The Art of a Thank You Note

December 28, 2012 in Best of Both, etiquette, manners by MyBestofBothWorlds

The Art of the Thank You Note

It seems I’m not alone.  The art of a thank you note seems to be lost on many people these days.  We had this conversation around the dinner table while enjoying our Christmas Eve feast.  I know my own mother has gone so far as to stop sending gifts when a thank you note doesn’t arrive.  When she made this statement one of the children went wide-eyed at the table and made a funny gulping ut-oh sound.  We laughed it off to some extent, but honestly it’s not a laughing matter.  Manners matter!

It’s perplexing at times and I wonder where manners have gone?  My children have been taught to write thank you notes since they’ve been old enough to write their names.  While hugs and kisses suffice for Christmas since many of the people who give gifts at that time are there to see the recipients open their gifts, birthdays and other special occasions are an entirely different matter.

When my daughters made their First Holy Communions in second grade one of gifts they got from me was their own supply of engraved stationary and note cards with their first and middle names printed on the front.  They used these note cards over the years to express their gratitude for gifts they received.  They didn’t magically become great thank you note writers.  It took effort on their part and mine.  Quite frankly, I’m sure they resented it at times too being kept from doing something more important like playing.

To help them learn the art of a thank you note, I started by crafting a brief generic note.  Then they would of course personalize who it was being to, as well as filling it what the gift was that they were saying thank you for.  As they grew older, they had to add a line about why they liked the particular gift or what they planned to do with the gift card or check if they were saving for something.  Depending on their age, I would have them only write three to five each day until the list was completed.  This was not always greeted with enthusiasm, but I gently reminded them that people had gone out of their way to get them a gift and it needed to be acknowledged.

I would always read over their notes before they sealed up the envelopes and then we would address them together.  This too is an important lesson, not to be missed in our digital age.

As my son’s fifth birthday is approaching in the New Year, along with all the party supplies and favors we also ordered the Avenger themed thank you notes where all he has to do is sign his name, but sign his name he will.  He too will learn the art of a thank you note in my opinion an important life lesson.

The Art of the Thank You Note


The Art of the Thank You Note