It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We’re all a little more grateful in the last few months of the year, so why not let someone know you appreciate them? There are some things in life that everyone should know how to do and today we’re going to make life easier by brushing up on our writing skills, thank-you note style. You may have been forced to write them as a kid, but now that you’re a grown-up, it’s time to revisit this lost art and learn to send a sincere note of gratitude.

For this task, we enlisted the help of an expert: Michelle Detwiler is a high school English teacher (and self-proclaimed grammar snob) that lives in Asheville, North Carolina.  Michelle teaches letter-writing every semester and gave us the following tips:

  1. Date your note. That being said, you need to write your note in a timely manner. If you get a gift, you should send a thank you note as soon as possible…but definitely within a month.
  2. “Dear (state their name),” is the correct salutation.  Oh, and make sure the recipient’s name is spelled correctly. This may sound like a no-brainer, but if your uncle spells his name “Stephen” and you write a note to your Uncle “Steven,” you’re not setting a very thoughtful tone.
  3. The first words on your note should be “Thank you.” Thank the person for the gift, mention the occasion, and talk about something specific you will use the gift for or like particularly enjoy.  “Someone took the time to get you a gift,” Michelle said, “Don’t write a generic note that doesn’t show the giver that you know what you’re talking about or that fails to mention that you enjoy the gift.”
  4. Thank them again for your gift.
  5. End with a closing (“Sincerely,” always works) and sign your name.

“And DEFINITELY don’t email a thank you note,” Michelle added. It’s true…everyone likes to get something other than a bill in the mail. Who knows? Maybe 2018 will be the year we bring handwritten notes back in style.

Rather give than receive? Stay organized with the Jokari Gift Wrap and Bag Organizer.


When you’re a busy parent, taking care of yourself always falls behind taking care of your family. It’s a logical sacrifice, but you need to be careful to not spread yourself too thin. If you don’t occasionally take a little while to relax and treat yourself, the stress and pressure will eventually cause major health issues. Instead, try these little things to pamper yourself between parent duties.

bouquet of flowers

If you’re out grocery shopping and a bouquet catches your eye, splurge and buy it. Having fresh flowers in the house not only cheers you up but livens up the place, boosting the mood of everybody else.

Grab a spare notebook and pen and start keeping a journal. Chronologing your day will help you make sense of it amid all the busyness. If you’re feeling particularly daring, try planning out your memoirs.

Sweeping or dusting? Put on some music and dance along as you clean up. It’ll make a dreary chore more bearable, and the physical activity will give you energy and motivation. Plus, it might even convince your kids to come and help!

crossword puzzles

If you get a daily paper, try doing the included crossword puzzle. It’ll challenge your brain and can be easily set aside when you need to run. Alternatively, most bookstores and discount shops offer cheap collections of crosswords.

Book yourself a day at a local spa well in advance and indulge in a little R&R. For those looking to save money, get a bath bomb or some bubble bath and take a nice soak after the kids have gone to bed. You can also buy a premade facial mask from many health and beauty stores.

Been a while since you caught up with your pals? Book a lunch date at a new restaurant or someplace your kids would hate. Enjoy a nice meal and then go window shopping afterward. Even just enjoying a walk is better with some good company.

relaxing chair with candles

Much like the time-out corner, a “you” spot is where you go to be quiet and undisturbed. Place your favorite pillows and blankets there and a candle in your favorite scent. Whenever you feel like you’re about to pull out your hair, retreat and relax.

Settling the kids down for a midafternoon snooze? Join them! A quick nap will leave you energized and refreshed. Just be careful to not sleep for too long, as that can leave you fatigued for the rest of the day.

If the weather’s nice, take a walk outside with your kids or pets. The exercise is beneficial, and the fresh air will help your mood. When walking’s out of the question, sit on a porch or deck or at least open a window.

Yoga is incredibly easy to do, but it’s not the only type of meditation out there. Do research and find the method that works for you. If you’re religious, you can incorporate prayer or scripture into your routine.


Been meaning to learn knitting? Want to pick up the ukulele? Have a badminton kit sitting around you’ve never used? How about woodworking? Teach yourself or find a class to learn a new skill or hobby.

Write a list of four things you’re grateful or thankful for each day. Focusing on the positive will help improve your overall mood. Alternatively, write down five good things that happened to you today; the result will be more or less the same.

What do you do to pamper yourself, busy parents? Let us know down in the comments!