Spank You Very Much

Spank You Very Much

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(These are some cards I made in the past! The “You Are a Gem” is a free download here!)

I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately. Gratitude, obviously, comes in lots of different forms. But I want to talk about one SPECIFIC form right this minute, and that is: the snail mail THANK YOU card.

I used to be SO GOOD at sending thank you notes. It’s something I was raised to believe is doctrine. YOU SEND A THANK YOU NOTE. My mom and my sister BOTH send thank you notes PROMPTLY after I do anything for them or send them the smallest gift! But as my family, business, and thanks that are due have grown, my sanity, time, and will power have not. And I’ve been seriously slacking in the “thank you” card department.

And this is how it started:

Three years ago I heard a woman speak at a conference. She was talking about happiness and how your time is limited. She was saying that you shouldn’t waste your time doing things you THINK you have to do. As an example she mentioned that she did not require her children to write thank you notes. When she said this I was sincerely APPALLED. Haha, as if she had just confessed she bought crack for her kids.

But the rest of her message was so uplifting and convincing, that I understood what she meant. She said that she encouraged her children to be grateful and say “thank you” for gifts, but her time and their time was limited. She explained that she didn’t feel like the practice of writing out a letter for them, or forcing them to write one, was ultimately making them a better person and/or worth the time. I think her stance was that a thank you letter was more about seeming grateful than actually being thankful.

It’s funny because I’m not sure I really agree with that stance, and yet, after I heard it I started kind of letting myself off the hook about missing some thank you letters here and there. I try to always SAY thank you, or send a text or email. But the signed, sealed, and delivered letters have gotten fewer and father between.

And sometimes, I intend on sending a thank you card, so I don’t do a text or email, and then I forget the card, and then I’m just an ungrateful jerk! Even though I had the best intentions.

And I have noticed, that when I receive a thank you letter, I’m always honered and pleased, but that I read it quickly, say, “that was nice” and then toss it. GASP. I hate admitting that. ha. But you know what I mean right? The real joy is in GIVING the gift. So does a “thank you” text or email do the job?

I think part of the reason you send a “thank you” is to let the other person know the gift was received right? And a text or email accomplish that.

So, with all this said, after Gigi’s birthday last year, I didn’t send out thank you notes for her gifts. And I haven’t written “thank yous” for quite few gifts I’ve been given. And you know what, I FEEL HORRIBLE ABOUT IT. HAHA.

So, for me, personally, I’ve decided is SCREW IT. I want to be the type of person who sends thank you notes again. It doesn’t take THAT much time, and if I can afford my diet soda addiction I can afford stamps right?

So I’d like to formally apologize for any gift you have given me and not been adequately thanked for, and also say, THANK YOU!

But I’m SUPER interested, sincerely, on hearing your thoughts about this? Do you send thank you notes? Do you care if you receive them? Are you pissed at me I didn’t send you one?!

For me it comes down to what writing a thank you note does TO ME. It forces me to take time out to be grateful, and acknowledge a good thing that has happened in my life. And I think I need more of that. But I’m not trying to say that you do. I just really want to know what you think!

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In other news I got this stamp from Pick Your Plum that I got to customize. I think it was intended for initials, but I made it say, “YOU ARE DA BOMB” cause that’s what I could spell with two alphabets and the limited space. I’ve been stamping it on EVERYTHING and loving it.

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And these are my pony cards I talked about in How to be Awesome Part 1! I FOUND THEM! Ha! But really, they should read, “The pony THAT daddy never got you.” Because people were always asking, “Who’s the pony-daddy?” Bah.

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Oh and that’s Gigi in my office. I love how wild her hair is. Also I’m afraid of trying to tame it so, I’ve learned to love it.

Ok! Thoughts on thank yous?! Let’s hear it!

xo
Alison

25 Comments

  1. Dannielle 7 months ago

    I’m trying to be better about sending them, but often I just forget until it feels like the moment has passed. Maybe I’ll make it a goal for the rest of the year. I got some personalised cards made up at the end of last year, I’ve just not got around to sending any. haha. Thanks for the reminder x

  2. Dayle Bennett 7 months ago

    I am a huge fan of thank you notes. I am obsessed with stationery. I worked for Hallmark for 5 years. Everyone sends cards for any occasion but thank you notes are really from the heart. Simple and sweet. I am loving your stamp! That’s a good example of “from the heart”.

  3. Natalie 7 months ago

    I am a big believer in the snail mail thank you card, but admittedly get very overwhelmed and often times get them out late. And I mean LATE, as in, I’m sending out cards for baby gifts this week, and my baby is 9 months old. Having a year grace period on wedding thank yous was like the greatest thing ever (I sent them a week before our anniversary). So in conclusion, I guess I am also a better late than never person. I’m sure my lateness is as offensive as not sending one at all…sorry to Emily Post on that one.

