June 20, 2020
Father’s Day is around the corner, and there are many reasons why writing a thoughtful note to your dad is an appealing idea. The world is struggling in many ways today, and it’s important to take the time to connect and let others know how important they are to you. Writing a personal note is always a powerful gesture, and in my case, after decades of Father’s Days, gift-giving for gift-giving’s sake is less expected in my family – I mean, I’m sure my dad does not need another bottle opener or bottle of BBQ sauce. I pulled together a list of steps that have helped me write a heartfelt and honest message to my dad. Whether you pair your note with a beautiful gift, or offer it as its own gift, here are some tips to help you write a note that your dad will want to keep forever.
No matter what your family values, remember that it is the words that matter most. You don’t need Hallmark-style sparkles, noises, and pop-ups to distract from your statement. Before stressing over getting the perfect Father’s Day Card or stationery to write on, consider your dad’s style. In my case, I’ve found that my most cherished notes aren’t on fancy stationary: my dad often writes me meaningful messages on sticky notes, napkins, and plain notepad paper. Conversely, some dads appreciate the craftsmanship of a well-designed piece of stationary or the elegant marksmanship of printed materials. If your dad is a card person, I would recommend Love Pop for something that stands out or any card that seems to really speak to him and what he cares about.
When I write a snail mail message, I start by gathering my materials. I keep it simple: pencil, paper, envelope, and stamp. (Bonus points if you can hand-deliver and don’t need the stamp.) But you can also consider including other fun goodies in your letter. For example, since my dad’s a music guy, I also made him a playlist of songs that remind me of him. You can also include photos.
Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. But you’ve got this! If you’re worried about messing up the first take, start on a piece of scratch paper or draft your notes on a computer (oh hey, 2020). When you’re in ‘brainstorming’ mode – don’t overthink it. Remember that you can always edit later. There are many different directions you can take, but if you’re having trouble getting started, think of 3 things that you are grateful to your dad for. Gratitude is a great foundation to any thank you note.
If the words aren’t coming to you, don’t be hard on yourself. Take some time to think about it and return to writing when you feel ready. It often takes a few days after I start thinking of a concept for ideas to come to me. I can certainly muscle through writer’s block when needed, but it’s not usually an enjoyable process or as good an outcome.
I find the most meaningful messages come from being myself. Similar to buying a gift and asking yourself if your dad is a “tech dad,” “wellness dad,” “golf dad,” or similar, you can go through a similar exercise with writing. Does your Dad always add humor to both the best and the worst days? Is he the rock of your family? Has he made sacrifices for you and your siblings? This letter is an opportunity to recognize the qualities about your dad that resonate most with you. Don’t be afraid to share them!
Not sure who needs to hear this, but you put your letter in an envelope, stamp it, address it, and put it in the mail. 😉 I use a USPS drop box down the street. For the digital natives out there, here is an overview of how to address an envelope. You can buy stamps online, or at your local USPS, UPS, or even at the Costco check-out lane, where you can nab stamps in bulk.
Happy writing and Happy Father’s Day!