Using words to express gratitude

An idea came to me today as I thought about an acquaintance at work who brightens up the place with her smile, laughter, kind words, and occasional well-placed profanity, which just proves she’s no Pollyanna (if work isn’t making you swear, you’re retired).

My idea is to give notes of appreciation to a wide-ranging group of people the week of Thanksgiving (that’s less than six weeks away, so I need to start writing immediately yesterday).

This should help with an annual “Christmas problem.” As that holiday approaches, I find myself feeling stressed as I struggle to come up with appropriate gifts that will please friends, neighbors, child care workers, and people at work who don’t need more stuff. The gifts quickly start to feel like necessities because, in my mind, they are a way to say “I like you/you make my life better/you are important to me,” and not giving a gift somehow risks implying the converse. But wouldn’t a heartfelt note that says “I appreciate you for the following 36 reasons” communicate that message better than scented lotion or a bag of homemade biscotti tied with holiday ribbon? I think so.

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