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The Art of Gratitude & the Handwritten Note

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By Christina Maxwell

It’s officially November and we’ve already got turkey on the brain.  There is something undeniably heart-warming and grounding about Thanksgiving.  We travel miles by car, plane and train to gather with our loved ones around a table covered in warm food and steeped in family tradition.  Once the turkey is carved and the pumpkin pies are pulled from the oven, the hustle and bustle and endless preparation that seem to riddle the holiday season stop for a brief moment.  On that day, we aren’t asked to bring gifts to the table.  We simply celebrate all that we have already received.  What if that moment of thankfulness and fullness of heart wasn’t so brief?  What if we took the whole month of November as an opportunity to be intentional about practicing gratitude in our daily lives?

We all know the warm feeling of appreciation and satisfaction we get when someone thanks us.  But the impact of gratitude extends far beyond those warm fuzzies.  The University of California, Davis, has dedicated years to studying gratitude.  The findings?  Regularly practicing gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects on a person’s health–from lowered blood pressure to improved immune function, more efficient sleep and lower stress levels.  (Sign us up!)

Cultivating gratitude doesn’t have to be complicated or grandiose.  In fact, it can be as simple as a handwritten thank you note.  In an instantaneous time, the handwritten note is a lost art form.  We’re talking about sitting down, taking a few moments for deliberate reflection, putting put pen to paper, slapping on a stamp and dropping it in the mailbox.  Good, old fashioned snail mail.  There is something delightfully surprising and touching about receiving a tangible sign of appreciation that required time, thought and care.  Your handwritten note-writing skills a little rusty?  We’ve got some tips on how to write the perfect thank you note.

First, who to thank?  There is no wrong answer here.  But it’s definitely time to send a special thanks when the expectations of a relationship have been exceeded–when someone shows extra kindness, goes out of their way for you or helps you to do something you couldn’t have done without them.  And remember, one of the biggest gifts we can give is time.  Think about your high school English teacher who took extra time to help you learn and, in effect, sparked your love for reading.  Or what about the neighbor who has kindly looked after your kids on many a busy afternoon?

Pick up a nice pen and set of stationary that makes you excited to write (like this beautifully embossed set) or even a handful of quirky and memorable cards from your favorite book store.  Then, take time to reflect on what exactly you are thankful for.  The trick is to be sincere and specific.  And sometimes, your gratitude may warrant something beyond a card.  Maybe that nurse who took extra care and thoughtfulness with your loved one would really appreciate a Starbucks gift card.  Or maybe it’s time to send your mom a spontaneous massage gift certificate for all the headaches you may have contributed to during your rebellious years.  Not only will you make someone’s day with your unexpected gratitude, but you may just find yourself with a renewed perspective on all you have to be grateful for.

And that is something worth celebrating all month long.


rc-rcoin-lettersPS: Feeling really grateful?  Surprise your friend or loved one with a delicate pendant charm decorated with their initial from our Tiny Treasures Collection.

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