Presents unwrapped, meals enjoyed, miles traveled and memories made…this holiday season is almost one for the record books. But does that mean we should just move on and start looking ahead to the new year?
While the holidays are almost behind us, there is one way that we can ensure they end on a positive note…
“How?” you ask.
Simple: by expressing gratitude.
And I’m not just talking about a phone call or an email – and I’m certainly not referring to that quick but seemingly heartfelt “thank you” uttered immediately opening a gift.
No, I’m referring to an old-fashioned, hand-written thank you note.
Why is it that in this day and age of social media and microwaves that we don’t have time to send a simple note of gratitude?
Of course, before our children can express gratitude to others, they first must understand what it means to be grateful. If they are taking time on a daily basis to practice gratitude, it won’t seem uncommon for them to do so on any given day of the year, especially holidays.
Writing thank you notes will:
1. Bless the recipient
I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t light up when they receive a handwritten note. Whether it’s something simple presented from student to teacher or a formal letter sent in the mail, few things communicate you care more than taking the time to write your thoughts down on paper and sharing them with another human being.
2. Bless the writer
You’ve heard “it’s more blessed to give than to receive” – the same holds true for writing a thank you note. Simply by taking the time to write a note, you’re taking time to get outside of yourself and focus on others. But beyond the respite hand-writing a note provides, it also allows the writer to realize how blessed they are.
3. Bless your family as a whole
When you cultivate a culture of gratitude through writing thank you notes, everyone benefits! It’s especially fun to see how this effect builds on itself over time as you continue the practice.
Resources like Share a Blessing include 24 postcards that girls can send to friends. While a thank you note can come from a very humble beginning, sometimes it’s helpful to have a prompt, embellishment or even a special piece of paper to get your thoughts and creativity flowing.
In my book, Raising Uncommon Kids, I suggest practicing gratitude with those your kids come in contact with everyday, like extended family members, school friends and even church leaders. By helping your kids to find and express gratitude in their everyday lives, it also makes them better prepared to handle any disappointment that may come their way.
So before you get ready to ring in the New Year, don’t just say it, write it. Go ahead: pull out your pens and paper and start a practice of pouring your gratitude into a note for others…I guarantee you’ll find it’s time well spent even as the minutes of 2015 are dwindling!