From the to do list: Thank you notes

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I got a note once, from my grandma.  I was probably 8 or 9 years old.  She has mailed me a Cabbage Patch Doll for my birthday and I had never sent her a Thank You Card. If I remember correctly I had talked to her on the phone, but I never actually sent a card.  It was the first time I’d ever known my Nana to be mad at me.  Honestly, saying she was mad or generally upset would be an understatement.  Her note was pleasantly written, very polite, to the point, and made no bones about how I would never receive another gift from her.
I wrote her a thank you card – immediately.
We are very very close, and talk often.
I still have the note.
I understand now that even then it was hard for Nana to come up with even $5 to spare (even harder to save up for a Cabbage Patch Doll), and it is important to show appreciation for any and all gifts.   My girls write her little notes, some of them in thanks for a card she sent, some of them just to say hi.
Recently the subject of Thank You Card etiquette came up in our family.  We’ve had a busy year filled with weddings, graduations, and new babies. Some debate arose as to whether you still need to send one if you spoke to them in person.  I say you should, unless I live with you.  So on my to do list now is writing cards to the handful of people who gifted us with something for Peanut.
I tend to put off things like this which is silly.  It could not be easier.  Here are my simple rules for writing thank you cards.

  1. Keep the card small (you’ll have to write less to fill it up)
  2. Keep it personal.  Don’t start out with “Hey ya’ll”,  use their name – “Dear Nana”
  3. Thank them and name it “Thank you for the cute baby shoes”
  4. Tell them how you used it our how you will use it “J wore them to dinner on Friday and looked adorable!”
  5. Remember something about them “It was so great seeing you at Mom’s house last weekend, hope you see you again soon”
  6. Wrap it up nicely with another Thanks  “Thank you again for the shoes”
  7. Close it out “Love, Lisa and family”   (or Sincerely, etc.)

Use postcards if you have too, always hand write them, and while you don’t have to do it the very next day you also shouldn’t wait forever.
So, do you write Thank You’s to people you said it to in person?  Do you teach your kids how to write them or do you just have them make a phone call?

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4 thoughts on “From the to do list: Thank you notes

  1. Melissa says:

    I’m horrible.. have never sent a thank you card in my life. not that i don’t write them… they just never make it in the mail. same goes for any sort of card or invitation… my wedding invites were sent just 2wks before the wedding and only cause my MIL was threatening to tell people we called it off (she was kidding but it jolted me into the reality that if i didn’t do it then no one would be there and everyone would be upset with me)
    I call, email, FB and yes text invitations, rsvp’s, thank yous and and other greeting usually done in a card. unless i can hand it to them in person. my hubby’s 26th b-day card is in a box in my basement unopened because i forgot to give it to him… he turned 30 last month

  2. TaderDoodles says:

    I am terrible about getting stuff mailed! Even bills would get paid late because I would stall getting stamps or something. I’m awful with invitations for my kids birthday parties…. but now that they have more and more friends outside of the family circle I really need to be more diligent with getting the invites out earlier!

  3. Ashley says:

    I never wrote a “thank you” note until I graduated from high school and had an open house. I wrote them again when I got married. Then, I wrote them for my baby shower(s) for Jenny. I’m not a “thank you” note person – though, most of my gifts growing up were given in person and from family. The ladies at church were super nice (though, in my opinion, a bit forward) when they threw me a baby shower for David – they said I could just say “thank you” in the bulletin and it would cover them all. Is saying “thank you” in person less gratitude than writing a note? I’m all about the “in person” thanks! 🙂

    • TaderDoodles says:

      Personally, I’m totally okay with the in-person thanks, an email, a phone call. My bigger concern is that you GET the gift (for example if I were to mail a card or gift). I tend to write notes to people I know that a) don’t have internet/email/etc. b) didn’t see me in person and/or c) might call my mom and chew her out if I don’t (laughing). Yes, I still have some ladies that I know that won’t hesitate to “have a word” with my mom or MIL to hint that they didn’t receive anything…. I think taking the time to have a conversation with me is more thoughtful then taking the time to write a form letter style thank you card.

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