Saturday, January 9, 2010

Etiquette: The Art of the Thank You

It's that time of year: you've reaped the benefits of the holiday season and now it's time to show your gratitude with a thank you note. So often, the thank you note is something to be done, crossed off the list, gotten over with. But a thank you note is really so much more than that -- it's a chance to show your gratitude, to go on record and really acknowledge the act of giving. In this day and age of email and texts, the thank you note is an opportunity to personally craft something tangible and real. The best thank you notes will be re-read and sometimes even shared by the recipient (think of grandmothers who share thank you notes from their granchildren with their friends). But so often these days, thank you notes end up being boring form letters.

Here are some tips that we've pulled together for making thank you note writing feel more like an art and less like a homework assignment:

  • Write it, don't email it. Don't you get a little jolt of pleasure when you open your mailbox and find that rare, handwritten note inside? Share this little delight with your receipient by mailing your note instead of emailing it.
  • Use distincitve paper. Folded notes and stationery that reflect your personality elevate the thank you note writing process to more than just a menial task. Good paper feels good to write on. As one etiquette book states "the quality of your communication takes on the quality of the paper upon which it is written."* Distinctive stationery makes reading your note that much more enjoyable and exceptional for your recipient too.
  • Use your favorite pen. We all have one -- a pen that fits nicely in your hand, writes smoothly, and makes your handwriting look lovely (or at least legible!).
  • Make it memorable! Use adjectives that sparkle and shine as much as the gift. The goal is to craft something that relays the emotion you felt when you received the item or the joy you get when you use or look at it. Here's an excerpt from one of our personal favorites from an in-town relative: "Do I ever tell you how much I adore the bamboo towels? Scrumptious! And each day, soap opera time, lying under the soft, soft throw blanket -- someday, I may never get up. Come bring me supper!"
  • Even if the gift wasn't perfect or even something you'll keep, focus on the act of giving as you write your thank you note. Keep in mind, "the manner of giving is worth more than the gift."**
  • Get it done. The sooner you write your thank you notes, the sooner you can truly enjoy the gifts.

Above all, let your personality and gratitude shine through. Remember, "feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."*** Make your thank you note a little bit like a wrapped present in return.

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When you order 25 or more notes
Through Jan 31st, 2010

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Customized Address Stamps

* Baldridge, Letitia. Letitia Baldridge's New Manners for New Times; A Complete Guide to Etiquette.
**Pierre Corneille, Le Menteur
***William A. Ward

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