As an investor, founder, CEO and business book author, I write about startups, design, how to build a good business, and I like to muse about culture in any form.

Surprise Thank Yous Are Best

IMG_5024At home, I take a lot of pleasure in my little box of note cards and greetings. Stationery is one of the very few things I make a point to seek out when I travel. Paper goods are inexpensive and easy to pack. Further, with the general accessibility of printing in every form from letterset to offset to desktop, stationery is also becoming a “local” business in most municipalities.

When I need to write a greeting or thank you note I flip through my supply, reliving many of the places where I bought the cards. I admit that I become so attached to certain cards that I save them for too long—waiting for the perfect recipient or occasion.


At the office, I have taken the habit of writing notes to each Grommet employee on the occasion of their work anniversary. I love to recognize their contributions and share my appreciation for their tenure and loyalty. It immediately ups my “joy quotient” to stop my pace on a busy workday and just think about that person who has been with us for two, three or five years. And I keep a stash of LovePop cards in my file cabinet just for that purpose.

Sometimes I travel with a few notecards and stamps tucked into my bag, especially during heavy travel periods when I start to feel out of touch with friends and family. I might fill in a few minutes while waiting for an appointment or a flight and somehow that simple act makes me feel so “together.”  Like, “I can multi-task!”  “I can make a  nephew or a friend happy with just a small bit of advance planning.”

All of us have people who have enriched our lives. Everyone knows someone who deserves our recognition. Think about who that is for you: it might be a former teacher, a neighbor who watches out for your kids, an uncle who taught you how to throw, a local business owner, a coach, a former babysitter, or a former colleague. Often the people who most deserve appreciation from us are the ones who least expect it. They might be the furthest flung and would be totally delighted to receive an unexpected note “just because.”

So do it.

Any piece of paper will suffice. It’s the act of sending it that matters.

If you need an excuse, use National Thank You Day as air cover. It’s like your own personal Thanksgiving without the traffic jams and cooking.


18 Responses to “Surprise Thank Yous Are Best”

  1. Margaret McKenna

    Okay. I’ll be looking in my mailbox! M

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Pedasi Pundit

    I use to do this also, but when we moved to Panama I had to stop. There are no addresses or mail delivery in Panama. You can mail things, but it is either to General Delivery or a PO Box in Panama. And to mail something outside of Panama can take 3-5 weeks, if it even gets there. I still have a drawer full of cards although with the hot and sometimes humid weather, they are slowly but surely no longer useable. The upside of no mail delivery in Panama is NO JUNK MAIL!

  3. cynthiafrazier49

    I love sending ‘snail-mail’ and do it all the time, special occasion or not. You would be amazed at the responses I get. For the most part people are so pleased when they get a real card in the mail. Very few ask why I didn’t use a text or email. It’s such a personal thing. I love writing little notes! And LovePops are the best!

  4. Mary Chambers

    I still write old fashioned, pen to paper letters every week. I have been sending weekly letters to my son for years. It is one of the ways that we stay in touch. We do email, text and talk on the phone too but it is my weekly letter “that defines the week” according to my son. I also write 3other letters weekly to a friend who is housebound with illness, the husband of a friend who died of cancer and a young lady working in Columbia. These are my regulars. I also have a basket of cards and thank you notes “just in case”. A book of stamps are always tucked in the visor of my car.

    • julespieri

      Oh man Mary–that is so inspirational and impressive. Four weekly letters? I had a housebound great aunt who was famous for her letters. She literally went almost nowhere but wrote the most beautiful letters. You both have me thinking deeper about this idea…

  5. Pat

    I’m inspired! I’m a textaholic. It’s been a long time since I sent a note by snail mail even though I have a big basket full of cards…

    • julespieri

      If it helps to know this: I have horrible handwriting and people still like getting the cards. If you have good penmanship you are ahead of the game.

      • Pat

        My penmanship is rotten! But I think you’re right — the recipient of the note won’t mind!

  6. Susie

    So very, very true! Thank you for reminding me how important it is to be grateful for those around us – and to acknowledge it in the simple form a note! Who doesn’t love seeing an envelope in the mail with their name handwritten – always wonderful!!

    • julespieri

      So true. I can feel anywhere from neutral to glum about a pile of mail, unless I see a handwritten envelope. Then I am both happy and curious and have to open it the minute I see it.


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