Growing up, I remember how much I dreaded writing thank you notes after things like birthdays and Christmas. It was always required, which I obviously respect now, but as a kid it downright sucked. I had no idea what to say. It always took forever. And despite writing all day in school, I remember my fingers physically aching by what felt like the second card.
Fast forward to some time around college, and hand written cards became my thing. I developed an appreciate for paper goods of all kinds, and found any excuse under the sun to pick out a well designed and witty greeting card. I loved everything about it. Picking out a card perfect for the occasion. Finding unique and thoughtful things to write. I’m pretty sure I even felt emotionally invested in addressing and stamping the damn card. I appreciated the act of writing and sending a greeting card, and other people acknowledged how much my cards meant to them.
People commented on the words. On my writing. But what resonated most with me was the idea that receiving a card had meant something to that person.
I loved (and still love) a good hand written card. I love sending birthday cards, I look forward to thank you notes, and I’ve incorporated hand written notes into other aspects of my life including my business and our family’s nonprofit organization. It’s always been my Oprah moment. You get a card, you get a card, you get a card! And you get a card!
Lately in life I’ve identified a new thing. If you’re a friend or family member you should still expect to receive a cute card from me every once in awhile. Thank you notes aren’t going out of style.
But I have a new favorite gift giving habit.
And I’m not talking about birthday gifts or holiday presents. I’m talking about random and spontaneous gift giving.
My new obsession is gifting (or simply sharing) books for no other reason than to let someone know I was thinking about them.
We make new friends with someone who just moved to town, and they talk about how tough the transition feels. I immediately order This Is Where You Belong and give it to them the next time they’re over for dinner.
A girlfriend mentions her baby hasn’t been sleeping well. I pop my favorite sleep training books into the mail. With a cute card, of course.
Someone is heading on vacation soon. I think they’d love a fiction novel I recently finished, so I wrap it up nicely and drop it in their mailbox with a note.
The act is so simple. The book can be new or used. You can mail it across country or leave it on a neighbor’s doorstep. I’ve found this new gift giving habit to be so fun, and I hope those who’ve been on the receiving end of my book gifting find it a sweet and touching gesture.
So give it a try! The next time you finish a book, think of who might enjoy it next and why. Or if a friend mentions something unique is going on in their life, mail a relevant book with a nice note just to let them know they’re on your mind. I hope this gift giving habit brings you as much happiness as it’s given me this year.