  4. Mame 7 months ago

    Ok, so, weddings!! I had an entire list of who sent me what but I am not very organized and I lost the list once (or twice) and I swear I wrote my Auny Mimi twice?! I never finished all the thank you’s. I feel bad about it to this day. But the best gift anyone gave me?! One bridal shower let me off the hook! They said up-front “no thank-you cards needed”. How brilliant! Here is the thing, at a party where you open the gift with that person present it seems presumptuous to expect a card, no? I mean you were right there! She probably squealed and said thank you to your face!
    So here is my rule of thumb. 1) do your best to write thank/you notes. 2) never expect a thank you card. If that is why you are giving a gift that seems weird. Let part of the giving be accepting the person as he/she/they are. (In my case disorganized but not ungrateful!) 3) if a person is there, says thank-you, let them off the hook!! (Delivering dinner to a new mom, a friwnd’s bridal shower etc) and finally, if you only write thank you notes out of obligation, then it’s time to take a break. And start writing them again when you feel so moved :)

  5. nemiha 7 months ago

    In my book snail mail Thank yous are a must. I admit that I have missed a few but we always send thank you notes. With certain people like my grandparents we call on top of sending cards because it was how I was raised. My husbands aunt once sent us a thank you catd for the thank yoy I sent her becaise she was so shocked. I am also somewhat of a card hoarder. That must jave been genetic. ;)

  6. Emily 7 months ago

    So yes, I came from the same doctrinated school of YOU SEND THANK YOU NOTES. I love a handwritten snail mail note on a pretty card like I love my children (ok maybe not that much but it depends in the day…?) Anyway, it is my opinion that a note like that is never too late and never unappreciated. It makes the receiver feel like you value them enough to buy cute cards, write a note on one, and drop it in the mail. I do the same as you- read it and then trash it, unless I’m dying over the stationary and then I keep it and it floats around my kitchen for a few weeks before I trash it. But think about it, when you read a note written to you, it puts a pep in your step and a twinkle in your eye. You feel good about your service, and that makes you happy. Win win! I also force my kids to paint watercolors and, if they are able, write a thank you note on the back. Because YOU SEND THANK YOU NOTES. It reminds them that those Christmas gifts came from somewhere and they’re not so entitled and spoiled by their grandparents- I hope. So now I say to you and all others: write those heart felt notes, send them with love, and be grateful.

  7. jan 7 months ago

    I LOVE this! I think sadly writing Thank You’s has almost become a thing of the past. Thanks for the reminder that sometimes it’s the little simple things that can really mean so much.

  8. Kelly Smith 7 months ago

    So, I use to be really good about Thank You notes too. But then my daughter was in the hospital for 72 days and too many people were too kind to us. By the time we got back home from NYC (4 months after a mad dash to the ER with nothing by a diaper bag), I was completely overwhelmed with life. Not to mention we had just moved into our house a week before Matilda was born. So there were boxes everywhere. My point is, I can’t let go of this imaginary stack of unwritten thank you notes. And when we get something in the mail, and I think about a thank you note two things come to mind. Should I write a thank you note about all the hospital niceness first or include it in the current thank you, and then I think about all the people that were so kind and all the notes I should one day, sit down and write. And a big ball of emotion runs me over. And I do nothing. I have tried to brake this cycle. But it stops me in my tracks every time.

    Long story short. I agree with you. People send gifts and do nice things to be kind. Not to get credit. Or at least that is how it should be. And if a silly thank you note, is causing unrest … then forget it. That is not what people intended when they decided to be nice. Or at least this is what I tell myself.

  9. Danielle 7 months ago

    Oh boy. I love thank you cards and it’s always nice to get them, but I am so forgetful about sending them. Especially with baby gifts. I feel like that should just be a universally accepted rule. Mothers with new babies should be off the hook! In fact, when I give a baby gift I usually try to mention something like, “Don’t spend any of your baby snuggling time writing a thank you note!” But I have gotten a few really sweet gifts that I forgot to write a thank you note for and I still feel bad too.

  10. Shalynna 7 months ago

    I think it’s sad that many people don’t write thank you cards anymore. I know it gets overwhelming and I definitely don’t write them out enough, but for wedding, baby showers, birthday party gifts I totally make it a priority. I will admit that if I put a lot of time and effort into a gift or type of service I take it personally if I don’t get thanked- and a text is fine with me! But I do love what Mame’s above comment points out. Oh and I don’t write them for family members (text or email, yes) or for smaller things like a plate of cookies (again, I’ll text).

