Training a young heart towards gratitude starts with the simple spoken words “please” and “thank you”. Parents express these gracious words to their children and in turn, teach their children to express the same to parents and others.
Learning to hand write a thank you note comes next in training a child in the life-long habit of appreciating others’ kindnesses and generosity.
Stationery is a vehicle for communication within and beyond your family and hand written notes create community. With endless paper and design options, where should you start building your family’s stationery suite?
For mother and father:
At one time, the essential couples’ stationery started with a folded note, engraved with the couple’s full formal married name. (Do not abbreviate the middle name.)
For example: Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Gibb Gilchrist
More modern and casual options include first names at the top of a correspondence card (woman’s name first), or the “married monogram” (woman’s initial first).
For example: Jennie and Tom Gilchrist OR JGT
For today’s modern couple, the woman or man may write on behalf of the couple or family, using his or her name or monogram.
For example, with the woman’s monogram or name she writes: Tom and I thoroughly enjoyed the wedding celebration of ...
or on the man’s stationery, he might write: Jennie and I delighted in catching up with you two over your sumptuous home cooked dinner.
Notes to congratulate, express condolences, to thank, or to encourage weave lives together through your shared history.
For very young children:
The parent will write on their behalf, however make the child aware of the reason and to whom the note is sent. When they are able, let them sign their name or draw a picture. Add the child's name or monogram to decorative or motif stationery as they learn to write their own notes. Just a couple of sentences will do.
High schoolers writing thank you notes after college interviews and college students entering the business world need simple, sophisticated stationery. A classic white or ivory card with navy, black, or slate ink projects appropriate professionalism.Executive Card
In most cases, use the full name: John Malouf Gilchrist OR Mary Eleanor Gilchrist
Men tend to prefer flat cards and women, both flat and folded notes. One may write on the inside bottom and back panels of a folded note, but only on the front of a correspondence card. Some men prefer a letter sheet to compose on the computer, print out, then sign by hand.
Beyond basic stationery, whether engraved, letterpress, thermograph, digital or hand calligraphy (for a note that will be particularly cherished), your budget and aesthetic influences your family’s stationery wardrobe, which may include:
- Gift stickers for holidays and year round (personalized stickers make wrapping gifts for various occasions easy, with a simple solid tote and colored tissue, the sticker design provides the decoration.)
- Hanging gift tags... a fun option as well.
- Formal engraved Mr. and Mrs. cards, which traditionally accompany a wedding gift.
Your family’s stationery wardrobe will change through the years, reflecting ages and stages (i.e. camp notes, bridal stationery, etc.). For instance, as a family’s activities increase, a Family Planner helps to keep the schedule in balance.
Notepads for each child and parent are handy for communicating with each other, as well as enclosing with snail mail. Personalized sticky notes are useful too!Sticky Memo Cubes
Embossers, return address stamps or stickers, greeting cards, calling/business cards, Christmas or holiday cards, notebooks for purse or backpack, journals, bag tags, playing cards, laminated placemats, camp notes, shipping labels…all practical items one uses or uses up!
Connecting with others in person
If your family entertains, enhance your hospitality with personalized frost flex or styrofoam cups, ice bucket, napkins, coasters and guest towels.Lucite Ice Box
Tactile v. Texting
A note about texting - I have a large box of letters from my siblings and parents, as well as my letters to my parents. Even the casual notes we left on the counter for each other now provide a window into everyday life and bits of family history that I simply would not have if we had the default of today’s technology. What may seem a trite detail can bring back a warm memory or a chuckle these many years later.
Remember the classic “I’m running away” notes? Even though we have the luxury of texting and emailing, try "writing it down” every once in a while, for history’s sake. When I read my grandmother’s letters, I hear her accent. Even recognizing her handwriting warms my heart. I touch the paper she touched!
Enjoy communicating within and beyond your family, extending your family’s love, care, and gratitude to others and thus creating a cherished community for years to come.