How Writing Thank You Cards Improves our Lives

Shakespeare Thankful MemeAs Thanksgiving draws near, I’ve been mulling over the fact that we don’t really give thanks anymore.

In this tech-driven age, we tweet our thanks with the appropriate hashtag. Post thankfulness countdowns on Facebook. Text a brief thanks, vowels and correct grammar optional, before moving on with our fast-paced, instant download, blink-and-you’ll-miss-the-latest-trend lives.

The observance of literally giving someone a card expressing thanks has all but been forgotten.

Some might argue that it doesn’t matter. That we’re still being polite, communicating the same sentiment—just in a less antiquated fashion.

While I’m not opposed to modern forms of communication, I firmly believe that Thank You cards are an irreplaceable form of politeness. In fact, I believe the practice of writing Thank You cards makes us better people and improves our lives.

How, you ask? Read on, my good fellow.

How Writing Thank You Cards Improves our Lives

It Undermines Self-Absorption

During the holidays, I’ve seen posts on Facebook expressing thanks for gifts received. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, these mass thank yous posted for all to see, keep most of the focus on us. Rather than shinning a spotlight of appreciation on the giver it bathes us in the harsh glare with a showy chorus of, “Look at me, and my haul of stuff!”

Thank You cards transform the spotlight into a lantern. Within the panes of an envelope, they contain a golden light meant for illuminating one. And by bestowing that lantern of thanks on the giver alone, it makes the light more precious and simultaneously undermines our insatiable desire for Likes. Continue reading

8 Fabulous Things About Books that E-readers Lack

Books with RoseLet me begin with a disclaimer—I am not anti-Kindle.

I admit freely to having read several e-books on my iPhone. Indeed, I understand the appeal of e-books. They can be purchased and downloaded instantly. They take up zero physical space and therefore save many a book-lovers’ home from becoming cluttered. And sometimes, they are even less expensive.

No, I’m not here to bash high-tech users of e-readers. Rather, I am, in a fashion, one of them. I consider myself a hybrid reader, dabbling in books and e-books alike.

However, I will never give up my bookshelves, bookends, or bookmarks. I will never completely forsake physical, real, honest-to-goodness, hold-in-your-hands books.

For books, with their pages and ink, will always be my first love. And nothing shall ever convince me that e-books are superior to their paper counterparts. E-books are all well and good and have their place. Yet it must be admitted, by even the most modern tech-savvy of persons, that there are some things they lack.

8 Fabulous Things About Books that E-readers Lack

1. Tactile QualityStack of Books

To read an e-book, one must hold a machine. Whether it’s a Nook or smart phone, the sense of touch is engaged only by a cold electronic device. You don’t truly hold the e-book, feel its weight. It’s a one dimensional object partitioned off by a screen. In this one dimensional reading experience, you lose the variety of tactile qualities books offer. Rich leather, soft cloth, or slick paperback binding. Braille-like embossed lettering. The thin, smooth pages of a new book. The thick, textured parchment of an antique. By engaging our sense of touch, books connect directly with the reader in a manner e-books simply cannot replicate.

2. Aroma

Unless you’re a true bibliophile, this item on my list will most assuredly leave you perplexed and thinking I’m insane. Yet, for those of us with ink printed on our hearts, the scent of a book is nothing short of magical. New books have an aroma which combines fresh cut paper and hot-off-the-press ink. While vintage and antique books have this scent which seems beyond description. Musty? Leathery? Fairy dusty? Whatever it may be, aroma takes ones reading experience beyond the second star to the right.  Continue reading

8 Rules of Etiquette for the 21st Century

Angela BellHello, my name is Angela, and I am a 21st century Victorian lady.

What exactly does that mean, you ask? I shall tell you.

It does not mean that I wear corsets, am waited on hand and foot by servants, and only speak to those within my social sphere. No, indeed. I’m modern enough to appreciate my dish washer, independent enough to fetch my own glass of water, and liberated enough to make polite conversation with people from a variety of backgrounds.

A 21st century Victorian is simply a modern person with 19th century sensibilities. One who lives in today’s world without casting aside the best of yesteryear. A 21st century Victorian is not naive enough to wish themselves back in time. No, I like my smart phone, indoor plumbing, and air conditioning. Rather we choose not to throw lady-like elegance out with the crinoline.

Fashion Plate-Riding Habit

As a 21st century Victorian lady, I admire the hand-crafted and antique, maintain the belief that perfection is a fairy tale but romance is real, and feel empowered through my femininity—not in spite of it.

Books

I also endeavor to go through life practicing certain rules of etiquette. Not because it’s dictated by a stern, unforgiving society. Nor for the purpose of elevating myself by putting down another. For me, etiquette is the setting in which the gem of politeness is showcased. Continue reading