“Thank you” remains the best gift

Writing a “thank you” note following the holidays can be as threatening as picking out the right gift.  Why?  Some of us, haven’t  composed two or three simple sentences in a creative, single-thought paragraph since 8th grade English composition.  Here are five pointers that cover the basics.

Keep it simple.
  No one expects you to compose a eloquent, synapse of prose.   Small, decorative note cards ensure that you express your “thanks” and move on — use them. 

Three main points will do the job. Acknowledge the gift (e.g., I was delighted to recieve the handmade scarf); express it’s uniqueness (e.g., the color perfectly matches my favorite winter coat);  and simplywrap up with a word of appreciation  (e.g., it was thoughtful of you to remember me this time of year). 

Use up the good stuff.  Invariably you have been given a box of decorative, colorful note cards throughout the year.  Now is the time to pull out the good stuff.  Monogrammed?  Even better.  High-grade stationary?  Awesome.  Use it and plan ahead for next year by buying “thank you” cards 1/2 price after the holidays.

Ditto for the pen — top grade only.  Black ink goes with everything.  Make sure before you actually start writing that it’s not leaking, messy or creating a smudge.   

Hand address the envelope.   As tempting as it is to use the pre-printed address labels your insurance company sent, the most polished arrival will come with a hand-written properly addressed envelope.  The few extra seconds leaves a lasting impression.

Daily I’m reminded that very little is hand-written.   Birthday cards are created for us with pre-printed phrases and sentiments; emails, texts, and posts are done from pecking on the keyboard (my pecks come out looking just like yours); and with any luck, you’re writing fewer and fewer checks and do your banking online. 

“A handwritten note is like dining by candlelight instead of flicking on the lights, like making a gift instead of ordering a product, like taking a walk instead of driving. Handwritten notes will add a lot to your life. You can still use the telephone or the Web for the daily chores of staying in touch, but for the words that matter, it’s courteous, classy, caring, and civilized to pick up a pen.”  You’ll find this quote by Margaret Shepherd in her book “The Art of the Handwritten Note”. 

I gave copies of this book and a small stack of notecards to my closest friends this year for Christmas and asked that they write one note each month to someone who needs a word of cheer.  It’s a small start.   Look for one in the mail, or better yet, send one of your own.

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