Thank you, handwritten thank you notes

A few months after my grandmother died my sister and I discovered a stash of Christmas present thank you notes addressed to her from years ago. They were stamped and unsent, languishing on my mom’s sweater shelf.

We were furious. Not because my grandmother would never see them, but because our mother had always drilled into us the importance of thank you cards (I mean we would’ve written a thank you note to the stranger in the van for giving us candy.) And here she was – a hypocrite.

To this day (literally, I just texted her about it), I heckle my mom for her forgetful faux pas. That being said, she still makes us write, and send, thank you cards and she has raised a thank-you card tyrant in the form of a 21-year-old college senior.

I’m constantly shocked by how little value my peers place on handwritten, sent-through-the-mail thank you cards. Instead of stopping by Student Stores and picking up a pack of blank cards, most of my friends opt to send an email. An email! I’m rolling my eyes just typing this.

Here’s a song I made up about thank-you notes (if it sounds familiar it’s because Taylor Swift copied me):

You got that long words
Slicked back, white envelope
And I got that good girl manners and that tight cursive
And when email comes crashing in,
We come back in every time
Cause we never go out of style.
Send me off
(You got the idea, you got the idea)

People argue that with technology we can communicate our thanks more easily. But when it comes to showing appreciation, snail mail wins out.

Thank you cards aren’t formal, stuffy or outdated, they are intimate, meaningful and necessary. They express a more personal gratitude and more concerted effort than a paragraph email. Because saying thanks should take an effort. It should take more than a quick email or text.

It’s hard for me to articulate what it is about handwritten thank you notes that make them so superior, but they mean something to me. An email is nice but it’s not meaningful, it doesn’t make me feel appreciated – and that’s what thank you’s are all about.

Garney, if you’re reading this from Heaven (I don’t blame you if you aren’t, I bet it’s fun as hell up there), thanks for the fuzzy socks.


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