This is probably a very appropriate topic to start this year’s series. Since we have just finished the gift-giving frenzy of the holidays, it is an opportune time to discuss gratitude.
The art of saying thank you seems to have disappeared. Try to practice it as you go about your daily tasks. You may be surprised that you may not hear it as often as you expect. How many gifts received this holiday season have you formally given thanks for?
We all grew up with the customary thank-you cards, notes we send to express our thanks to those who have given us gifts or have done nice things for us.
It is always a pleasure to receive a handwritten thank-you note. Yet in this modern age, there are many other ways to say thank you besides the usual notes or cards.
A simple phone call may suffice. This will serve a great way for you to keep in touch with a friend or relative who has taken the time to send you a gift for the holidays.
A text message will work as well. A simple expression of greetings for the new year and giving thanks to the addressee’s thoughtful Christmas present would surely be appreciated.
In this day of social networking, even a Facebook message works.
In short, there are many ways to say thank you.
Notes, texts, phone calls of thanks will be well-taken by the gift-givers. Most of the time a giver just wants to be assured that you have in fact received her gift. So expressing thanks is really the only polite thing to do.
This is also a practice I wish most parents would teach their children. Maybe this can serve as a gentle nudge for your children to write, text or call their godparents and others who have given them gifts.
Again, this is simply going beyond being polite: It also instills the value of gratitude.
People overlook saying thank you not because they are impolite, but maybe because they are simply rushing.
But remember, whenever you overlook something and take the extra time to make up for it, such as saying thank you, it would reflect a lot about who you are to the other person.
For instance, signing your name. It’s a basic thing, yet a friend who recently got married could not send out thank-you cards because she had received several gifts that were unsigned.
It happens, of course. So don’t forget to sign your thank-you cards as well.
And say thank you for the right gift. This is funny, but this has happened to me. Someone sent me a text thanking me allegedly for the cake I sent for Christmas—and I had sent her a bottle of wine!
So remember, what you do will always reflect who you are as a person.
Going beyond gifts, the art of thank you can be integrated into your everyday life.
Start a gratitude journal. Make a habit of being thankful for the normal and mundane things that happen in your life during the day.
Keep a special notebook and make a habit of jotting down all the things that happen in your day that you should be thankful for.
Bring the art of saying thank you back into practice. Not only is saying thank you the polite thing to do, it will also make your life a little lighter and happier.