Thursday, May 17, 2012

Paper with a purpose

Think about the humble little Thank You Note.  There are so many little virtues nestled in that tiny tradition.
  • When we write a "thank you", we focus on gratitude, remembering that we have things not because we deserve them, but because of another person's generosity.  Thank You Notes are good for us.
  • By acknowledging other people's generosity, we let those people know they're valued, that their efforts aren't going unnoticed.  Thank You Notes are good for other people.
  • When we write a note, we create another link between us and that person.  We strengthen bonds, little by little.  Thank You Notes are good for relationships.
Enter, card stock -- a sturdy paper, thicker than usual printer paper but not quite as thick as cardboard.  I bought a giant pile of it five years ago.  I paid real money for it.  I still have a lot left.  I love it.

I'm a big believer in a hand-written thank you note, but not the kind that has a fancy "Thank You" pre-printed on front with a generic "Thank you for the nice gift" hastily scribbled above a signature on the inside.

No, I'm a fan of the thank you card that has at least three sentences, only the last of which begins with "Thank you".  The first two sentences are specific and warm.  "My sons have learned so much with you this year.  They especially appreciated the extra help you gave them with math -- as did I.  Thank you for a wonderful year."

I make two cards per page (I love my paper cutter, too).  I can print all sorts of cool pictures on the front of card stock -- my sons' school logo, if I'm thanking his teachers, for example, or a photograph.  Or I can glue things to the front:  dried flowers or even a comic.  It's another way to personalize the card, to make it special without paying Hallmark prices.

And having a large pile of card stock at my desk not only makes it easy to dash off a card, but it also reminds me -- compels me, even -- to do so.

In fact, there are many kinds of paper that I love to use. In spite of (or maybe even because of) my rant yesterday about the kinds of paper I do NOT use, there is another side of my relationship with paper.  Here is a set of shelves in my office devoted to carefully organized sets of paper.

There are definitely piles of what I might call "category B" papers -- things I didn't buy and am just hanging onto for everyday use, paper not invited to the grand paper party.  This includes note pads, a pile of pre-cycled white paper, and a pile of pre-cycled colored paper.  (I use the pre-cycled paper in the printer for things like charity receipts, directions to a place I'm going just once, grocery lists, signs, and other information to myself).

But there's some nice paper here, too.  The parchment paper, it's for my planner pages.  Organizing is an important experience for me, and the way the page looks influences me.  In this area, I am a hedonist.  I buy really nice paper for my planner.

There's neon-bright paper.  That's for Mommy Dollars.  Again, for effect.

And there's card stock.  Once again, for effect, but also for gratitude.  For greetings.  For connecting with other people.  For providing a resting place for my little squeezable cow.  Yes.

1 comment:

  1. I need to start buying parchment for my planner. I've been making inserts using plain old paper and sometimes it tears or bleeds through.