One 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.
The most thoughtful gifts are the ones with a personal touch, the ones that say, “I thought about you, and I know you’ll love this!” What’s more personal than personalized stationery? It’s a gift that only they can use, chosen with care and imprinted with their name or initials.
This Christmas season I decided to give personalized note cards to all the women in my family: sisters, sisters-in-law, mother and mother-in-law. In choosing the designs, I carefully considered each woman: her style, her personality, her needs – and found a design for each that matched her style perfectly. I then personalized them, some with a first name or initial, some with the family name, and some with both, depending on how I thought she’d use them. It was fun to do, and I can’t wait to hand them out at our Christmas gathering.All-occasion note card sets also make nice stocking stuffer ideas, because they are gifts everyone can use. We all wish we had a spare birthday card or get well card on hand for those occasions that take us by surprise. And a special stocking-stuffer-size gift for moms or kids are our little notelettes, for those times you want to leave a message for someone you love. Just like a handwritten note, the gift of stationery says, “I’m thinking about you.”
If you are lucky enough to have a warm home to go to this Thanksgiving, filled with the mouthwatering smell of roasting turkey and the happy chatter of family and friends, then you have plenty of reasons to be thankful. It’s easy to get swept up in the hubbub of cooking and decorating and family squabbles, and to lose sight of what’s most important on this uniquely American holiday.
Everyone has their own Thanksgiving family traditions, such as helping out at a food shelf or participating in a fun activity like an annual touch football game, but when everyone finally settles around the table we all share one thing: our thanks. Some families appoint one person to say grace, others join hands in a prayer or a song. Still other families go around the table and ask each person to share something they’re thankful for.
Having been put on the spot a few times, some of us at Pear Tree thought it would be a nice idea to create note cards especially for this purpose. These little Thanksgiving notelettes ask the question “What are you thankful for?” with a blank area beneath the message or inside the card to write in your answer. You could also use simple thank you cards. We love this idea, for lots of reasons.
First the activity is meaningful for both kids and adults. The notes can be filled out in advance and read aloud, or passed around the table. You can even make a game out of guessing who wrote each one. Best of all, they can be kept! Send each guest home with their note as a remembrance, or give them to the hostess or the eldest member of the family. Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings, and these little notes are a tangible reminder that we have a lot to be thankful for. It may even become a new Thanksgiving family tradition.
My son left for college at the end of August and left a big hole in our family. I don’t miss his messy room or dirty socks, but I do miss our conversations and being in touch with what’s going on in his daily life.
He doesn’t seem to miss me much, if the number of times he’s contacted us is any indication. I know he’s having a great time and is busy with new experiences. Like all moms, I want him to be happy and make friends, but to know that if he’s sad or lonely or just having a bad day, we are still here for him.
I have decided to send him a care package. I will fill it with lots of his favorite snacks, the sandals he left under his bed, a new set of earbuds for his iPod, a throw pillow for his dorm room, a pound of coffee, and a gift card for his favorite takeout restaurant. Then I’ll top it off with a little note on my custom stationery (made just for this purpose) that says “packed with love” on the front.
He won’t expect it. He doesn’t need it. But he will like it, I’m pretty sure. Just picturing the smile on his face makes me feel better already.
Sometime around mid-August, as the summer winds down, it’s like someone throws a switch and suddenly we feel a nostalgic longing for new shoes, a new sweater, and a new box of crayons. Whether you’re eight or thirty-eight, the start of the school year signifies a new beginning, a time to get organized and get down to business.
We sort through the kids’ closets to see what fits and what doesn’t. We clean out cluttered desk drawers, throwing away dried up markers and broken pencils to make room for fresh new ones. And for those of us at Pear Tree, this includes Mom’s desk drawer. Kids aren’t the only ones who need new supplies for the school year. This is the perfect time to re-stock our stationery drawer.
Personalized note cards, thank you notes and address labels are the basics we can’t do without. Next, depending on our kids’ ages, we find mommy cards can be very handy for making connections with other parents at school. For the new teacher, personalized book markers or note cards make a thoughtful beginning-of-the-year gift. Even if we don’t have kids in school, cleaning out our desks and freshening up our stationery collection just feels right at this time of year.