Of all the fun, fab and useful items on this year's Favorite Things list, my favorite Favorites are some one-of-a-kind stationery sets.

They're the perfect tool to create the best gift ever, a gift whose value to both giver and receiver will be priceless.

It is the gift of words straight from the heart.

Over the years, I've received some amazing notes, letters and messages. And I've found that they get even better with time.

Notes from Mike Nichols and Sidney Poitier and Barbara Walters. Nelson Mandela and Coretta Scott King. From the people closest to me: Stedman, Gayle, Bob Greene. And my daughters in South Africa. A niece and some cousins have shared words from their heart—about me, to me—that mattered.

All these words live in a treasure box of letters that I cherish.

Photo: Ruven Afanador

What I know for sure: Words matter. And when they're written and not just spoken, they last forever.

It's an irresistible way to immediately connect: "I love you and appreciate you, and here's why."

The simpler the acknowledgment, the better. People pay more attention when they notice that you noticed the little things.

One example: I sprained my knee this summer while hiking. Every night, without being asked, Stedman prepared an ice pack to help ease the swelling.

It was such a sweet gesture. So I didn't just thank him—I wrote him a note.

"It's the thought that counts" carries such meaning and value when you actually take the time to share the thought. During the holidays, and all days.


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