In Praise Of... The Thank-you Note
I love writing thank you notes.
As a small child I was always given delectable stationery for birthdays and at Christmas, to no doubt encourage my thank-you note writing after each occasion.
My parents also had copious amounts of stationery at home, so there was never an excuse not to write a thank-you note. Not that I needed one. I wrote them all the time and still do. I simply delight in them.
I once read somewhere that “a personal, handwritten, thank-you note is the finest form of expressing gratitude”, so it always surprises me when I hear of people who don’t enjoy writing them or worse still, simply don’t write them at all.
I’m fortunate in that writing a thank-you note was never impressed upon me as a chore. Instead, I was told that much like shaking your opponents hand after a game of sport, writing a thank-you note is simply what you do in order to let people know just how much you appreciated their company or kind gift. And, as everyone in my household were such fervent letter writers, I never thought to question it.
What I was quick to realise however, was that writing thank-you notes made me feel so happy. And not just a bit happy… but ‘on top of the world’ type happy.
When did you last receive a thank-you note?
I’ve never felt sad or forlorn when writing a thank-you note. I believe it to be impossible! Instead, writing a thank you note never ceases to lift my mood, even when I don’t realise it needs lifting. I always feel grateful, thankful and blessed and I love putting those feelings to paper. One could say, for me, it was actually a very early form of gratitude diary, before I even knew that such things existed or indeed, what they were.
It seems that the rest of the world is starting to catch on that hand writing positive messages, such as what you are thankful for, is something that is good for both the giver and receiver.
Studies have since show that “gratitude intervention” or what Emily Post simply termed “good manners” has all kinds of benefits with gratitude being linked to optimism, stress reduction and even a better night’s sleep.
So one could argue that by taking the time to write a thank-you note, you are in fact giving yourself a gift at the same time.
Of course it does take effort to get the stationery, write a letter and then post the letter. That said, doesn’t anything that’s worthwhile take effort? However, the process does make you slow down, stop and take some time out. I believe that to be a blessing in itself.
My motto? When in doubt, write a thank-you note. It has never let me down.
Do you still write thank-you notes?
About the writer
Alexandra Blakemore is the CEO and founder of French Navy, a boutique stationery and etiquette company, catering to corporate, retail and private clients. She is also the co-founder of The Happiness at Work Program, a 30-day program devised to improve personal happiness and positively impact workplace productivity.
Alexandra is a sought-after commentator on etiquette, happiness and related lifestyle matters and has appeared across a range of national media.