I did something retro this Christmas. I wrote Thank You notes.
Remember them? Old school, hand written things that your mother used to make you sit down and scrawl out to your great aunt for the gift you hated.
When my mother was no longer standing over my shoulder, I gave up this habit of formally expressing my gratitude. I would, of course, be sure to tell everyone ‘Thank you’ for their generosity and I would reciprocate the giving of gifts as per social norms. But I never put pen to paper again.
I have to tell you. It was an amazing feeling. To sit here and turn each gift and gift giver over in my mind. To ponder my relationship with them and put my thankfulness down on paper for them to read, and to have. To know. For keeps.
It’s contagious. And what comes out is just more gratitude.
The more notes I wrote, the deeper I went. The gifts I received this Christmas were thoughtful, mindful, lovingly chosen by people who cared for me. I was blessed over and over not only by their kindness, but their presence in my life. Their support thoughout the entire year. Their ability to share their strengths and talents. Their essence, their love.
At Christmas we have the opportunity to give tokens of our affection and admiration to those we care about. We share our blessings with those less fortunate. We reach out in peace to heal a world. But we are also given this most glorious Post-Christmas-Surprise-Bonus-Gift. Gratitude.
Do not wallow in post Christmas blues, or lament over-indulging in Christmas cookies. Don’t go forth into The New Year determined to wipe the slate clean and start fresh.
Sit down. Write a few thank you notes to a couple people who cared enough about you last week to shop, wrap, order, fight crowds at malls or post offices, bake or in some way shape or form — let you know that you matter in their world. That their Christmas celebration included your name on their list. Go ahead and give yourself this gift of gratitude.
And then — go have a Happy New Year!