View this post on Instagram