The Surprise Blessings of Thank-You Notes

When you have to write one, you may be stumped. But then you’ll discover that expressing gratitude is infectious.

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Writing a thank you note

Did your mother make you write thank-you notes too? Did you labor over them, scratching your head, wondering what in the world you were going to say? Do you still wonder about how to write a thank-you note?

Seems like I should be writing this after Christmas. That’s when the thank-you note ordeal took place in our house. We couldn’t get out of the house to play with our new toys until we wrote at least one thank-you note to Aunt Mary May and Uncle Alex or Auntie Eleanor or someone else who wasn’t there when we opened that present up under the tree.

That was the rule: You had to write a thank-you note to the people you couldn’t thank in person. Even if you didn’t like the present. Even if the shirt you got was the wrong color (and shirts are so boring anyway) or the book was one you never wanted to read.

You had to show that you were grateful. Somehow.

All these years later, I can say I’m grateful for The Ordeal of the Thank-You Notes or maybe I should call it The Lesson of the Thank-You Notes. Because learning how to be grateful and how to express it is one of the best lessons of life. (Thanks, Mom.)

Every week I have to write at least one thank-you note if not more. And often when I do it I think, “I’m not sure what I’ll say.”

But thankfulness is infectious, like a cold or the flu. You put some of it down on paper, and you start discovering more of it all over. It might feel stiff and artificial to write it out at first. But not for long.

Christmas might be a ways off but Thanksgiving is around the corner, a day when we put gratitude on the calendar, a celebration of thankfulness for all that we have and all that we are. It’s the ultimate Thank-You Note Experience.

“In everything give thanks,” wrote Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians. In everything. And nothing beats writing it down and sharing your gratitude because that’s just like sharing it with God.

For that, I give thanks. 

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