Happy Whiners Day

By Laura Haight

It may seem a bit of a joke played on us by those who determine when national days will be celebrated, but today - Dec. 26 - is both National Whiners Day and National Thank You Card Day. 

According to the National Day Calendar folks, National Whiners Day was created by Rev. Kevin Zaborney in 1986 in hopes of encouraging people to be thankful for what they have instead of being unhappy “whining” about what they do not have. There may be things to whine about –family stressors, the cleanup that comes behind the big holiday celebration, the inevitable over-eating – one thing Zaborney did not want to encourage was whining about what we didn't get for Christmas. Appreciate that reindeer sweater, put it away until next year and write a nice note...

Because today is also National Thank You Note Day. There's a paucity of information on how this day came about and even though there is a hashtag for social media mavens (#NationalThankYouNoteDay) it seems that one hallmark of this day is physicality. It's not National Text A Thank You Emoji Day or National Send An E-ThankYou Card Day. The nice thing about notes is the media is small, the message short. 

Jimmy Fallon brought the Thank You Note back into the spotlight with his weekly skit, but it turns out that writing notes is coming back into vogue.  New York Times says scientific research links the expression of gratitude to increased optimism, stress reduction and a better night’s sleep. 

It takes very little to write a note: a card, a pen and a stamp. But the difference in the receiver is palpable. You just don't get the same feeling when you read the exact same words in an email or a text, as you do when you find a handwritten note in amongst the catalogs, ads and bills that the only residents of your mailbox anymore. 

The Times tells the story of a young woman - the 2014 Mardi Gras Queen - and her take on notes.

One of the first things Carroll Irene Gelderman, a Columbia University student from New Orleans, did when she was named the 2014 Queen of Carnival was to order new stationery. As custom dictates, Mardi Gras queens are typically showered with tribute by their courts, and Ms. Gelderman was no different. Before Fat Tuesday rolled round, she had already received over 600 individual gifts.

The pearl white cards Ms. Gelderman chose for her thank-you notes are engraved in dove gray ink by Arzberger and bear her name engraved in Roman lettering at the top. The envelopes were lined with gray-and-white patterned paper, and a custom shade of ink slightly darker than the paper was ordered from Iroshizuku to fill her fountain pen.

“Like a lot of people in my generation, I might think, ‘Oh, just send them a text,’ ” said Ms. Gelderman, who is 20. “But I actually enjoyed writing the notes because in the process of opening a note, feeling the paper, seeing the imperfection of the writing, reading the message in another person’s voice, you actually feel like you have a piece of that person in your hand.”

So today while we look around at whatever Christmas has left behind – a bounty of gifts, a pile of dishes, a ration of laughter or anger, don't get sucked into whining. Say Thank You to someone for being thoughtful, being a great client, or sending you a gift card you will never use — with a pen, a card and a stamp.