What One Does


My son wants to know why the verbal thank-yous he gave while visiting family over the holidays aren’t enough.  And then he wants to know why he can’t just email.  I tell him it’s good manners to send a handwritten thank-you note.  He doesn’t like my answer.  But I insist he and his sister write them anyway.  Because that’s just what one does.  When someone cares enough to give a gift, I think the recipient can care enough in return to send a little note the giver’s way.

I know it’s a dwindling practice. There are people in my life {whom I love} who don’t write such notes.  And I don’t hold it against them.  But I believe in thank-you notes.  And, as long as my kids are living in this house, I’m going to insist that they write them.

The colors of the paper are so pretty.  The lines of the handwritten letters are full of life.  And it’s just what one does.

And while I’m writing about thank-yous, I want to say thank you to each of you who come to this space.  Thank you for looking at my photographs and reading my words; thank you for the comments some of you leave; thank you for the emails some of you send.  I appreciate each and every one of you.  And, if my son were to read this, perhaps he’d ask why I don’t have to write handwritten notes to each of you.  Because he would be right in assuming that your presence here is a gift to me.  I might come up with some clever response as to how this is different…though I’m not sure it really is.  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.  All of you.  I want to say thank you.  Because that’s just what one does.

Sending a little love your way, m



15 thoughts on “What One Does

  1. Pingback: :: Randoming :: |
  2. I must admit the people we know we will see in person get a verbal thank you and a hug for gifts, but, I do insist in sending cards to people we know we will not see. Funnily enough we visited an Aunt today and she mentioned my son’s thank you card several times and how nice it was, so there is proof that they are appreciated.

    It is so good to teach children these kinds of things and who doesn’t like receiving something handwritten!

    I love visiting your blog, it is such a warm and welcoming place, so thank you too!

    Jane xx

  3. My daughter is very good about writing warm, friendly thank you notes. My son, not so much. HIs notes will say: Thank you for the gift. Love, E. In someways, their notes match their personalities. My daughter is outgoing and talkative. My son when asked a question often answers in one word sentences. (Yes. No. Maybe. You get the picture.) Unless you are talking about soccer! Anyway, I have let the thank you cards slide when the person who gave the gift is there when the present is opened — said present receiver is then required to look adult/friend in the eyes and give a sincere thank you. Both my kids are fabulous at this, taking time to appreciate the gift and the giver and not rushing to the next gift. However, if the gift comes in the mail or the giver isn’t present when they open the gift, then they are require to mail a thank you note, send a text message or an email (usually these are to their grandparents or Aunts/Uncles who live far away). Times are changing and I think it’s ok to change with the times as long as the gift is acknowledged with gratitude. My son is working on his birthday thank you notes (partly because parents are usually the ones who actually purchase the gift for him). For years now I’ve taken a photo of the whole group, made copies and then E can sign his name to the back: Thank you for the gift. ~E

  4. Thank you Michelle for your lovely photos and posts. In this world right now everything is so fast and digital, and more than ever we need to teach our kids how to be polite and slow down, to be careful with the people we love and respect. Doesn’t matter what others do, what is important is what we do. Before the Christmas I always buy a card and a small chocolate for my kids to give for their teachers, this year the old one complained that nobody does this, he doesn’t want to give either. I explained to him that kindness is necessary in this world, we do our part, I grew up saying thanks, paying attention to little details, and they should do the same. Later on he said the teacher was so happy with the card, and she wrote a lovely thank you card to him. He was the only kid that wished Merry Christmas and said thanks to her. He was happy and said thanks to me, because that day he had made a difference in someone life. So keep teaching the right stuff to your kids and I do the same with mine, so they can have a better world in the future. Hugs to you!

  5. Thanks for this delicious post, Michelle!
    I have my own stack of pretty cards and letter paper right in front of me while typing this (actually in a toast rack, but well…) and I may be better finish some this weekend so I can mail them next week.
    I have a long- time friend with 3 children, that I have been knowing since before they were born, and each and every year they send handwritten thank- you notes, which I cherish! They are such a delight, and I’d love to receive more also from the “adults” in my life. Looks like they forget too fast… not just good manners, but simply… kindness and care.

  6. And I thank you for sharing your life with each of us, and moving and inspiring all of us in so many ways! (And, I, too, insist on handwritten thank you notes!)

  7. One of the things I’m grateful for is my mom for teaching me the art of handwritten thank yous. I remember getting pretty boxed thank you cards as one of my gifts. It never seemed like a chore. I too have people in my lives that practice this-but in all honesty-it irks me. It might help your son if he were able to choose or make his own cards-I found that always helped with teaching my own boys the art of writing thank yous. Xo

  8. I am right there with you. I have just been having the same discussion and disagreement with my son. lol! I also believe in thank you notes and so we have been slowly tackling them too. It’s been a battle but I think these little things are important and what distinguish you later in life. And always Thank You my dear friend Michelle.. you enrich all of our lives way beyond your words and photographs. xox

  9. thank you for your beautiful insight on life and seeing the world through your lens. I received a thank you sadly for a funeral and I did love knowing that the family took time out to write a note. That habit should not end.

  10. This post really strikes a chord with me … I think it’s fabulous what you are teaching your children. I used to write thank you notes, and I taught my children to as well. Now, many years later I have abandoned that practice and may have to rethink it. Lately I have sent gifts and have not received a thank you of any kind – I’ve had to ask if the person received the gift …

  11. I also made my children write thank you notes. In boxes I got when my Mom died six years ago were all the little cards my kids had sent her over the years, in that scrawling script of those learning to print, the early years. A treasure. And now they will have them one day. Full circle. Ah, the fortitude the written word offers, that will carry on for a long, long time, after inboxes have been emptied. The romantic in me loves that we touch pages that others we loved held in their hands. I know. I know. Big hug. Goodness me. I need a tea.

  12. I too believe in thank you notes. Congrats on teaching your children the life skill of manners. It’s a valuable skill that will serve them their whole lives. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and heart with us.


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