(credit: Donna Schwartz Mills)

Did you know that September 19 is National Gratitude Day? This is not the same holiday as International Thank You Day on January 11, or Thank You Note Day on December 26, or Thanksgiving every November.

I suppose it’s not too surprising that someone has designated more than one occasion where we’re supposed to show some gratitude to the people who have made a difference in our lives. I know that despite my good intentions, I have a really hard time writing out thank you notes after a big occasion like an anniversary or birthday.

Apparently, I am not alone. Fortunately, there is an app for that, created by local entrepreneurs Ciaran Blumenfeld and Ana Roca Castro. With IGiftThanks, you can use your iPhone to track gifts and occasions and then send your family and friends the notes of gratitude they deserve.

Of course, this app won’t be of much use for you if you don’t currently own a smartphone or tablet. Or maybe you prefer showing gratitude the old-fashioned way, with a handwritten note. One trick that’s worked for me is to have plenty of pretty, elegant thank you cards on hand; the kind that are so nice I start looking for excuses to exit my e-mail and get out a pen. Here are a few good sources around Los Angeles:

(credit: Donna Schwartz Mills)

Presence Studio City

13033 Ventura Blvd Ste C
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 386-0602
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This place is so new that it doesn’t have a sign yet – which explains why I drove past it three times on Ventura before finally parking the car two blocks away and setting out on foot.
It was worth the walk.

Owners Linda Levie and Sharyl Smith have put together an eclectic collection of stationery and gifts in this charming little boutique. They carry about a half dozen lines of beautiful greeting cards. As with the other retailers on this list, you can order custom imprinted notepaper and cards here, too – and the owners will work with you to bring it in on your budget.

By the way: As I left, I noticed that there’s complimentary valet parking available on this busy stretch of Ventura. So next time, I won’t have to walk as far.

(credit: jonathanwright.com)

Jonathan Wright & Co.

7404 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 931-1710
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This traditional stationer has a lovely selection of whimsical thank you notes that seem at once classic and contemporary. Many are originals, created on their own 100-year-old letterpress. In fact, the whole place has a kind of Victorian England vibe – which makes sense, because those were people who had the manners to write a proper thank you.

(credit: soolip.com)

Soolip Paperie & Press

8646 Melrose Ave.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 360-0545
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Owner Wanda Wen is passionate about paper, whether it be cards or gift wrap. And that passion really shows through the array of exquisite handmade greeting cards (which the shop’s website claims are “sacrosanct,”) and wide range of blank card stock and envelopes. Don’t worry if you have trouble coming up with the right words; these cards will make your message seem eloquent. Word of warning: “handmade,” “artisan,” and “quality” do not come cheap – but thanking someone in style is priceless, right?

(credit: landisstationery.com)

Landis Gifts and Stationery

138 N Larchmont Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(323) 465-7003
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One of the most charming stores in one of the city’s most charming commercial areas, the Landis General Store is a Los Angeles tradition, operating in this location since the 1930’s. Landis Gifts and Stationery seems to have split from the original store. If it’s thank you notes and cards you want, take my advice and go directly through the stationery door; because if you start looking at all the beautiful gift items in the main store, you may never get around to it.

Besides, the card and stationery designs are enough to keep you occupied. If it’s personalized notes you want, you’ll find the usual suspects (like Crane’s) as well as artist’s lines, like Christina Kasperkovitz. Designs range from classic to retro to downright funky, and if you’re like me, the toughest part of shopping here will be making a final decision.

(credit: sugarpaper.com)

Sugar Paper

1749 Ensley Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 277-7804

225 26th street, #27
(in the Brentwood Country Mart)
Santa Monica, CA 90402
(310) 451-7870
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The notepaper and cards on display in these lovely shops would make Martha Stewart proud. In fact, their invitations have been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings among other publications.
If off-the-shelf is not personal enough, you can have your thank you notes custom designed – and the stores’ website features a pretty thorough glossary of all the options you might consider for your bespoke stationery. They even offer some helpful tips on invitation and thank you etiquette.

(credit: sugar-press.com)

Sugar Press

13011 Newport Ave., Suite 103
Tustin, CA 92780
(714) 730-5500
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This is one of the OC’s “Go-To” spots for wedding invitations. And while special events may be their bread and butter, you’ll find a nice assortment of social stationery and greeting cards that will go a long way towards saying “thanks.”

Donna Schwartz Mills publishes the blog SoCal Mom.