Break out a pen and show some grace
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
As the holidays, approach an etiquette conundrum arises. After all the nifty gifts have been unpapered on a delightful morning, the question of when and how, or even if, to write a thank you note arises.
Proper word choice for addressing the older generations, what medium to use, how long these notes of gratitude can be postponed until they are void, and other dilemmas rear their ugly heads.
Writing thank you notes is never a fun chore, unless the author has a particular penchant for spewing her feelings across some fine stationary, but it can be an easily conquered one.
Speaking of fine stationary, that is not a necessity. A light colored note card with a lovely, possibly generic design will work. Your mom, and Wal-Mart, both usually have a large selection close at hand. Avoid plain white printer paper or notebook paper, unless you are a five-year-old and enjoy writing in crayon. Also avoid email thank-you notes.
After paper has been acquired, think about the writing utensil. Crayons are for small children or brilliant artists. Pencils are for the insecure. Find a nice, smooth-writing blue or black ink pen. Even if the handwriting itself is not the best, the contrast of dark ink on white paper will provide a crisp visual.
According to themorningnews.org, there are six things to keep in mind while writing the actual note.
First, greet the giver. People like seeing their names. It makes it more personal. DEAR UNCLE RON AND AUNT NETTIE
Second, say thank you. It might seem simple, but that is all that is necessary. If the gift was money, avoid directly mentioning the money. Use “generosity” or some other vague word instead. THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY.
Third, talk about how it will be used. IT WILL BE GOING TOWARD MY NEW LIFE-SIZED MOOSE SCULTPURE.
Fourth, include them in your life and talk about the future. I AM GLAD I GOT TO SPEND THAT WEEKEND WITH YOU GUYS LAST AUGUST, AND I HOPE I CAN COME BACK AND FIX THAT HOLE IN YOUR WALL SOON.
Fifth, say thanks again. THANKS AGAIN.
Sixth, sign your name with the appropriate ending. YOURS TRULY, EMILY SNOOK.
After each note has been handcrafted with love, address them, put a stamp on them and send them off like they are the plague. It is preferable to exterminate this plague as soon as possible, which means within a month of receiving the gift, but “better late than never” completely applies in this case. Just add a line asking forgiveness of your tardiness and be glad relatives cannot assign detentions.
Not only do handwritten thank-you notes allow a connection to be built between gift givers and gift receivers, it assists in the gift receiving for next year. People like to know their gift actually made it to your house, if it was shipped, and they like to feel appreciated. Knowing the post office by your house works will show relatives that they can send as many gifts as desired.