I adore the word luxury. I strive to live a luxurious lifestyle. A luxurious lifestyle has nothing to do with material possessions, though I admit I do love to shop for myself and others. Why others? Because I luxuriate in making others happy. I truly do.
Today is National Thank You Note Day and I am reminded of the dozens upon dozens of thank you notes I have written over the years. Just as importantly, this day reminds me of the thank you notes I receive from others, especially notes from my grandchildren. The latest one arrived last week from my granddaughter, Skylar. When you give back you are living a luxurious life.
A LITTLE GIFT
I think back to an instance when of my close friends, Jane, gave of herself to make me happy. And of another friend, who no longer is near and dear to my heart, made a different choice. This important story has nothing to do with a handwritten thank you note but, nevertheless, it bears mentioning.
On every trip, my Ultimate Concierge and I carry home a memento — a little gift for our home that reminds me of our adventure.
On a trip to Africa, I missed the boat — I should have purchased a plain white ostrich egg. I had noticed hundreds of designed eggs in airports and shops. But it was not until I arrived home to my beautiful Chicago and reread James Mitchner’s book, The Covenant, did I realize the value of the ostrich egg!
“OMG,” I recall lamenting, “Why didn’t I buy an ostrich egg!” Without the egg there may not have been the country of South Africa. Why? Because the egg was used to store water; it was a person’s personal canteen.
I hungered for that egg! You have no idea how much I yearned for that egg as a lasting memory of our trip to South Africa.
WHEN GIVEN A CHOICE…
I asked a friend who was going to South Africa if I might impose upon her to bring me an egg. Her answer, “I can’t. It will be too large to carry home.”
And, then a year or two later I asked another close friend Jane. She replied that she would love to. And, she did and so did everyone traveling with her! Jane lives a luxurious life because she gave of herself to make me happy. And, I am. The ostrich egg sits on a stand in our den at a place of honor in our condo in the sky. Every day as I pass it, I smile. That, my dear reader, is why Jane lives a luxurious life.
And, that brings me to today…
NATIONAL THANK YOU NOTE DAY
There is nothing more meaningful than the expression of thought. Spoken and written. Words are the creator of language and one’s means of communicating feelings of love, friendship, apologies, hope, humor, and thanks.
The thank you note, a social means of expression, originated in the 1400s when Europeans exchanged greeting cards with friends and family. Even before, it is thought that the Chinese and Egyptians wrote messages on papyrus paper. The postage stamp paved the way into the mainstream for the thank you note.
I know the Internet has taken its toll on the effect that a handwritten thank you note waiting for you in your mailbox can have on you. We should not miss out on being filled with anticipation to open the envelope to read what is inside. This makes you undoubtedly happy. I am not old-fashioned in the least to say, “It is not luxurious to give thanks electronically.”
As a mother and a grandmother, take a moment out of this day and send each of your children and grandchildren a box of thank you notes. Notecards that match their personality and even special stamps you buy at your local post office or online. Personalize them further with lovely address labels like these.
MY FIRST LESSON IN GRATITUDE
The thank you note is a message showing gratitude. It is that important.
My mother taught me the importance of expressing my thanks. I taught my daughters, and my daughters taught their children. From generation to generation this lovely manner of self-expression showing appreciation and gratitude has been passed on. Mothers and grandmothers, It is never too late to start.
I have been expressing my feelings in notes since I was in the first grade, because of my mother. She bought me a little box of notecards and a pretty pencil set and gave me my first lesson — a lesson in gratitude. This is something you should do.
I don’t know why I recall the first card I wrote, maybe because I am a writer. But truly I can still see myself sitting with my mother writing the first note, a thank you for a birthday present. And, to this day, I continue to write handwritten thank you notes.
So dear reader of mine, take time away from your business on Thank You Note Day, to sit down and write a note. Write to each of your grandchildren or to someone you love to tell them how thankful you are they belong to you. I know it takes effort. Effort is a rewarding luxury; especially when you are showing thanks and speaking from your heart.
And, to Jane, who reads my stories: I am very fortunate, even at a distance, to know you are a part of my life. I am smiling.
And, to the Thank You Note: I am glad I have made you a part of my life. You have given me the opportunity to express my thanks, my love, my friendship, my joy, my humor, and so much more!
Also to you, my dear reader: For welcoming me into your life and for sharing your time with me — I give you my heartfelt thanks.
Do you write handwritten thank you notes? Let’s start a discussion in the comments. I love hearing from you!
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