December 26, 2009

Thanks For Gifts

The gift giving is over and the thank you note writing begins. Growing up, my sister and I used to keep a list of family and friends who had given us Christmas gifts. We would split the list right after the holidays and write thank you notes on behalf of each other in our breakfast room. Jenny hated this chore so I usually ended up writing most of the notes, but it started a good habit in both of us. I remember mom always telling us to "Write bigger girls... it looks nicer and you won't have to write as much!" As a kindergarten teacher, my mother always wrote big and it's something I have to remind myself to do from now and again. Aside from "writing bigger", here are some useful tips I learned over years of crafting hundreds of social thank you notes.

-A thank you note can be as short as 3 sentences. Use folded stationery 3" by 5" (this size was made for notes). No need to fill an entire 4" by 6" correspondence card (that size is for correspondence, hence the name).

-Reference the present."Thank you for the pretty earrings."

-Mention something specific about the present you received (remarks about its craftsmanship, reasons why you like it etc.) "The cashmere gloves are very soft and sure to keep me warm this winter."

-Express enthusiasm even if you don't particularly like the present. You can express genuine enthusiasm over the thoughtfulness of the gift. "I cannot wait to use the fondue pot. It will be fun to use when friends come over!"

-Be yourself. There is no need to be formal if that isn't typically you. Use words and expressions that you would normally use in conversation. "The cookbook is amazing. I am using it already." rather than "What a marvelous cookbook." (Most of us don't talk like that, haha!)

-The closing sentence can restate thanks, mention warm wishes or reference the next time you will see the person. It doesn't have to relate to the gift . "I look forward to seeing you at the Winter Ball in January."

-You can sign off with something like "Love", "Fondly", "Sincerely", etc.

- I always read my note aloud back to myself just to make sure it sounds complete.

WHAT IF... receive money? Focus on the generosity of the gift and say how you will use the money. "Thank you for the generous check. I am going to put it towards a couch for my new apartment." cannot identify the gift? Do your best (this is tough) and focus your note on the thoughtfulness of the gift. receive a single gift from more than one person? Unless it's from a married couple or a family, write each individual a separate note. realize that you forgot to send a thank you note and weeks or even months have passed? Don't assume the gift giver forgot, because she didn't! Send a note of thanks even if it's very late. Write about how much you have been enjoying using the gift and do not mention excuses for why it's late. "Every time I buy fresh flowers I use that pretty rose bowl that you gave to me last fall. It always reminds me of your beautiful taste."

If your thank you note can be used over and over again then it isn't specific enough. Your goal is to convey genuine gratitude for a specific present. If you have a large list to get through like after a shower or wedding, tackle a few each night. Lastly, remember to "write big!"

-This post is dedicated to my mom, the most thoughtful woman alive.

Blog Design by: Simply Yours Designs