Letters provide inspiration in Biggest Loser

Biggest LoserDid you happen to watch the Valentine’s Day episode of The Biggest Loser? We loved the way letters from home (and, later, letters from teammates) played a huge roll in this episode.

In the team challenge, letters from home were the reward for the winning team. Contestants had to dig their way through several obstacles in the sand, and the thought of getting to read those letters after being away from home for 6 weeks was a huge incentive to the teams. When the winning team members sat down on the beach to read their letters, they were visibly moved by the words of encouragement they held in their hands. Many cried. All said that the letters helped them tremendously and gave them the emotional boost they needed to continue.

Later in the same episode, two contestants who had been separated from their teams received encouraging letters from their teammates. Both received the letters at a particularly difficult time during the week, and both said the letters gave them the strength to keep going, and that they could feel the support from their team.

We’ve said it a thousand times, but this mega-hit television show proved it in front of 6.4 million viewers. Never underestimate the power of the pen!

Thinking-of-you gift ideas

Thinking-of-you gift ideasOne of our team members recently experienced a scare. His sister was seriously injured in a car accident and hospitalized for several weeks. His family spent hours at her bedside, while friends and relatives sent flowers, gifts, good wishes, and offered their support in many ways.

During one of those many hours of vigil, it occurred to him that his family would probably want to send thank you notes to many of the people who had helped them. “If this hadn’t happened to us,” he said, “it would never have occurred to me to give note cards as a gift to a family struggling with illness or injury. But that would have been an incredibly thoughtful and useful gift.” Not only could they have used them, but it would have given them something to do, other than worry, while waiting in the hospital!

We all struggle with finding the right gift or the right thing to say when a friend needs our support. That’s why this has become one of our favorite thinking-of-you gift ideas. If the thought of giving thank you notes seems too presumptuous, blank note cards will be just as appreciated and are more versatile. (Most of Pear Tree’s thank you notes, or personalized note cards can be ordered blank, without any message on the front, if that’s the way you’d like them.) As this family’s story taught us, you never know when you might need them.

Mom was right. Thank you notes do matter!

thank you notesWe love that even business execs are recommending pushing away the keyboard and writing a handwritten thank you note as a follow-up to an interview, or as a basic step in building a business relationship: How to Write a Thank You Note That Matters.

In this inc.com blog post, author Rene Shimada Siegel, is surprised how few business professionals take the time to do this simple act. The ones who do, and who can write a note without grammatical errors or misspellings, really stand out. “There is no faster way to create a positive impression,” she says. Especially rare is the note from a business owner or executive. “When the sender is a busy executive, handwritten notes are so remarkable that they easily earn awe and admiration.” Read more.

How to write the perfect note

Writing a thank you noteRealSimple.com has a few tips for all of us note writers out there who may be at a loss for words. No matter how often we sit down with a blank note card, there are times when we just need a few words to get us started. It sure would be nice, we think, to see how someone else does it. Well, here you are, three great examples of how to write the perfect note.

You’ll find examples of a birthday note, a celebratory note, and a note of condolence, along with tips on how to add your own touches to make them more personal, as well as valuable advice on what not to say. We love the practical how to’s, but mostly we just wanted to applaud RealSimple.com for coming out in favor of the handwritten note. There are plenty of believers out there. Are you one?

Read “How to Write the Perfect Note”

Don’t forget thank you notes to the most obvious

Thank you notesWhile your grad is writing thank you notes, don’t forget to put on the list those who have helped him or her the most. It seems obvious, but this thank you note idea is not one that not occurs to very many people.

How about sending a thank you note to Mom or Dad, Grandma or Grandpa? To one or more of the teachers who inspired you through the years. To a guidance counselor who made sure you graduated with the required credits. To the person who helped you get that summer job to pay for college, or that internship that will get you into grad school? Or to a coach who cheered you on to that athletic scholarship or taught you the meaning of teamwork.

This thank you note idea is not required, of course, nor is it expected. But that’s why it is so special to receive and is usually treasured by the recipient. Aside from the pleasure it brings, it offers a good life lesson for every grad: the gifts we are most thankful for don’t always come in a box. Someday, perhaps, your grad will pass this lesson on to another generation.

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