Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Letter-Writing: Thank You Notes

Getting mail is a ton of fun, but in an increasingly digital world, writing it can sometimes be hard. This blog post series about Letter Writing aims to make it easier. For more tips on writing letters look at my previous posts on writing Postcards, Personal Correspondence Love LettersSympathy LettersCongratulatory Letters,  Letters of Appreciation, and Letters of Recommendation.

Mail Envelopes  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:


  1. The Lost Art of Writing Thank You Letters
  2. Thank You Letters from The Letter Writing Alliance. 
  3. Appropriate Thank You Notes- Some thoughts from Emily Post
  4. 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
  5. 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! 

LETTER WRITING SERIES: THANK YOU NOTES | PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE | LOVE LETTERS | SYMPATHY LETTERS | CONGRATULATORY LETTERS | POSTCARDS | LETTERS OF APPRECIATION | CORRESPONDENCE CHESS | GET WELL CARDS | LETTERS TO SICK CHILDREN | INVITATIONS | HOLIDAY LETTERS | LETTERS TO SANTA| LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | CIRCLE LETTERS | LETTERS TO POLITICIANS | WRITING TO ADVICE COLUMNS | THE LETTER WRITING GAME | PENPAL LETTERS | LETTER OF COMPLAINT | COVER LETTERS | LETTERS TO PRISONERS | OPEN LETTERS | LETTERS TO FUTURE YOURSELF | LETTERS OF APOLOGY | "OPEN WHEN" LETTERS | FAN MAIL | GOOD BYE LETTER |


19 comments:

  1. This is sweet. A lost manner on some people. Good post!

    http://nauticalowl.blogspot.com/

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  2. This is great. I've only sent one thank you note and it was so hard for me to know what to write. I wish more people sent them!

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    1. Glad you liked this and hope the rest are/were easier to write as things went on :)

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  3. I love it when you write posts like these, like the ones about the care packages :-) they are really helpful and motivating to get started! I might send out my thank you notes after New Years, as in our family, a part of the "chrsitmas gifts" get opened on New years eve ^^ x

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  4. This is fab. I love technology but I really am a pen and paper kind of girl at heart. Lovely post xx

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  5. This is a great post Kristian, I am the worst at writing thank you cards!

    xo

    Ashley

    Southern (California) Belle

    P.S. Congrats!!!!! SO excited!

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  6. Good pointers! My mom taught us from s young age to always write thank you notes.
    -Jessi
    haircutandgeneralattitude.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Such a good habit to cultivate in kids!

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  7. i love all things stationery/letter writing. nice post!

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  8. love this, because I love thank you notes!!

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  9. I am always on top of thank you notes! I think they are so important! I love this post because I think it is sadly getting to be a lost art

    <3 katherine
    of corgis and cocktails

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    Replies
    1. So glad you do. I haven't always been so good about it, but doing this post made me feel much more proactive about writing them and its such a happy feeling to have them done and sent out!

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  10. Why is it considered a faux-pas to thank a person directly for money? Also, why do I have to say "thank you for letting me spend some time in your home" instead of "thanks for letting me crash"? Don't get me wrong, I'm a thank you note writer, I just didn't realize there were rules to this!

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    1. Well, any thank you note is sure to be appreciated, regardless of wording or tone (so awesome that you already write them; I should be better about it sometimes!), but here is the reasoning behind the etiquette guidelines you asked about.

      Rightly or wrongly, talking about money has a bit of a... sleazy reputation. So referencing it directly can feel a bit like a faux-pas. Far more importantly, I think referencing a specific amount of money can be a touchy subject- some people might feel badly that they couldn't give more (for, though of course it is the thought not the amount that counts to you, they may feel that way) and it could bring up bad feelings. Besides, everyone likes to know what their gift is being used for, especially in the case of monetary gifts, so it makes more sense to focus on that.

      As for your second question- in general, using more formal language comes across as more polite. Of course, you may want to use a less formal tone depending on your "writer's voice" and on your audience. You might write differently to your grandma than to your college roommate's parents than to your childhood best friend, after all.

      Hope this was of help, Erica.

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    2. Thank you for the interesting and informative response!

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