Diving back in after the holidays, one of the most important things you'll be sticking a stamp onto and mailing are Thank You Notes. Now, I know we're all big kids here and none are novices at writing these. Still, I'll admit...sometimes this is one area of letter writing where I slack off. It shouldn't be! Saying thank you is basic etiquette, and will be greatly appreciated. Not to mention the notes themselves are usually short and sweet! So, if you're like me, here's a quick brush-up on the art of Thank You Notes!
Most will likely be for gifts, but a simple Thank You letter might also be appropriate to send if someone has had you to stay; if someone visited or sent something during a personal illness; if someone has given you a recommendation for a job; or if they'd given you information or something for a networking purpose.
Most consider it polite at this time of year to get your Thank You Notes out before the New Year, but remember everyone likes to be thanked, even if it has been a while!
All that is needed is a short few lines, so you'd probably be best off choosing a card, or even a postcard over a full page of stationary. So, let's start "Dear..." and get a-going! Avoid the cliche "just writing to tell you..." (they know you are writing; they are holding your letter in their hands), and jump on in to say thanks, and what you are thanking them for. You might add a line or two about what you like about the gift; if you can think of nothing to say about the gift itself, mention that it was thoughtful of the giver to think of you. This is always true no matter what was given! Remember too, that if the gift in question was money (either to you or a donation on your behalf) that it is considered a faux pas to mention it directly. It is generally preferred to say something along the lines of "thank you for your generosity," or "thank you for your kindness" followed by a mention of what their monetary gift will be used for. Also, if what you are thanking them for is not something tangible but is more of a kind act, remember to define what it is and in the nicest terms possible. For example, "thank you for your hospitality" or "thank you for your visit" as opposed to "thanks for letting me crash" or "thanks for stopping by". If appropriate, you can also add something personal, or mention when you hope to next see them, but remember this is not the time to catch your gifting-giving friend up on your life. It is a letter about them and their generosity. Lastly, close with a quick wishing-you-well sentiment (this time of year, end with saying "Happy New Year" perhaps?) and sign off with a salutation. Lick and address the envelope, put a stamp on it and you are ready to get that note on its way!
Looking for more Thank You Note info? Try these links:
- The Lost Art of Writing Thank You Letters.
- Thank You Letters from The Letter Writing Alliance.
- Appropriate Thank You Notes- Some thoughts from Emily Post
- Thank You Notes: The Blue Ribbon Winner- Ironically, Anna Post has some thoughts on her blog, What Would Emily Post Do: Thoughts on Modern Manners
- How To Write a Thank You Note- From The Morning News by Leslie Harpold, this is probably the most definitive guide- certainly the most in-depth!