From a thank-you-note-hater to a thank-you-note-stan

Opinion by MiaButler

I have always disliked clipboards—an odd thing to hate— but I can explain. 

When I was younger, I loved my birthday parties. They allowed me to thrive in attention (not to be narcissistic), there was cake…I love cake, and the best thing of all: gifts! However, the gifts turned out to be my emotional downfall. The second I began to open them, my mom began to take notes. I couldn’t focus on the Rainbowloom or RipStik I was opening, because I knew what my mom’s clipboard meant. 

The clipboard contained every person’s name and the gift they gave. That way, I could return home and bore myself in an organized manner by writing thank-you-notes. “Ellie — gift card, Ava — volleyball, Delaney — bracelet kit.” The list went on and on. My dread went on and on. 

I never really understood why I had to write thank you notes. Had I not just thanked them verbally at my party? The whole “reinforced gratitude” thing never clicked in my head…until I got thanked for a thank-you-note. Ironic, huh? My grandma texted me one year, thanking me for the “genuine note.” She said I was “so thoughtful,” and that she really appreciated knowing her gift meant something to me. 

This is when I realized, there is value to thank you notes. It took me, a thank-you-note-hater, one thank-you-note to change my entire perspective. 

I could tell that my grandma’s gratitude was genuine, and I wanted my future, written gratitude to give the same feeling. I mean up until that moment, the thank-you-notes I received always followed the same basic format of “Dear Mia, thank you for the ____. I loved the ____. Thanks, ___.” No offense, but I was bored reading them because they lacked meaning and authenticity. I knew that, like me, the thank-you-note-sender, was forced to write them; I understood, but yet, I decided to be more like my grandma. 

Ever since this decision, my thank-you-note game has totally changed. It jumped from three sentences to an easy nine. Now, even my uncle reaches out, telling me he loves my cards. Receiving recognition for my own gratefulness was never my intention, but it kept serving as motivation. I wanted to write thank you notes now. 

Flash forward to quarantine and I’m bored out of my mind…so what do I do? I get out my cards and a pen and just begin to write thank-you-notes to my friends, simply for our friendship. 

I slowly but surely learned to appreciate thank you notes. I have started to keep each one sent to me. Now, I enjoy, rather than dread, the end of my birthday and Christmas, and at one point, I even ordered monogrammed thank- you-notes (the old me would’ve never seen that one coming). 

To me, a thank-you-note is a priceless gesture that, A: is timeless, and B: speaks volumes, especially in comparison to just a simple text. 

People say the art of handwritten notes is dead, and I couldn’t disagree more. A little lost? Sure. But dead? No. 

If you want to stay ahead of the trends, start writing thank-you-notes now! Your grandparents will thank you, your uncle might too, and hey, if you send me one, I might even send you one back. That’s just how much I value thank-you-notes. 

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