By Beth Bond 

On writing the 'Thank You' note

 

Last updated 1/22/2020 at 2:11pm

Good manners never go out of style, including writing "thank you" notes for gifts received during the holidays.

So the packages have all been opened, wrapping thrown away, and decorations are stored. All that's left is the pine needles on the floor to remind us of Christmas. Even the holiday parties and "open house" buffets are over for awhile.

But the holiday spirit remains as we write and send our "thank you" notes. Yes, whether you are 6 or 60+, good manners require a real note of thanks for that gift or special experience. We (Ms. Manners and our parents!) are waiting to open that small envelope from you. An e-mail to say, "I got it!" will not be enough; it never was.

In some households, children are not allowed to take their gifts up to their room until a "thank you" note has been penned for every single gift. The inference was that, if a sincere thank you was missing, so might be the gift next year.

The M. Camarata family of Chicago has started the etiquette training early. Gray and Scarlet are age 3 and 5 respectfully, and respond to gifts with their own drawings, and very crooked letters spelling "thank you." After all, even grandparents have refrigerators to display favorite drawings.


The "thank you" note expresses personal feelings to the gift-giver by saying, "I appreciate the cost and effort you took to buy, wrap and mail something to me." Such notes are always gratefully received, and often kept to refer to in following years.

So, what does the real "thank you" note say? A good note can be brief, but it is always sincere and specific. Focus on the gift, why it is special and just what you wanted. This phrase can be adapted to include how you are going to use it, or where you are going to wear this item.


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According to Debby Mayne at "The Spruce" in a Nov. 3, 2019, piece, being specific is essential. "Each gift should be different and meaningful to the recipient." And when receiving cash or a check, the clever writer should also make a reference to how it will be spent.

Most importantly, and for any age, even if you received three sweaters in the wrong color or size, one must still be gracious and understand the cost and personal effort made by the gift-giver.

Don't forget the holiday parties, dinners and celebrations you attended either. Flowers, a bottle of wine or a box of candy are immediate and very nice, but imagine your hosts' surprise when they receive a note later remarking on the lovely meal and enjoyable evening you shared with them. It is a sure thing that you will be at the top of their list for another event.


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An extra incentive to begin those notes right away might be to splurge on a new pen and some nice stationery. Write those notes today. Your parents would be proud that you remembered good manners.

 

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