One thing all southern women should know is how to write a note, be it a thank you note, sympathy note, or just thinking about you (these come in handy for those socially awkward times when a phone call would be difficult - some one's child has been arrested, their husband has been caught in a rather compromising position with his assistant, etc) I digress.
From the time we are able to write, we are given note cards with our names or initials on them. I never was sure if this was for decoration, to remind you what your name was, or to impress others (knowing southern mothers, I feel sure it is most likely the later.) Then we were taught the correct wording. "Thank you so very much." "It was so nice for you to have me." "What a lovely surprise." "I was delighted." Or for young boys "I apologize for . . . and promise I have learned my lesson."
As we grew up, it was just ingrained in us to write a note, something as natural as setting a table. I had one friend who was so obsessive she would write a note thanking someone for writing her a note. I never went that far. My handwriting is atrocious, so in my case, it is the thought that counts - and thank God for engraved note cards - at least they know who it is from.
Sending greeting cards is thoughtful and appreciative. That requires more effort than a personal note card. One has to actually go to the store, purchase the card, write a note in it, and mail it. That makes us, who just use our notes, look lazy. Both my mother and my mother-in-law had a regular Hallmark repository and stamps. (That is my downfall - I always have the note cards but sometimes lack the stamps). They kept cards for every occasion - they were prepared.
My mother has a talent for knowing when to mail a birthday card to anyone, anywhere in the United States so it will always arrive on their birthday. I never mastered that part of the postal system. My goal is to get past the "It's the thought that counts" part and actually write the note and get it mailed.
Now Christmas cards is a whole different ball game. I am thoroughly entertained by my friends who send their annual epistle informing everyone, whether they want to know or not, of little Mary Ellen and John Robert's school grades, athletic prowess, teachers' comments, and the family vacation. Please - spare me. And, the family pictures. We could never get the four of us together in one place, dressed decently, when we were all speaking to each other, long enough to have a picture taken. My girls were teenagers before I actually sent pictures of them with my Christmas cards. One sorority sister of mine replied that she had wondered if they really existed until she saw the pictures and the family resemblance was too much for them to be "borrowed" for the shot.