Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gratitude in Ink


This week one of the items on my to-do list is to write thank you notes for a couple of sweet, unexpected gifts my daughter or I have received recently. As I said in a previous post, it is unfortunate that hand written correspondence has kind of fallen by the wayside, and I see this general trend effecting the specific practice of writing thank you notes.

On the Emily Post website I found that "The rule of thumb is that you should send a written note any time you receive a gift (even a ‘thank you’ gift) and the giver wasn’t there to thank in person."

The website also offers some guidelines for specific situations where a thank you note is called for:

Shower gifts.

Even though the gift giver attended the shower in your honor and you had a chance to say thanks for her gift, you should still send a written note.

Wedding gifts
Each wedding gift should be acknowledged with a written not within three months of receipt of the gift.

Congratulatory gifts or cards

Anyone who sends a present, or a card with a personally written message, should receive a note in return.

Gifts received when sick

Thank-you notes should be written as soon as the patient feels well enough—or a friend or relative can write the notes. It’s okay to call close friends rather than write.

Condolence notes or gifts
Everyone who has sent a personal note, flowers or a donation should get a written thank-you. A close friend or relative can write the notes on the recipient’s behalf.

In addition to these situations that necessitate a thank you note, I think there are many, many other times when a thank you not may not be expected, but is nonetheless appreciated. For example:
- I try to write a thank you note any time someone has us over for dinner.
- When I was interviewing for teaching jobs, I wrote thank you notes to all my potential employers, expressing my appreciation for their time and interest.
- I make an attempt to write a thank you note any time someone goes out of their way for me or our family. For example, several people have offered to babysit Ann Peyton when I have doctor's appointments and whatnot. Since Peyton often works evenings and since both my parents and my in laws live in town, we really haven't had a need for it. However, I can think of one time when I asked a non-relative to babysit. I didn't write a thank you note, but in retrospect, I wish I had and I certainly will if I'm in that situation again.

Finally, here are a few tips I personally think serve to help formulate a well written thank you note. Keeping these personal guidelines in mind helps me write more meaningful, significant notes:
1. Be specific
2. Be detailed
3. Be genuine
When I remember these three things, I think my letters are more personal and more sincere.

My mother is a phenomenal note writer and she always instilled in me the importance of gratitude in ink. It can really brighten the recipient's day and it usually improves the mood of the sender as well!

{Images: 1, 2}
{Source: Emily Post Website}