December 7th is official “National Letter Writing Day.” I have loved writing handwritten notes since I was a little girl. It is one of the gifts my paternal grandmother instilled in me as far back as I can remember. Whenever anyone would do anything nice for us, she would tell us that it was our responsibility to sit down at the dining room table and write them a thank you note. I also enjoy sending handwritten notes and cards to celebrate the special days for the people in my life. I embrace anytime I can pause and write a note to let people know they are in my thoughts and prayers. Even though it is easier and faster to just send someone an email or a text with various emojis, there’s no comparison to the handwritten note that arrives in the mailbox with a little encouragement enclosed.
Many years ago, I was part of a women’s bible study group and, besides studying specific subjects from the bible, we would also have interesting conversations on various topics. One week we went around the table and we talked about what we thought were each other’s gifts. When it came around to me, several of the women said they felt I had the gift of hospitality and encouragement. I remember thinking, and even expressing, “what kind of gifts are those?” I didn’t think they were special, and I really didn’t see them as gifts. What’s interesting is, the reason the women shared their sentiment was because just about every one of them had received cards and notes from me in the mail over the years. It would be years, and literally thousands of stamps, later that I would come to understand and appreciate how special those gifts really are and how my acts helped and encouraged my friends, family and strangers.
This year I had the opportunity to attend the Protocol School of Washington where we covered several topics including understanding stationery and the protocol of various forms of letter writing. There truly is an art to the handwritten note. Although letter writing tends to be associated more in a social context than business, it is part of both our personal and professional brands. The quality of the paper we use, the instruments we write with and even our penmanship are all a reflection of our personal brand. But at the end of the day, people aren’t going to care about all of that because what matters most is the fact that you took the time to sit down and send them a letter -- and this time, when they open the mailbox, more than just bills and “junk mail” will be there. A handwritten note is actually a present. It is a gift that can put a smile on someone’s face. This holiday season, why not give the gift of your handwritten sentiments? Maya Angelou said, “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”
I am often asked how I’m able to send someone a note at a moments notice. This is a part of why people see hospitality and encouragement as gifts, but this is a gift that I can share with everyone. If you always stay ready, you never have to get ready. I make it a point to always keep on hand nice stationery, various types of cards, good pens and a good supply of stamps. When you have the right ammunition stocked up, you can fire at will. Whenever my family and friends ask me what I would like for my birthday, Mother’s Day or Christmas, the answer is always the same. I love a nice cup of tea, a good bottle of wine, a nice smelling candle and a supply of beautiful cards and or stationery that I can use to send someone a note of love and encouragement.
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