Thanks for the Gratitude

When I got home from a weekend trip on Sunday night and looked through the mail, I found not one but two gratitude cards waiting for me. These weren’t your run-of-the-mill thank you notes, the kind you get for sending a baby gift or, in the case of a really old-school guest, hosting a dinner party. These were notes from people thanking me for … well, being me.

True, these were both from people I have business relationships with. But unlike the standard Christmas cards we  all send to clients to acknowledge their existence, these were personal handwritten notes. I don’t have to tell you how rare that is. The best thing I usually get in the mailbox is a check from Aetna, and most pats on the back these days come in the form of a retweet or a pithy acknowledgement on Facebook.

I assumed, naturally, that this was a new Thanksgiving trend. But then I noticed that one of the cards had a link to the website A Grateful Perspective, and it turns out the gratitude cards are a year-long project by Glen Ridge resident Janet Neal, who thought of it over the summer. She commissioned the cards from local stationer and card designer Susan Krien of Happenstance Creations, ordering 365, so she could send out one a day. And, organized person that Neal is (she’s in charge of new business development for Montclair-based Above and Beyond, which provides business services for entrepreneurs), she created a spreadsheet to make sure that she kept track of what she’d sent out.

“It’s a great way to start the day. It starts me from a place of gratitude,” she says. “It’s been wonderful. I can’t tell you the number of people who have said they cried.”

You can share your own story of gratitude on Neal’s “A Grateful Perspective” website, read more about the cards at Happenstance Creations or buy a set (8 for $12) on Etsy.

What a wonderful and well-time reminder that Thanksgiving isn’t just about the turkey.

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