Friday, February 13, 2015

Notes of Thanks

I feel like I've spent a good portion of the last 2.5 years writing thank you notes.

That's what happens when you get engaged, then have an engagement party, then have several bridal showers, then get married, then get pregnant, then have several baby showers, then have a baby, then get that baby baptized...  Man, we've been busy!

I was raised to write thank you notes for every gift I received.  My mom always stressed the importance of expressing gratitude in writing when others were generous enough to give me a gift.  After every birthday and each Christmas, my sister and I would sit down at the kitchen table and write out thank you notes to friends and family.  If they weren't completed within a week of receiving a gift, we would have to send the gift back.

While I didn't enjoy writing thank you notes as a child, I'm so glad my mom made me do it.  It is something I still do to this day, without question, and you can bet I'm going to make my kids do it, too. Even "just because" gifts and gestures are reciprocated with a thank you note from me.  It's what I do.

I just finished writing the thank you notes for all of the gifts Max received for his baptism (literally, I finished 5 minutes ago.  Had to do a few a day for the past week).  I bought special "cross" cards for the baptism thank yous, but I also always have several different ones on hand, just in case.  You never know when you'll need one!

A sampling of the cards I have on hand
You can usually find me perusing the Target Dollar Spot and the dollar aisles at Michaels for cute little packs of cards to keep around the house.  Some are dedicated thank you cards and others are blank cards.  Both come in handy.

I certainly hope the thank you note doesn't become obsolete.  A good majority of our communication these days is done through email, social media, or text message.  But the thank you note must live on!  I think it is so important to send these little notes of gratitude.  They are more personal when they are hand-written and sent through the mail as opposed to being sent via email.  Besides, who doesn't love receiving snail mail that isn't junk or bills?!

As I mentioned, I've written my fair share of thank you notes, especially in the last couple years.  I've consulted a few websites here and there to help hone my technique.  Here are some great tips I've found to help create a nice template for a well-written thank you note that comes from the heart.

{Not all steps will apply to every thank you note you write.}

1.  Greeting.  Be sure to address each person that the gift was from by name.  Make sure you spell all names correctly!
Dear Aunt Judy,
Dear Cecilia and George, 

2.  Express gratitude for attendance at your event.   If you received the gift at a party, shower, or other event, be sure to thank the guest for attending.  Tell them how their presence made the event more special.  If the person could not attend the event but still sent a gift, let them know they were missed.
I'm so glad you could come to my birthday party.  It was so much fun celebrating my birthday with you.
We missed you at my baby shower!  It was a lovely day celebrating our baby boy.

3.  Express thanks for the gift and tell how it will be used.  Be sure to convey how much you appreciate the thought that went into choosing the gift, even if it's money--tell them how you'll spend it.
Thank you so much for the pajama set.  I can't wait to cozy up in them with a movie and popcorn!
I just love the adorable clothes you gave us for baby Joey.  He is going to look so handsome in those overalls!

4.  Look ahead.  Mention the next time you might see them.
I'll see you next month at Lucy's birthday party.
Hope to see you again soon!

5.  Restate your thanks.  Try to add new details.
Thank you again for your generosity.  We can't wait to use our new china set.
I feel so blessed that you could celebrate with me.  I couldn't imagine turning another year older without you!

6.  End with your regards.
Many thanks,
With love,

Of course, I take some liberties with this template, depending on who the recipient is.  I'm more formal with my mom's boss and some family acquaintances.  I get a little silly with my sister or close friends.  The bottom line is to make sure the recipient knows how grateful you are and that your message comes from the heart.
Do you write thank you notes?  What do you like to include to express gratitude?

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