Your new baby has brought so much joy into your life—and so many gifts! You know you really should get started on those thank you notes, if you can just find the time between feedings! But somehow the box of thank you notes you bought before she was born don’t seem to convey her personality at all.
What do you say to the person you entrust to teach and guide your kids every day? What are you most grateful for? Maybe it’s the little things, like how they notify you of your child’s achievements, or how they make themselves available after hours to connect with you about a concern, or the fact that they take the time to share with you something that sparked your kid’s interest in the classroom. Maybe you appreciate all of these things, but have never gotten around to expressing your thanks.
This is one instance where choosing just the right words is not the point. A sincerely written thank you note can go a long way to inspire and nourish a great teacher. Start with something simple and to the point: “I noticed that you take the time to encourage great manners in your classroom, and that makes a difference to me. Thank you.” A quick sentence or two about how the teacher has impacted both you and your child will surely be remembered and appreciated–whether it’s teacher appreciation day or not!
While those other teacher appreciation ideas (you know, the coffee mugs and potted plants) collect dust, most teachers will mention thank you notes or letters they got from students or parents when asked about the best ‘thank you’ they ever received. Knowing they’re making a difference in their students’ lives is what makes most teachers love to teach. Don’t forget to tell them!
My kindergarten teacher didn’t exactly fit the mold for someone tasked with motivating 6 year olds. He was wiry, thin with sunken cheekbones and blond, wispy hair. Smiles were infrequent, and his methods stern. When he handed out papers bulbous knuckles protruded from sinewy fingers. His methods were unpredictable, and, frankly, he was a tad frightening. I don’t remember much about learning to count or the disadvantages of eating glue (but I can count now, and I only infrequently sample the Elmer’s), but I do remember the rooster he brought into the classroom. And I remember how fascinating it was to dissect an owl pellet. And I remember watching those sinewy fingers tap a maple tree and a satisfying smile spread between those same, sunken cheekbones. Somehow he instilled in me an appreciation for the outdoors through unpredictable, arresting methods. I think maybe it was simply because he cared.
It wasn’t until much later, into my adulthood, that I realized how much he meant to me as a teacher. I love the outdoors, and so much of my fondness, I realize, stemmed from the passion he shared with us kindergartners. I wish I had thanked him. That I had known enough to tell him what he was doing mattered, and that it made a difference.
Both my parents are teachers. When I’ve seen my mother the most satisfied is when she wells up reading a thank you letter from a former student, years later, simply sharing with her the impact she’s made. I’ve missed my chance to tell Mr. Miller what he meant to me, and that’s an unfortunate reality for many of us adults. But our kids, being taught and inspired right now, they still have the chance. And all it takes is a note with two simple words: Thank You.
Other favorite teachers from our team:
Now that I’m grown I can’t help but smile at the sheer embarrassment I felt over my mother’s occupation as our elementary school librarian. It’s amazing how different that memory looks through my adult eyes! I know that I have her to thank for my interest not only in literature, but art, politics and geography as well. As a librarian, my mother opened a world to me through books that I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. I will be eternally grateful for that gift.
Beginning of my sophomore year in college I had a professor who taught us very well in the classroom, but more than that he taught us how to prepare for the ‘working world’. He was an inspirational teacher and shared with us his career story- once a newspaper reporter to Editor-in-Chief to college professor- and how each job helped him become who he is today. I thank him for helping me realize what I was learning in each class and how to apply it to better myself professionally.
Writing thank you cards is always a wonderful gesture to let someone know you appreciate what they did for you. But not every occasion requires a “thank you.” Sometimes you want to say, “you did it!” or “remember when…” or “I love you!” So why not create your own personalized note cards that say that? If you had a variety of stationery ideas to pick from that fit different occasions, not only thank you cards, but congratulatory cards and encouragement cards and love cards, we’re betting you’d write a lot more notes. You could tell your husband about how happy he made you feel when he brought you coffee at work by writing him a “You make me smile” card. You could stick an “I love you” note in your kids’ lunch box as a little surprise. You could send a note to your niece congratulating her on her first goal in soccer with a “You did it!” card.
