Back home from the holidays and trying to decide whether to send out a round of handwritten thank-you notes?
Of course, we highly recommend it. Thank-you notes only take a few minutes and are all but guaranteed to make your friends and loved ones feel a little extra post-holiday warmth. Plus, they give you yet another excuse to break out your favourite pens for a little inking.
But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what some others have been saying:
Geoffrey Parker, great-grandson of the founder of Parker Pens, told the Wall Street Journal that he believes thank-you notes are critical after receiving gifts.
“It’s common courtesy,” he says. “If someone does something for me, I need to acknowledge that.” Mr. Parker sometimes thanks a gift-giver or party host with a phone call, email or text message. But he believes that these modes are “insufficient” and always follows up with a handwritten message. “As these modern electronic devices become more common and overused, they become cheap,” he says.
And Parker doesn’t just send simple or plain notes, either. He told the Journal he writes his thank-yous with a broad-nibbed fountain pen (using royal blue ink) on special card stock so that they make an impression on the recipient. The note should take as much thought and effort as the original gift, he said.
San Francisco blogger Amy Graff wrote in The Mommy Files that she decided to have her son and daughter write notes thanking family members for their Christmas gifts . It took her 5-year-old son at least a half-hour to scrawl “thank you for the dog” to his cousins, who’d sent him a stuffed basset hound, prompting Graff to wonder whether note-writing was worth the time.
And then an email arrived from one of the cousins: “We received the thank-you notes…They are soo special. Those little notes make the whole family smile!! So sweet!”
The thank you for the thank you was enough to nudge me to find time for another thank-you-note-writing operation.
Besides, sending those notes might just be in your own self-interest. One of Graff’s readers responded to her blog with this insightful little bit:
Once I realized that my nephews/nieces didn’t even call to say, thanks, I cut myself some slack and stopped sending gifts. whew.
Not used to writing thank-yous? Don’t worry, it’s simple. The note doesn’t have to be long. Just remember that this is a person who did something nice for you, so now you would like to do something nice in return. Keep a cheerful tone, greet the recipient, make a little small talk (“hope your family is well”), mention the gift and how much you like it, say “thank you,” and close with sincerity.
Diane Gottsman’s tips on writing thank-you notes is an excellent guide for those who would like to include a little more detail in their letters.