Friday, December 26, 2014

One last holiday task...

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and/or Hanukkah. My holidays were jam-packed, as always, and I know I speak for many when I say I’m ready for some much-needed relaxation. But wait! There’s still one holiday-related task that needs to be checked off. I’m speaking, of course, about thank-you notes.

As a kid, I hated writing thank-yous. Every birthday and Christmas, my mom would set us down with a stack of cards and a list of who gave what. It was an odious task, and I swore that once I grew up, I’d never waste my time with it again.

To paraphrase E.T. Bell, time does indeed make fools of us all.

Yup. As an adult, I am adamant about sending thank-you notes. It’s partly because of my family and extended-family dynamic; for us, it’s just something you always do. But another part of me genuinely recognizes the importance of formally thanking someone for making the time and effort to pick out and purchase a gift. I know that when I receive thank-you notes, I always get a warm fuzzy feeling inside, and I want to spread that to the gift-givers in my life, too.

So today I thought I’d share some tips on putting together a thoughtful, heartfelt, personal thank-you note, along with links to some of my favorite styles.

I mostly buy my cards from Target; they have great packs of really cute cards that are perfect for post-holiday notes.

12-26-14 target
Top row: 1, 2, 3
Bottom row: 4, 5 (Fun fact: These are the cards I've been using for quite a while now. Aren't the envelopes adorable?)

Papyrus is my go-to for special occasion cards, and they have some fantastic individually sold cards if you just need one or two.

12-26-14 papyrus
1, 2, 3

And finally, you can’t go wrong with a truly personalized card. Treat, a greeting card website by Shutterfly, has some great options that include the name of the recipient right on the card for that added special touch. Of course, they have non-personalized options too, if you prefer to send everyone the same style.

12-26-14 treat
Top row: 1, 2
Bottom row: 3, 4

Now that you have your cards picked out, on to the actual writing! Some people really struggle with authenticity in a thank-you note, especially when they’re writing out many at once. But there’s a simple formula you can follow that streamlines the process without sucking the life out of your words!
  • Start with a greeting, a genuine expression of thanks, and a specific mention of the gift. If there’s a monetary component, use the phrase “your generosity” or “your kindness.” Never mention the specific amount, and try to specify how that money will help you.Dear Aunt Jane,Thank you so for the adorable sweater and the generous check that accompanied it! I plan to use the money on a great necklace to go with the sweater.

  • Describe how you will use the gift.The stand mixer is just what our kitchen was missing; I can’t wait to start baking up a storm!

  • Refer to the last and next times you will see the recipient. If the person hosted an event at which the gift was given, you can thank him/her for that as well.I’m so glad we got a chance to catch up this holiday season; it was so nice of you to open your home to us during this hectic time. I had a lot of fun at the party, and I’m really looking forward to your visit this summer.

  • Wrap it up with another statement of gratitude and a sign-off.Thanks again for the thoughtful gift!Love,Emma
Now, a few important dos and don’ts:
  • DO be timely! All holiday notes should be sent before New Year’s Eve. For birthdays or other gift-giving occasions, follow the two-week rule. For weddings, the time frame is extended to two months because honeymoon, obvs.
  • DON’T mention any dissatisfaction with the gift. Focus on the positive, even if it’s something you hate. For example, a note about those super dorky slippers that you’ll never wear could include a phrase like, “The slippers are so cozy, and they’re such a great shade of [color]!” Definitely don’t mention if you plan to return or exchange it.
  • DO be personal, not formal. Write as though you were having a conversation with the note recipient.
  • DO be enthusiastic (“Those earrings are stunning!”), but...
  • DON’T exaggerate. Nothing says insincere like a completely over-the-top statement. The earrings may be stunning, but they will not change your life, and no one will believe you for a second if you say they will.
  • DO keep it short and sweet. Four to seven sentences should do it.
And there you have it! Simple, painless thank-you note writing is just a few steps away. Do you have any tips/advice for writing your thank-you notes?

Disclaimer: I was not paid or perked for writing this post. Just sharing some thoughtful tips and some items I genuinely like and in some cases use.

1 comment:

  1. You're the best. Not only do you have great instincts, you follow them into real action. Sending written thank-you cards is a wonderful anachronism. I'm lucky to be your friend!


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