“Did you write your thank notes?” is a Southerner’s good morning.
It’s like a mantra, ingrained in many a child’s psyche, from a very early age. Now, I say it to myself. Instead of OM, one wakes up and thinks: Did you write your thank you notes? If the answer is no, the writing of the note becomes the meditation. Although I was not born in the South, I have lived in the South Eastern region of the country for more than half of my life. Needless to say, being in the wedding industry, I have worked with many a Southern Bride! Every now and then, I still need to remind them of the importance of a hand-written note.
As a long-time proponent of thank you notes, I must admit I do not write thank you notes every day, but I do send them for dinner parties or a night out with a friend. When it comes to a marriage, we should perhaps amend the wedding vows to say: Do you promise to love, honor and write the thank you notes? You do. Do you need to write one to your husband for taking out the trash? You don’t.
But it would be nice.
There is nothing more delightful than an unexpected note of appreciation for a kind act. Hallmark doesn’t make a card for everything, so sometimes we must make a judgement call.
When I became an aunt, I wrote a note to my godmother for setting an example of how to be a good influence. I wrote a note to a high-school friend for saying something kind to me at our thirtieth reunion. When I had a tooth crowned, I wrote a note to my dentist (for alleviating my fear of dentists) the hygienist (for holding my hand when the dentist stuck my gums with a needle), and the receptionist (for politely calling me back to rebook my appointment every time I canceled). I wrote a note to my favorite local florist for nailing it every time with her original arrangements.
Just because I write a lot of notes, doesn’t mean I always write a note. If I can’t find something sincere to say about the thought behind an awful gift – I don’t bother. (Although, I have thanked people for bad art and terrible baked goods.). Mama didn’t raise me to fake it!
For example, I did not write a thank you note to a boyfriend that insisted we go dutch on our first date!
And I did not write a thank you note for a box of thank you cards. (That gift is another way to say you never say thank you. It’s passive-aggressive. It’s like a slap in the face!)
Not everyone needs to write thank you notes, though. The following get a pass, in my book: new moms, the bereaved, and women jilted at the altar. If you are sleep deprived, in mourning, or your bedazzled white dress cannot be returned, you do not need to write me a note for a onesie, or a casserole, or a chip and dip bowl. And while I’m at it, I’m pardoning teenage boys. Because my idea of repentance is being sentenced to reading nothing but one sentence fill-in-the-blank notes written by teenage boys.
But the rest of us should send our thank you notes. And no, it’s never too late!