Sending handwritten thank you cards is very important, of course, but there are other events to acknowledge and other words you can use to put a smile on someone’s face! See our note cards collection for lots of stationery ideas including, but not limited to, thank you cards. And never underestimate the power of the pen.
Spring is here… finally! It’s time to open the windows, let the fresh air breeze through your house and listen to the birds chirping outside. No longer will we be hibernating inside — it’s time for the backyard BBQ’s to start with neighbors and friends, for yard games to come out of the garage and it’s definitely time to get the family out for walks and bike rides again! With all the fun that goes along with spring, there is household cleaning to be done, but don’t worry we have some creative spring cleaning ideas to make it more fun.
Recently a staff member told us about a unique take on traditional thank you cards that we wanted to share with you. Every time she left a job, whether it was on her own accord or not, she made a point to hand-write a personal note (on her personalized stationery, of course!) to each of the people who had helped her along the way. This thank you card idea has enabled her to build and maintain a network of mentors, supporters, colleagues and friends, which she continues to treasure.
One of our team members shared a wonderful DIY gift idea for the holidays. Her family flies a long distance, at considerable expense, to spend the holidays with their extended family. She wanted her kids to bring gifts for the family members they visited, but felt the need to scale back because they were spending so much on travel. Her solution? For Christmas this year, her children are giving a handwritten note on personalized note cards to each family member that expresses how meaningful they are to them. The kids will read their notes aloud to each person when they get together to share gifts.
We love this DIY gift idea because it truly comes from the heart, far more thoughtful than anything they could buy in a store. The kids are learning many valuable lessons, not the least of which is how to express their feelings, and the lucky recipients will undoubtedly be touched. Get out the tissues. These handwritten expressions of love will be treasured for years to come.
Pear Tree has both Christmas thank you cards designed just for kids, as well as year-round kids thank you cards. When kids have their very own stationery personalized with their name or an image they love, they will be happy to write these little “gifts.”
My family draws names for our annual Christmas gift exchange. The grown up siblings and spouses exchange gifts, and our kids draw separately for their own exchange. My family is spread from coast to coast, and frequently I find myself spending as much money to wrap and mail the gifts as I do on the gifts themselves. Even more distressing is going to all that trouble and then not hearing so much as a Happy Holidays from the person who received it. Did they get it? Did they like it? I am left to wonder.
Aside from the obvious question this raises about my family’s upbringing (it’s always the same person and you know who you are) it makes me wonder why it is customary to send thank you cards for birthday presents but not holiday gifts? Okay, I get that when we were kids most of the presents came from Santa, who surely didn’t expect a thank you card for doing his job. But if you are reading this, you are too old for that excuse.
This year, one of my favorite thank you card ideas for the holidays, I am ordering personalized holiday thank you cards for my kids. I will let the kids choose their own design, pick the photo, whatever makes them happy. Or they can choose one of the coloring thank you cards Pear Tree has this year. I want them to learn that a hand-picked gift from a cousin, unlike one from Santa, requires a timely and sincere thank you. I will start small. I have the option to order as few as 8, which should be plenty. And for me, a personalized thank you card with a stylish holiday theme will be perfect. Who knows, maybe a certain someone will get the message.
If you’ve ever hosted Thanksgiving dinner for a group, large or small, you know how much planning, cleaning, shopping, prepping, baking, chopping, and basting goes into pulling it off. You are happy to make the effort because a successful Thanksgiving is not as much about the food as it is about being with your loved ones, catching up on family news, playing games, watching football, and sharing the family traditions you’ve established over the years.
On those occasions when we are not hosting but attending as an invited guest, however, it’s important not to take your hostess’s efforts for granted, no matter how calm she appears or how many years she has “done” Thanksgiving. Aside from offering to bring something to the gathering and lending a hand while you’re there, there are other ways to show your thanks, from Thanksgiving gift ideas to following up with a handwritten thank you note.
We were thrilled to hear that the Twin Cities’ CBS Affiliate decided to run a story about Operation Gratitude last week. Seeing the students in action as they write and color their thank you cards really helps us remember why it is we run programs like this. It definitely gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside.