Handwritten notes seem to be a thing of the past. It’s the kind of thing that people oft forget to do, and we pretend to long for the bygone time when they were popular. The truth of the matter is though that you have to be taught the importance of the note. As a kid, my mom forced me to sit down and write thank you notes for any gifts I received. I dreaded it. It could have been a battle she wasn’t willing to fight, but she never gave in to it. This isn’t to say that I was an ungrateful kid. I would receive a present and immediately run up to hug the person who gave it to me and tell them how much I loved it. I thought this was enough. It was only with the hours in front of the note card emblazoned with Thank You on the front that I began to realize the importance of the token. It was something that the person would have forever, and they could reread it. It was a purposeful moment taken out of your time to acknowledge the other person’s thoughtfulness with your own. Writing thank you notes was never easy though. You should have seen some of my early incarnations, because I promise they were something else.
At first, I would always thank the person for the gift I had received or token of their time. Then I’d go on to compliment something I knew about them. Afterward I would thank them again. Now, I’m no expert on manners or the art of the thank you note, but I have written more than a few in my life (especially now). I can share with you a few things I learned over the years.
1. Always mention the gift you received.
This is important, because you want the person receiving the note to know that you are not writing one generic letter to everyone. You don’t have to mention the specifics of how much money they gave you if the gift was monetary, but you should mention the fact it was money.
2. Explain how you intend to use the gift.
This allows the giver to know that you have plans for the gift in the future, and it let’s them know you will remember them when doing it. We recently received a deep fat fryer at my house so I made sure to mention my love of all things Southern and deep fried. This means that when I make fried pickles in the coming months I’ll think of the person who gave it to us and smile.
3. Whenever possible invite them over to share in the use of your new gift.
It is polite in my opinion. I usually do this with people I am close friends with or who have been in my home previously if the item is for my home. One alternative to this is making the person something with the item you received. If you received clothing or jewelery be sure to wear it in that person’s presence. They’ll remember if they never see you wear it. Either way state any use you see for the item in the future in the note such as “I plan to wear this necklace to my high school reunion.”
Those are my top 3 tips for writing any thank you note. Do you usually write thank you notes? What do you include?