Thursday, January 03, 2013

How to Write a Thank You Note

Do you send handwritten thank you notes for the gifts you get over the holidays? 

When I was a little girl, thank you note writing was a must and it is a habit I haven't grown out of. Many years I'll find a pretty packet of cards in my Christmas stocking and I'll spend part of the afternoon on Christmas day curled up by the fire and writing a few notes. This year, we visited my favorite hometown bookstore for their New Year's Day sale. I picked up a set of small cards embossed with a traditional looking gold THANK YOU and when I got home, I pulled out a good pen and got to work. The steadily growing pile of handwritten cards filled with thanks and a few holiday memories gave me a lot of satisfaction and seemed like a great way to start the new year. 

This year, one of my resolutions is to send hand written acknowledgement whenever possible. Texts are immediate and emails are too, but they still seem vaguely impersonal. But even the simplest hand written note or postcard is enough to make someone feel good on a so-so day. 

A Few Quick Tips for Thank You Note Writing:

Don't be afraid to keep it short. My father loves to send postcards, a habit I've adopted too. There's no better way to say a quick, colorful thank you for a homemade meal or thoughtful treat. 

Be yourself. The handwritten note is highly personal. There's no spell check, and no real way to delete something if it didn't come out exactly the way you intended. Don't worry about this stuff. The recipient will be glad to know that you received the gift and happy to know it was appreciated even if the ink is smudged. 

Send a thank you for every gift, even if it wasn't a perfect fit. It's the thought that counts, remember?

Be genuine. The cold, impersonal thank you note is almost worse than no note at all. 

Make the writing enjoyable. Take the time to carve a bit of space in your brain. The handwritten note demands you sit down and devote your attention to one person and one gift, that you say (or try to say) exactly the right thing. But the truth is, you don't need to say exactly the right thing. You just need to send a genuine thank you that lets people know you appreciate the effort put forth on your behalf. 

Inspired? Some of my favorite sources for beautiful thank you notes are: Egg Press, Oblation Papers & Press, Anemone Letterpress, and Rifle Paper Co. 

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