I suppose this is in some way related to my Christmas card post from last month, but once Christmas is over, you're usually left with a decent amount of people who need thanking. In our house growing up, my mom catalogued everyone's gifts as they opened them, such that by the end of the morning, she had constructed a matrix-style chart we could reference that showed a summary of everything we received along with who gave it to us. She'd then task us with writing thank you notes, and I'd be lying if I said my teenage self actually enjoyed doing this. To be fair, I sort of hated it. But it was what we did, and I have to say all these years later that I'm very grateful to have had a mother who raised us on thank you notes. I remember sitting through a business school lecture on this very topic (the professor and her remarkable class about the little things that can set you apart in the professional world are mentioned in Schooled) and thinking fondly of my mother. So ahead of her time.
So as I'm preparing to mail out a bunch of thank you notes this week, I guess it's reminding me just how strongly I now feel about them, and how surprised I often am that more people don't send them. It's not that a giver regrets giving if he is not thanked, but it's a gesture that shows not only that the receiver cared enough about the gift to send a note, but also that she's the sort of person who takes the time to do such things; the sort of person who makes that effort. It's a gesture of caring and gratitude, and I see the value both personally and professionally. Or maybe I'm just old school. It's entirely possible. Regardless, if you haven't yet (or haven't ever) mailed thank you notes, I'd encourage you to add it to your repertoire. It will make someone's day. Probably yours.