This Christmas, here’s a gift idea that’s a little different, but could make a lasting difference.

If you have read my book or heard me speak, you are familiar with the Tickler File. It the concept is new to you, hit reply on this email and I will send a portion of Chapter 1 from my book. It explains the tickler file in detail.


For the price of a milk create and 43 hanging folders, you can create a gift a person can use throughout their school and professional careers. I have used the concept for well over 30 years myself.

Let’s go a step further…

During a live workshop, one of the participants shared a use she has for her tickler file. Like many of us, she wanted to get better about routinely thanking people for what they had done or what they meant in her life. Like many of us, it just never happened. She never thought about writing thank-you notes when she had notecards in front of her.

One January day, she took 52 blank note cards, one for each week of the year. She scattered them through her tickler files. She had structured a system that caused a blank note card to pop up once each week. That was her trigger…her trigger to stop and use that blank note card to thank somebody for something.

Let’s go one more step further…

So before you wrap the tickler file, let’s go a step further. Take some blank note cards along with their envelopes and scatter them out through the tickler file. Explain to your loved one the importance and the joy of gratitude. Throughout the year, this loved one will be reminded it’s time to say thank you to one of the many people who has blessed his or her life.

And one more idea…

Will this person experience something significant during the coming year? Perhaps graduation, a marriage, or a move to a new place? At the very least, we all enjoy someone remembering our birthday. Take a moment to write your own letter. Seal it in the envelope with instructions write on the outside not to open until a particular day. Now drop those envelopes in the tickler file for the appropriate months. It a way to write your thoughts now that will be read later.

On that special morning, it won’t be the shiniest gift under the tree. And it will take some explaining. It’s certain a unique gift, one that’s practical, and one that just may change lives.

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