Skip to content

Thank You Notes Are One of Life’s Little Joys

March 18, 2010


As a child, nothing even came close to the excitement of Christmas day.  

December 25th was the best day of the year.

Hands down, though, December 26th was always the worst day of the year.

December 26th in the Hawley household=Thank You Note Day.

Mom would make Tom, Christy and I all sit down at the kitchen table and write all of our thank yous before we could play with our new toys.


Every year, the hardest thank you note to write was the one to Aunt Shirley and Uncle Lou. 

Every year they sent grapefruit. 


Every year.

Now, don’t get me wrong, now-a-days I love a good grapefruit,

especially those actually hand-picked and shipped fresh.  Yum!

But when you’re 8, a big box of grapefruit individually wrapped in the previous Sunday’s newspaper  is not the most exciting gift. 

At 8, I wouldn’t even touch the stuff. 

Which made having to write a lovely thank you that much harder. 

None-the-less, we had to write a thank you for those grapefruit. 

Every year. 

It was always the same:  I’d gaze longingly at all my new toys…

and then I’d stare down at the blank thank you card and wonder what on earth I could possibly say about this year’s grapefruit.

And I wasn’t allowed to just say,

“Thanks for the yummy grapefruit. 



Oh, no.   My mom had a strict 3-line minimum.

Three lines is an awful  lot when you have nothing to say. 

Eventually I’d come up with something. 

In a desperate attempt to get through the torture otherwise known as


I would just make things up:

“Dear Aunt Shirley and Uncle Lou,

You just can’t imagine the joy I felt receiving the big box of Florida grapefruit you sent this year!  Why, I can’t believe how juicy and delicious this year’s batch is–truly best I’ve ever had!  I look forward to starting each morning with one of the grapefruits you hand-picked for us to enjoy!  It’s like you managed to send a little bit of Florida sunshine right along in that box!  Thanks for sending us such a wonderful Christmas gift!  You’re the BEST!  Love, Vicki” 

I do believe those thank you notes sparked my life-long love of creative writing and fiction.

As much as I dreaded writing those notes, I know my mom was right; thank you notes are important.  By forcing us to sit down and write, mom taught us valuable lesson–showing gratitude is a small gift you give back to the giver.  And the 3-line minimum forced us to learn how to write a damn-good thank you note.

I recently wrote a thank you to my friend, Gayle.  She told me it was the best thank you note she had ever received in her whole life.  She said she wanted to send it to her mom so she could put it in her baby book for safe keeping.   I don’t know about all that, but I do know that when I’m writing to someone as fabulous as Gayle, who does so many nice things for me, it’s easy to write a good note.  (Way easier than for the grapefruit!).  

A grateful heart is a happy heart. 

Thank you, Mom, for teaching me the value of giving thanks.

And thanks to all of you who read my little blog each day. 

Your comments give me the warm-fuzzies and make my day!



PS  Aunt Shirley? 

I love you big bunches! 

I now know what I was missing out on when I took a pass on all those yummy grapefruit! XO

Photo credits: typewriter, brown-floral, grapefruit, telegram, dots, hello, fortune-cookie, cursive, thank you for thank you, ducky, chalkboard

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Cissy permalink
    March 18, 2010 8:33 pm

    Vicki, this could be a scene from “A Christmas Story”. I love it! Could you just see Ralphie writing his aunt a thank you note for that lovely pink bunny outfit?

  2. March 18, 2010 10:58 pm

    that totally made my mouth water for grapefruit! yummo!

    i’m really liking this tradition – i’m sure my kids will hate it, but wow, what a great way to teach children about gratitude and character.

    great post!

  3. March 19, 2010 2:06 am

    Hi Vicki! It’s Amy! I got a blog cause it just seemed like so much fun for you! I always despise writing thank you notes, but they are nice when you get them!

  4. Mom permalink
    March 19, 2010 3:43 am

    Now that you have written this blog, you might want to add Aunt Shirley to your mailing list and nobody will ever tell her about this
    blog. You might have thought I was really mean, but you sure have turned out to write lovely thank you notes and that’s nearly a lost art nowdays.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: