Before you gasp in horror, I do write thank you notes. However, as I was jotting down over a dozen notes last night, I was reflecting on the reasons I do and do not write them.
I do NOT write thank you notes...
- to flatter the giver
"Oh my goodness! You are too sweet! There is no one as kind as you! How did you know to get the perfect gift? You're amazing!" -- so, nothing is wrong with these terms, but the reason I write thank-you notes is not to showcase some flattery.
- to put the giver's mind at ease that their gift was accepted
"I love, love, love, looooooooooove the gift you gave me!" Again, this could be true, but the main reason for writing thank-you notes shouldn't be so that the giver knows we accepted their gift or make them feel that what they did put them in good standing with us.
- to make the giver feel good about themselves
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the flattery. As I will put later, I like to write thank-you notes to encourage others, not just give them a pat on their back.
- because I have to
Yes, we sometimes get those gifts that make us force a smile (no, I didn't get any of those gifts this year). And those "I'm-not-gonna-say-it's-horrible" gifts need to be appreciated somehow. As I will expound on later, it's not always the gift I'm thankful for, but the giver and their thoughtfulness.
- so that I can earn "brownie points" with that person and hopefully get more gifts in the future
Never, ever let this be our motivation for writing thank-you notes! If it is, then perhaps you need to do a little heart-check.
I DO write thank you notes...
- because I truly appreciate the giver and the gift
Honestly, I don't deserve any gifts. So anything that I get is indeed above and beyond what I should get. Added to that, I've got some pretty amazing friends and family who have showered me with wonderfully thoughtful gifts. I can truthfully say that I do appreciate the gifts I've received this past season, and above that, I appreciate the relationship that these gifts signify with me and the giver.
- it gives me an opportunity to express my gratitude towards the person
I tend to write very untypical thank-you notes in that I use this time to tell the recipient how much I appreciate them and not just the gift they gave. After all, their gift is usually a reflection of their thoughtfulness.
- it gives me an opportunity to encourage the gift-giver
Let's face it: there is something encouraging about getting a thank-you note. No, we shouldn't give expecting gratitude, but some people do need a little encouragement. For example, my six-year-old sister was very excited that she found M&Ms for my Christmas gift because she knows it's my favorite candy. Giving her a little thank-you note encourages her to continue giving thoughtful gifts--like Paul said in Philippians 4, not so that I can benefit from it, but that she can get the blessing from giving ("Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account." Philippians 4:17). Often, we write thank you notes to "older people" who understand our gratitude. But why not the little ones who are just learning the blessings of giving? Let's use this time to encourage the heart of giving!
Have you written thank you notes this year yet?
What are some reasons you do not or do write them?
Here are some thank-you cards that I designed specifically for my need last night. And, since I designed them, why not make them available to others? Now at TruthPics on Etsy.
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