A handwritten thank-you? With a pared-back Christmas and a family gift exchange game, my children were excited, truly thrilled, that this meant the only thank-you's they had to write were to their grandmother. Woo-hoos galore. These children were raised not to play until all thank-you's were written. They don't know what they are missing...
My favorite gift? Thanks, a book I'd mentioned to my mother, who has been ahead, intuitively, of all the studies in the new field of happiness. An attitude of gratitude may be one of the true keys to living a good life. When she came down with breast cancer 24 years ago, she faced it daily in a new journal of thanks, noting each day three things she was most thankful for.
One take-away as I nestle by the fire reading the book: writing a letter to thank someone for some thing that truly made a difference in your life and then delivering the letter in person can have a residual impact for days and days (and even longer) upon one's feeling of happiness.
Bergdorf Goodman's windows this Christmas in Manhattan featured one display for stationery, a snippet of which I've posted above at left. The art of being thankful is an approach to life and living that makes a difference. I'm stocking up on Thanks, written by one of the leading researchers on gratitude, Robert Emmons.