Thank You Cards to New Friends
I’ve always been big on appreciation. I’ve been perfecting it from a young age when, after every gift-giving holiday or birthday, my mother would place a box of thank you cards, a stack of stamps, and the address book on the kitchen table—the implication all too clear. So off I’d teeter onto a stool dusting off my best cursive to thank not just out of town relatives, but the grandparents I might very well see in person later that week (or even day!) because “it’s good to send a thank you card anyway.”
I loved writing letters, addressing the envelopes, and signing “Love, Elizabeth Buechele.” (And, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I still do. Remember last year’s secret initiative of writing and mailing a “thinking of you” note each Monday to someone who had impacted my life?) As I got older, and even before The Smile Project taught me the healing power of gratitude, I continued to seek out new and creative ways to show my appreciation for the people in my life.
A number of years ago, I accidentally adopted another gratitude practice that always comes to mind as I’m preparing to flip my calendar month for the final time. My hyper-sentimentality seems to kick in earlier and earlier each year and it was while whipping up a batch of green bean casserole, that I started to happy cry, counting my blessings and counting how many boxes of the little fried onions would be too many boxes of the little fried onions. And while crying is a year round tradition for a nostalgic sap like me, the tradition I’m speaking of related to gratitude is one of new friends.
Each year, some time between pumpkin pie and Auld Lang Syne, I take a moment to text, write, or otherwise communicate words of appreciation to every new friend I have made that year.
While I’ll continue to send out the classic lots of love messages throughout the holiday season to those who have been staples in my life for decades, I find there’s something especially meaningful about reflecting on the end of the year by thinking about the new connections who made that year what it was.
As I sit here at the end of November, I’m overwhelmed thinking of all the people who dramatically impacted every corner of my life in 2022—people I didn’t even know existed this time last year.
And isn’t that something to be grateful for?
This season, as we head into the time of snowshoes and gingerbread, I invite you to make your mental list of new friends and then I invite you to take a moment to tell them what they mean to you.
I also invite you to close your eyes really tight and allow yourself to dream of all the people you haven’t met yet. People who are going to love you so much.
On behalf of The Smile Project team, wishing you a beautiful Thanksgiving. Thank you for being part of our community.