Now THIS is how to write a thank you note!

According to Hallmark, the hardest part of writing a thank you note is simply getting started.

Boy, do I know this all too well. I just spent an entire day crafting the “perfect” thank you letter (25 to be exact) to people who donated money to BiG, the vocational day program that Kinsey attends four days a week.

My struggle was to come up with something that was sincere, informative, funny and hardest of all brief.  I don’t know why, but if there is a huge swath of white left on a page I feel compelled to fill it with words.

Etiquette experts also strongly suggest that thank you notes would be hand written.

Since I rarely write anything with a pen and paper these days, my handwriting pretty much sucks. And so I type things, which of course means my “canvass” is an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper.

Please now refer to my previous comment about big blank spaces on a page. MUST FILL WITH WORDS. (Say that out loud in a Frankenstein voice, it explains everything.)

In addition to hand-written notes, both Peggy Post and have informed me that thank you notes should be sent out promptly,  like within a month of the event or gift being received. Anything later than that, then you better add a brief apology on top of the thank you. I’m guessing “My bad” is not considered good form.

Sidebar: So to all new brides out there, the “wedding gifts should be acknowledged within one year of receipt” line I grew up with is total bullshit. If you don’t want to be thought of as a TOTAL SLACKER, you need to write and send that thank you note, no later than 3 months.  (Also, I don’t think you should be stuck writing all the thank you notes. Get your new husband to help too! If he gets to enjoy a brand new coffee maker, he can certainly write a damn thank you note!)

Since Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanza fast approaching, and generally involve the giving of gifts, I thought I’d pass on these nifty “thank you note writing tips” that I learned courtesy of in case you needed a refresher.

Every thank you note should include the following:

  1. A Greeting (Dear Grandma,)
  2. An Express your thanks (Thank you so much for…)
  3. Specific details  about how you plan to use the gift (I plan to use the birthday money to …)
  4. A Look ahead (Mention the next time you might your wonderful benefactor, or just let them know you’re thinking of them)
  5. End with your regards (Sincerely, Warm regards, Love,)

Of course, I found a superb example of a thank you note in my late father’s cache of letters dating from 1950. It was written by my brother Mike who sent this letter of thanks for a Christmas gift from his his godparents.

Mike's thank you 1

It’s brilliant! AND he included all five points a thank you note should include. I wonder what happened to the lizard though?

So what about you? Do you write thank you notes, or just dash off a quick email with your thanks? Do you even expect thank you notes when you send a gift, or do you just stew about it when your gift never gets acknowledged. Talk to me. I want to know!

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