By Sunny Simon

     It was totally unexpected, but came at a time when I needed it most. The entire week was fraught with speed bumps, and also a time of sorrow for my family. As I trudged to the mailbox expecting nothing but bills and catalogues loudly screaming holiday gift ideas, I found a small pink envelope. While observing the soft hue and scanning lovely cursive penmanship dictating my address, I felt an inner warmth. Somewhere in this week weighted down with dismal gray clouds, a sliver of light was breaking through.

     Returning to my office I slit the envelope and read the one page note. It was a thank you letter of sorts from a friend. She acknowledged something I do weekly never knowing who might benefit, but hoping people do. This letter is going down in my book as one of “The Ten Bests Gifts I Ever Received.”

     Want to give a special gift to touch the heart of a friend or loved one, and perhaps make their top ten list? Read on, I’ll walk you through it. Pick up a pen or station yourself behind your keyboard. Close your eyes and do a deep dive into how your chosen one adds value to your life. Express sincere gratitude for something specific. Think beyond material gifts and write a paragraph on how their actions make your world a better place. Don’t worry about writing style, just find your voice and communicate your feelings.

     After performing this written exercise, I would not be surprised if you decided to do another, and then another for other individuals. In fact, while researching gratitude letters I stumbled upon an article about a fellow named John Kralik. In 2008, he made a New Year’s resolution to write one thank you note each day. He created notes to family, friends, co-workers and even the barista at Starbucks.

     Taking it one step further, Kralik turned his notes into a book, “365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life.” John succinctly boils advice on writing a thank you to this, “Focus on one true meaningful sentence about the person.” Kralik also recommends you do it the old school way. You know, with pen and paper.

     My favorite word of advice from the author is keeping the thank you short and simple so that it could fit on a 3” x 5” note card. Why? So there is no room in your gift for anything but gratitude.

Ready to give it a go? I’m trusting your note will deliver more joy than you can imagine. Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at