June 12, 2008

On Correspondence: Thank You Kindly.

Thanking people for their efforts, favors, gifts, or services is the most fundamental element of proper etiquette. It is the base of polite conduct, and if you can't be bothered to behave nicely- you must at least say thank you, and you must mean it. Let us discuss saying thank you through hand written note; a formal, but always appreciated, expression of thanks.

The most important thing to keep in mind is timeliness. Your card should be posted absolutely no later than one week after you received the gift, or went to a friends house for dinner, or had a neighbor pick up your child from school.. etc. Princess Di would leave her stationary out on a small desk in her bedroom so that she could write out each days' thank you's before going to sleep. But then again, much better late than never!

Do not be shy if you think your hand writing is poor. Hand written notes have a personal touch that can't be forged. Take your time to print or write neatly. Sometimes it helps to draft your note before filling in your note card. Typed, unless with a typewriter, cards are tacky!

Men usually use a note card  that is flat, small, and of heavy stock. This can be a simple white card, or you may personalize it with your name, monogram, or a border. Traditionally, women use a small folded card with their monogram or name on the front. These distinctions are blurred with many women opting to use a flat card. 

And then the content of the card. There are no exact guidelines for writing a perfect thank you note. The nature of your thanks depends on the gift, your relationship to the giver, and your own personality. But generally:
  1. Thank the person directly for the gift or favor. 
  2. Describe exactly why you like/appreciate it with details specific to the gift. Remember to make it personal. 
  3. Explain how the gift or service will help you. 
  4. Compliment the giver. 
  5. Thank them again. 
Finally, if there is anyone out there... 
Thank you for reading my blog! I am surely not the best example to follow in etiquette, but I am glad you are with me on this adventure. Knowing I'm not calling out into a void gives me a sense of purpose. Also, you are helping me to find my voice as a writer. Thank you kindly for your support!

Wishing you graceful lives,

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