Sure, it’s much easier and faster to write a thank you note digitally. But did you know there are unexpected benefits in actually writing out a bread-and-butter note that outweigh the efficiency of technology? According to the NY Times, not only does scientific research show that gratitude leads to increased optimism, stress reduction and a better night’s sleep, it also solidifies our bonds with other and increases your chances of that kindness being shown towards us again. And hey, it’s not corny and old-fashioned either, even Jimmy Fallon writes out thank you cards on his show regularly and so do top fashion editors like Vogue’s Anna Wintour.
In our oversaturated age of technology, writing an email or text message just doesn’t cut it for saying a heartfelt thank you. Even if you use ALL CAPS, emoticons and lots of exclamation points, the personal touch of emotion conveyed on actual paper, with words scratched on it by hand, simply has more power in conveying the message that you truly appreciate what that person did for you. It’s material evidence that you are genuinely thankful for that present, that favor, that courtesy, that lasagna when you were sick with the flu. For the person who receives that note, the process of simply opening your card, feeling the paper, seeing your good-hearted chicken scratch, hearing your voice as they read it, can actually feel like you’re standing in front of them somehow.
But what if you already said your thanks to the person when you saw them? Is it over kill to send a thank you note? Southern Living’s Jennifer Beeler’s says we should never assume that a thank you, said in person, is enough. “If a person went to the trouble of hosting a party or purchasing a gift for you, you surely can take the time to write a note. Make sure to thank the host of a party in-person, but since your thanks may get lost in the excitement, a note is a great addition.” Beeler also advises against rambling on when writing your note and aiming to be concise. She also suggests using the tone you usually use with that person and not getting overly formal or exaggerating about how much you like the gift. (The monogrammed soap is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!” Instead of an elegantly simpler: “The monogrammed soap was very thoughtful and will be perfect for the powder room.”) Whether you choose embossed cars with matching envelopes or to go out and get a box of thank you notes from the stationary or office supply store, don’t feel you have to splurge on getting personalized monogramed stationary. But whatever you do, avoid notebook paper stuffed into any envelopes; it simply comes off as amateurish, and Emily Post would roll over in her grave.