    The pony-daddy comment made me laugh! I’ve read your blog forever so I remember those! :)

  11. Heatherlee 7 months ago

    Thank you phone calls are big with my family. It was never stressed that you write a thank you card. I was just thinking about sending out thank you cards because I am feeling so GRATEFUL lately. I just want to say thank you to everyone!! My best friend is so good at sending thank you notes! Of course, I know a huge part of it has to do with how she was raised. The old fashioned girl in me always wrote letters to people. But then come kids….ugh, forget about it! But now that they are past the toddle stage I think I can afford the ten minutes (if?!) it takes to write thank you and put it in the mailbox. Thank you for the extra push, Alison!

  12. Marilyn Faulkner 7 months ago

    I got this great idea from someone to use thank you notes as bookmarks. I’ve been doing it for awhile now and so now and then when I pick up a book, there will be a wonderful note from someone dear to me inside, and it makes my day to reread it. I only save the notes that come from the heart, however, so those generic thank-yous don’t make the cut. But a couple of my faves are from you dear daughter, so even though you may think you are slacking, you DO write lovely notes that mean a lot to your Mom!

  13. Cori Larsen 7 months ago

    I’m a big believer in the power of a thank you note. When someone takes their time to mail you a package, give you a gift or help you with a project – take a little of your time & put together some sort of thank you. It will brighten their day (even if they do just throw it in the trash after reading it – I’m okay with that). I’m kind of appalled by your story of the woman who didn’t do thank you cards with her kids – why not use such an easy tool to teach your kids gratitude? Honestly, I think that was her guilt speaking more than anything – trying to justify why they hadn’t sent thank you cards (I mean come on, as if you really can’t take 5 minutes to write a card?). I grew up in a family were thank you cards were considered just good manners. Everyone is busy, but the bottom line is we all make time for what matters – & one of those things for me is showing my gratitude.

  14. Amy 7 months ago

    My dear Momma forced, no, taught, me to send thank you notes. I hated it when I was younger, what the heck should I say in this giant blank notecard?! As an adult, I enjoy sending them. Maybe it’s because I like picking out cute stationary. Maybe it’s because I like using stamps and dropping off a stack of mail. Whatever the reason, I WANT to write them. If that changes, I guess I will stop writing them.

  15. Amy | Club Narwhal 7 months ago

    Alison, I am so with you–I used to be crazy about sending thank you snail mail but life, you know, like gets in the way and I’ve resorted to texts/emails. But I also am totally over the moon when I get those sweet hand written cards from people and always appreciate the time and effort that goes into them. On a completely different note, I am a total card hoarder. Which probably means I need to really work on sending some snail mail more often :)

  16. Emily Boyle 7 months ago

    I am always so astonished and touched when I receive a thank you card and it always always puts a smile on my face. However, once I’ve let the thank you kick around on my kitchen counter for a few days, it ends up in the trash. Which feels like I’m ungrateful for the not of gratitude. What?!

    In the instance of giving them, I only do it for formal occasions – bridal shower, wedding, baby shower, etc. Instead of sending a card, I like calling the person who sent whatever magic arrived in the mail. This let’s them know a) I got it b) I’m grateful and c) they get the added pleasure of hearing what’s new in my life since clearly I was on their mind and they want to know all about it. Haha!

    End of story, as long as the giver and the receiver have acknowledged gratitude in one way or another, word up. That’s awesome. :)

  17. Leiann 7 months ago

    I love a good thank you note and I think they are important to write, depending on the situation. In my family we don’t exchange thank you notes for birthday’s or Christmas because I guess I don’t know…but for weddings, showers, etc. cards are always sent.
    In my circle of girlfriends there are a couple of us that send thank-you’s because that’s our style. And while there are a few that don’t send them, I may or may not send one to them, depending on the circumstance.
    I think the people that enjoy sending cards are the people who enjoy receiving them. If you know someone who doesn’t send them and know they don’t care, then don’t send one if it’s not going to be appreciated. Me myself, I appreciate it when someone takes the time to write a thank you and it’s always nice to get something personal in the mailbox that sits outside your house, not the one on your computer or phone. Plus, you get to criticize or admire their handwriting! :)
    Also, this is just a random thing, but I don’t like or believe in the “you have one year after your wedding” deal to send a thank you. I was at a wedding last May and just got the thank you in February. By that time you’ve figured they weren’t going to send one anyway, so what’s the point?!?

  18. Danielle Warren 7 months ago

    I was never taught to do “thank you” cards. My mom got mad at me when she learned that I didn’t anything out to anybody for high school graduation stuff lol; but how was i suppose to know?! Once I got married though, thank you notes were a must because that’s what my mother-in-law taught my husband {even though i haven’t seen him write out one in the last 4 years! I pretty much do it for the both of us now lol}
    If we are with the people who gave us the gift, we thank them right then & there, or call them on the phone lol. For family/friends that we don’t talk to very often gift us gifts, then I for sure do thank you cards.
    I don’t really care that much if I get thank you cards, as long as I know the person got the gift.

