Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Beauty of Thank You Notes (REAL ONES!)

WHat has happened with the world?? Somewhere, the art of writing a thank you note has gotten lost in the day to day operations of technology. Now, instead of sitting down withour stationary and pencil, we can zip one off on our computer, add a recipient and zoom it off to them through the world wide web.

What happened to our card boxes? What happened to going to Hallmark or American Greetings and buying the packages of thank you notecards? Now there are so many services online that can send cards for you through email. You can even PAY a company to send out real cards for you, but how impersonal is that??
I will tell you from personal experience, people want a REAL thank you note. Sending off a generic email from evite or yahoo greetings just doesnt cut the mustard. They honestly like actual thank you letters in the post than through the impersonal computer. A Real hand written thank you note(yes, hand written, not typed on MS word) conveys thoughtfulness, caring and appreciation.
My Grandmother Beatrice was a FANTASTIC thank you note writer. She even gave me my own box of stationary and taught me the proper way to write them. Here is what I have been told since I was old enough to write.
The very fist rule of Thank You Note Writing is this:
***ALWAYS SEND A THANK YOU NOTE within 2 weeks of receiving a gift. ***

1. Always start out with "Dear _________" (add persons name here). This is obvious. You are writing specifically to that person, and believe it or not it makes them feel good to see their own name. (Dear Aunt Bulah)

2. Thank you for the ________________. (insert item, service hospitality etc). You dont need to start off with "just a quick note" or "I wanted to write you to say...". A straighforward thank you for such and such is suficient. Thank you for the socks, thank you for your hospitality etc. HOWEVER, when money is concerned, you should usually say "Thank you so much for your generous gift,". Money shouldn't be mentioned directly, it is tacky. Appropriate euphamisms are "kindness" or "generosity" or "thoughtfulness".
Always let the giver know how much it was appreciated. (Thank you so much for the beautiful blankets you knitted for Joe and John)
3. Follow up with a positive attribute of the gift(even if you hate it) and how you will get use out of it. example. That acrylic snowman is the perfect Christmas decoration for our table during the holidays! His little hat is so cute and the boys love to plug it in and see it light up!" (speaking from personal experience here folks)
If the gift is monetary, you can say something like "we are really looking forward to buying a new blender" etc. Let them know their money (oops, I mean generosity) is going to good use. You definately dont want to let them know you went out to the bar and got drunk on your birthday with their 50 bucks.(The colors were perfect for their bedroom and the yarn was so soft. They really love snuggling with them and they are getting plenty of use!)
4. Mention them again, usually in the context of "it was great to see you at The New Years Party". Then let them know you are looking forward to seeing them again in the future. (It was really nice to see you at Grandmas 80th Birthday and I cant wait to see you again in June at the Family reunion)

5. Reiterate again the thank you and the appreciation. (Again, thank you for the time and effort you took to make those wonderful gifts for the boys. We really appreciate them)
6. Sign off. Usually "love" or "regards" or Sincerely" will do (Love Always, Sarah)
END IT THERE. Do not fill this thank you note with trials and tribulations, bragging, boasting etc. The thank you note is strictly for THANK YOU.
PERSONALIZE YOUR CARD! what I usually do is take a picture of the item in use(i.e. boys with blankets) and add the picture in with the thank you note. This way they have a tangible thank you and it shows the gift was really appreciated.
If it is a small child who cant write yet, have them draw a little picture or make a little scribble on the note. Start them early!
  • Get a photobox from Michaels, Target, Walmart, Hobby lobby etc.
  • Purchase an inexpensive address book
  • Get a small pack of bic pens
  • Purchase Thank youu cards or writing tablet with envelopes.
  • Go to the Post office and buy a booklet of stamps. But the stamps that are mostly your personality. Most of my Thank yOu notes go out with Star Wars or Disney Stamps on them.
KEEP EVERYTHING IN THIS BOX! That way when it is time to write your thank you note, you will have everything you need right in front of you in this box. Also, keep the box in a place you will be able to find it.(Again, speaking from experience) No use in having all this stuff if you cant find the box!!!
Make sure your address book is up to date. When you receive a gift or letter from someone, check the return address against the address you have written in your book.
Fill your box with Thank you Cards. You can buy them preprinted and prepackaged. You can make them. Or you can buy a writing tablet at any drugstore and use that. Generally prepackaged thank you cards or handmade cards you buy come with envelopes. If you buy a writing tablet or make your cards, make sure you have the right size envelope.
For handmade cards (4.25 x 5.5) the invitation sized envelopes are what you need. Otherwise you can buy regular standard envelopes for the writing tablet.

ETSY SELLERS WITH THANK YOU NOTES I especially LOVE these Ladybugs ---->

<----- These black beauty cards are stunning I am in LOVE with this ------>
embroidered pink floral card. So cute.

<--------- I LOVE this felted flower bouquet card. these are simply adorable. Set of 6, you cant go wrong! ------------------->

<------- (you didnt think I wouldnt promote myself did you??)
So get out there. Rediscover the beauty of writing a thank you letter and dont let the hubbub abd bustle of todays world keep you from keeping this art form alive.

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