When I see a hand written letter in my mail box I'm overcome with a sense of shock and happiness. Shock that my mailbox does receive things other than bills, and happiness that someone took the time to think of me. The art of the postage stamp, the feel of the paper, the graphic quirks of a friend’s handwriting: There is simply nothing as personal as a handwritten note. In a stack of bills and flyers, it’s a treasure in a sealed packet, full of promise and potential. It is a visceral reminder that someone thought of you.
I've had countless encounters where people mentioned how surprised they were that I sent them a thank you card and how much it meant to them. Good manners are about more than fulfilling bare-minimum social obligations. They are an opportunity for us to connect to the people in our lives in a meaninful way. Everything digital comes off as careless and dull, continuing to put pen to paper is a way to distinguish yourself. The handwritten thank-you note speaks volumes, it sends the message that you care enough to invest yourself personally in acknowledging another.
Would I ever send a digital thank-you for a gift I was given? No way. It just isn’t enough—not personal enough, not weighty enough. You can’t hold digital thanks in your hands the way you can hold a note. When was the last time you printed out an e-card? Right. Email is read and deleted. A mailed note is seen again and again on a desk or counter. Would you rather your thanks be remembered or deleted?
I found that there are two common reasons people don’t write thank you notes. The biggest excuse is not having the supplies at hand. Note cards or stationary that reflect your personality, a roll of stamps, pens and an address book—one trip to the store and you’re all set. There are so many stores out there that carry thank you cards that this no longer is a valid excuse.
Another excuse that comes up is lack of time. Let's get this straight, a handwritten thanks is often as short as three sentences, just like an email or text message. You send emails and texts everyday but a the thank you note is special; it expresses your appreciation. Does it take longer to address and stamp an envelope than to click “Send”? Yes, but only by a minute.
Handwritten notes still have a personality, warmth and, when needed, gravitas that computer screens don’t. And questions of appropriateness aside, people still enjoy opening them. More than anything, that tells me they have lasting value. Stand out and be remembered, send someone a thank you note! Check out some of my favorite stationary shops below!