  19. Sarah 7 months ago

    This is such an interesting discussion to me. I used to be a huge letter writer/sender of random cards, but that has fallen by the wayside. But I really like doing it and I love to brighten people’s day with a card out of the blue, so just this past month I’ve tried to take a few minutes each Sunday evening to write a few cards–sometimes thank you cards and sometimes “thinking of you” cards. And I love doing this. I want to help keep snail mail alive because it brightens a person’s day in a way that an e-mail never could, although those are of course lovely too. I actually recall a Relief Society lesson given by the one and only Alison, wherein you talked about sending cards to people and let us all choose one out of your stash! (That was a good lesson; thanks!)

    I really appreciate genuine thank you cards from people, but I have to confess that I actually DISLIKE thank you cards for wedding or shower gifts because most of the time they just feel so perfunctory. I feel like they are generally written out of obligation. They contain the same platitudes and are often impersonal because come on, how exciting can you get if you are writing a million cards one after another? So if I were going to cut out any thank yous on the RECEIVING end, it would be those cards written for the formal/traditional occasions.

    Another thing. I have a friend who made a HUGE DEAL on her blog about writing all of her thank you cards for her baby gifts. She mentioned it all along the way and then talked about how happy she was when she got all of them finished. I get it, in many ways. For her, it was a big accomplishment and took a long time and she felt awesome! And she WAS awesome for writing them. Except you know what? She didn’t send me one. I don’t know how I slipped through the list because I’m 100 percent positive that it was an accident. I really didn’t care about her sending a thank you card and I would never have noticed except that she made such a big deal about it! So then I did care a little bit. Do you see where I’m going with this? If people send them, they should just do it quietly and not with a lot of fanfare.

    One more thing. My husband was raised to be hard core about sending thank you notes. So he is in his heart, but for some reason these days it translates more into talking about how we should send them and really need to make the kids send them without actually sending them. I’m sorry, but I’ve had to give myself permission to not beat myself up over not making the kids send cards all the time. I think it would be wonderful to send them and doubly wonderful if my husband sat down and made them with the kids (which he does, occasionally), but I can’t lose sleep over it, especially if it is for someone else’s agenda. Hopefully I will get better about finding the time to do these things and raise grateful kids who are good at expressing their gratitude. For now I’ll settle for winning where I can and not worrying about the rest.

  20. Sarah 7 months ago

    P.S. I love the bookmark idea. Brilliant!

  21. Mame 7 months ago

    Ahh!! I will post about this on insta as well, but you MUST DOWLOAD THE Red Stamp app. You can make little cards to either text people for free or snail mail peep for a little fee. It is AMAZING and easy!

  22. Jenni fitz 7 months ago

    My thought is if someone took the time and money to get you a gift you can take the time and money to send a thank you! The love goes around and comes around!

  23. Claire White 7 months ago

    My mother is a thank you card lady and raised me to be one. And then I got married and had to write a bazillion thank yous to lots of people I didn’t know very well. I didn’t enjoy the process and they were getting pretty redundant so I put aside all the cards I really wanted to focus on writing sincere letters to. They were written, placed somewhere “safe”, forgotten, and found 2 years later when we moved out of our first apartment. I was horrified and soo embarrassed that I tossed them all. I know. And I’m still haunted by it. I really regret not sending them anyway. I’m calling this my public apology. Thanks for the plateform ;)

  24. josie 7 months ago

    not to be all churchy or whatever, but if i feeeeeel that i really should send a note to someone, i’ll send it. otherwise, i think that behavior and actions tend to be on the grateful side i.e. thank you texts, emails, facebook messages, etc. maybe it’s a cultural thing where tongans are just taught to try and be humble and grateful and to give whatever you have…? i LOVE stationery and i tend to hoard it and keep it for myself because it is so cute and then if i have ridiculously cute stationery i am very selective on who i give it to because i love it so much. does that even make sense? basically, i’ll send you a thank you card if i think you are deserving of a super cute, amazing looking stationery set………i should just shut up now cause im on prescribed painkillers and watching scandal at the same time.

  25. Anastasia Ovi 5 months ago

    Hello! I’m going to leave a kind of a common comment to everything you’ve been posting on the site. Actually I’ve just discovered your blog and you know, I’ve been struck here for 3 hours and gonna stay here for even more. Dear, you’re awesome! I admire your love to your husband and children, your constant creativity that I’m really into. I’m a creative person as well that’s why inspiration is what I always need and I found it in your page. You’re AWESOME babe. You reminded me about the idea I’ve had recently – making ‘thank you’ cards for my new Desqe print shop (http://desqe.bigcartel.com/ if interested). If I could give it to you like a gift (this form of gratitude is the best one as you said in your videos and articles) I’d be really happy. We can even have some kind of collaboration if you’d like to. Contact me on the email anastasia_ovi@mail.ru and remember that I admire you alot. Thank you for everything xxx

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