One of my post Christmas child hood memories is reluctantly sitting at the dining room table, pen in hand, writing paper or note cards set out in front of me, and my mum behind me willing me to write my Christmas thank you letters. Sometimes it seemed this ritual would drag on into February, either because we were very lucky and had lots of presents to say thank you for, or because it took us an age to string together the necessary sentences which make up a thank you letter. Both I suspect.
My mum was, and still is the kind of mum who thought saying thank you was very important. From an early age she drilled into us the importance of not just saying thank you’s, but after a birthday or Christmas writing thank you’s too. If someone can take the time to think about you and make the effort to buy you a gift, then you can make the effort to write and say thank you, was the philosophy I was brought up on. At the time, I’m not sure I fully appreciated this, however as a much older person who now both buys and receives presents I am in full agreement.
A love of stationery and pens and writing actually means that the act of composing thank you letters is something I now enjoy. It no longer feels like a tedious pursuit keeping me from doing other more fun and exciting things. I enjoy the ritual of sitting down with my address book, some cards and writing paper and penning a few short lines.
I also love receiving thank you cards. As I have become a real and honorary auntie to a large brood of nephews and nieces, the thank you letters I receive, have become special. From the scribble accompanying a photo or few lines written by Mum or Dad to the hand drawn pictures and sentences which get longer as the children get older I love them all.
In an age where email, FB messenger, Whatsapp and whatever other form of digital communication takes your fancy, the hand written word can take second place. Today ‘thank you’s’ can be said or sent, with accompanying happy face emoji the moment a gift has been received. All of these are good, but for me nothing beats the pleasure of a hand written thank you.