Thank You Letters: Restoring a Lost Art

Thank You Letters: Restoring a Lost Art

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Are polite manners obsolete? Traditional etiquette is entirely redefined in the digital age. Long gone are the days of snail mail and love notes by carrier pigeon; instead, we live in a “now” society in which people seek instant gratification through technological means.

Text messages, e-mails, and Facebook “Wall Posts” are a few effortless ways we tend to say thank you, according to a report by CNN. In the past 20 years, the U.S. Postal Service reported a drop of 10 billion letters.

Despite the inherent value of the Postal Service infrastructure – not to mention the tens of millions of jobs it provides – post office closures are rampant. Digital technology reigns supreme. 

Not sold yet? Ask yourself this: when is the last time I wrote a thank-you letter? If you are struggling to recall, you aren’t the only one. However, it’s important to remember the reasons why they’re so impactful.

First and foremost, a hand-written thank you letter expresses obvious appreciation to the receiver: you spent time considering why you are thankful, you spent money on postage, and you also hand picked which card to send. The process is both personal and personable.

However, there are some not-so-obvious perks of a proper thanks. A study conducted by Harvard University explains that receiving “expressions of gratitude” makes us feel a heightened sense of self-worth, which in turn triggers “other helpful behaviors” toward the person we are helping.

Not only does this mean the receiver feels flattered, but also it means the receiver is likely to repeatedly engage in the very behavior you are so grateful for. The described phenomenon, known as the “gratitude effect,” is especially helpful for young adults who are entering into the professional world.

get the look

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Sweet Thank You, Boxed
Sugar Paper Los Angeles, $29


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Rifle Floral Thank You Postcards
Paper Source, $13


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Confetti Card Set
Kate Spade, $25


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Foil Many Thanks
Target, $12


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Papyrus ThankYou

Black Engraved Thank You Notes
Papyrus, $19


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Favorite Embossed Lettersheets
The Stationary Studio, $32

How do you like to say thanks? Share your advice below!

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