Oct 27, 2015 · 2 minute read

By: Colleen Valles

I have a confession to make. I have this stack of thank you notes - I seem to buy them whenever I pass by them - but I don’t use them. They just remain in a stack.

I mean, I think I’ve sent maybe four thank you notes in the past year, and those were to the people on my interview panel for a job.

Why is that? We do get gifts; shouldn’t I be modeling proper etiquette for my child and sending thank you cards to the givers?

Well, yes. But failings at motherhood aside, I think my understanding of thank you cards and the purpose they can serve in this life has been somewhat limited. It’s time to start thinking of thank you cards in a whole new light.

It’s time to start thinking of thank you cards as notes to send not for the special occasion gifts we get a couple times a year, but for gifts we get everyday. The gifts that maybe we let slip by without acknowledging or being thankful for. Gifts that come when our children laugh; when our parents pick up the kids from school so we can work; when a friend calls from overseas because she knows you need to hear her voice; when our siblings give us the straight, honest truth as no one else can (sometimes hard to see as a gift); when our partners tell us they love us.

Every day, I get so many gifts. We all do. We just need to see them for what they are - presents of time and friendship that come wrapped in love.

We can get so wrapped up in the day-to-day busy-ness of life and the stress of all we have to do that it can be easy to forget that we have much to be thankful for. But we should make the small effort to remember, because as study after study has shown, gratitude is a key driver of happiness. It’s so easy to think of one or two things each day to be thankful for that we should all really be boosting our happiness on the regular.

So I’ve got a new use for all those thank you cards: Starting November 1, I’m going to celebrate 30 Days of Thanksgiving by sending a handwritten thank you note to someone who has done something to make my life better, whether that person knows it or not. This is kind of a riff on the Facebook thank you lists people do each year during the month of November, but a handwritten note is more personal, and who doesn’t like getting mail?

Everyone deserves a little appreciation, and I think this is a good way to remind myself that I have a lot to be grateful for.

The cards probably won’t be elaborate, or even eloquent, but they’ll be heartfelt. Join me in recognizing the many, many things we have to be thankful for every day. Add a little beauty to the world. Send a thank you note to someone who has touched your life and tell them how much they mean to you.


Colleen Valles
I'm Colleen, a writer, mother, knitter, pet mama and tiny house enthusiast who truly believes that everybody should slow down and simplify to make room for the things that are most important in their lives. I'm on a journey to do just that, to be able to spend more time with family and friends, riding my bike and working in the garden. Sign up to get awesome content right in your inbox, or follow me on social media.