After polishing off a home-cooked meal provided by a friend or family member, I can think of no greater gesture than sending a thank you card. Is this tradition dying off? My Southern mama taught me many things: the joys of climbing a magnolia tree, how to shoot a bb gun, ride a horse bare back and what makes a biscuit a biscuit (no square edges and not too sweet!), but of all the fun genteel traditions, the one I return to the most is the simple thank you card.
a few examples of collage thank you cards I've made over the years.
Part of entertaining is thinking about being a gracious guest. We at the Kitchn have been covering the ins and outs of celebrating with drink, food and lots of laughter, but what happens when you attend a great event, instead of host one? Do you bring flowers or champagne? I always like to bring a little something, even if the host says don't bother. A plate of stinky cheese and olives or a bowl of cherries won't be turned down, upstage the main event and won't cause excess dishes (work for the host).
I enjoy having my materials easily accessible, better for impromptu card-making.
When I get home from such a dinner or party, I actually look forward to making a quick thank you card. This small measure takes less than twenty minutes and can mean a great deal to your host. As a kid, I loved to make collages and use wacky materials in my artwork, and I find the thank you card allows me to channel this childhood pastime. In the midst of working on a computer for many hours everyday, I see card-making as an opportunity to insert some 'play' into my adult life. Armed with my collection of Japanese masking tapes, photographs, pages from magazines, fabric, glue and some paints, I whip up a card to say thanks. Making a collage card takes the pressure off "being an artist," it's the medium everyone can succeed in. I always thought of it as the people's art form, for artistic pros, novices, kids and grown ups. It just takes a little time and effort. That being said, a simple post card or sheet of paper to scrawl a hand-written note will do just fine as well. Think of the smile on your friend's face as she opens her mail box.
Obviously, I'm an unabashed fan of the posted thank you card, especially in our hyper-connected internet ways. Something tactile, real and sincere to pin to your fridge, it's just fun and kind. It's also what my Mississippi Mama taught me was right, and I do as my Mama says.
Related: 8 Simple Tips to Make Your Dinner Guests Feel Comfortable
(Images and collages: Leela Cyd Ross)