Let’s Revive the Lost Art of the Thank-You Note

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It is safe to say I am pretty horrified at the idea of killer clowns, zombies, and evil dentists. But something that equally horrifies me and baffles me is the lost art of thank-you notes. Why?! Why?! I say to myself, falling to my knees (ok, not really) when I send a newly married couple a gift and wait weeks and months without ever receiving a proper thank-you note in the mail. Even worse is when I receive nothing at all, not even a text or e-mail, and I have to reach out and ask if they even received the gift…gasp! It’s deflating, to stay the least.

Unfortunately, we have witnessed the passing of several arts as well as core values that were once cherished in our society…attendance/punctuality, integrity, cursive handwriting, and, at times, even common courtesy. The thank-you note has also fallen to the wayside, dying a slow, lonely, unnecessary, and undeserving death.

I know I may sound dramatic, but I respectfully affirm I have a valid point. A handwritten, mailed note is a true, sincere sign of appreciation. Now, I was raised to always write thank-you notes/cards when I received gifts and cards, whether I was young or when I was graduating high school or college. It transferred into my later years as well. And I have been raising my son to do the same. We have fun with it; he colors, draws pictures, places stickers everywhere, and writes as many words as he can (and I fill in the rest). We do this because it’s important to us; I am teaching him respect and courtesy. He will be grateful and in turn show gratefulness; I am shaping him to feel excited and special when receiving things, instead of being entitled with a “me, me, me” mentality.

Think about it: Whether it’s a birthday, holiday, graduation, fundraiser, new job, promotion, bridal shower, wedding, anniversary, whatever: The gift giver took time to select and provide a thoughtful present to acknowledge a special event. So, it is the least we can do to take a few minutes to sit down and write a genuine note of appreciation to acknowledge the kind and generous act. We cannot just take, take, take in this life; we have to maintain core values and extend respect and courtesy, and to celebrate the kindness of others. It’s the right thing to do.

And I don’t want to hear the, “I’m too busy” excuse. So yes, a text, e-mail, or social media message stating thank-you is kind, and it is speedy, but it is still lazy, and it certainly doesn’t replace a true thank-you note.

I think it’s time for us to get this lost art back on the map; let’s hold people accountable and spread awareness. That being said, here are some quick tips for writing a fabulous thank-you note that will truly make someone’s day!

1) Buy some cute stationery…and lots of stamps.

Be equipped! Whether it’s monogrammed paper, polka dots (my fave!), pastels, stripes, or whatever, find something that makes you excited to sit down and write. Having the proper thank-you note tools, including stamps and envelopes, already accessible makes this act of thank-you note writing even more easy peasy lemon squeezy.

2) Don’t procrastinate.

I aim to write a thank-you note the same day I receive a gift; the same goes for my son. When we tackle this important act right away, we not only take the task off our to-do list, but we offer even more respect to the gift-giver. When we say let’s do this now, not later, we again acknowledge the thoughtfulness of the gift-giver…and we don’t ever leave them guessing whether we received the gift! It’s a win-win.

3) Be sincere.

Being genuine will always win; personalize your note. What did you like or appreciate most about the gift? Tell the gift-giver your thoughts. Let them know you see their creativity or their generosity. Think: Thank you so much for the brown bath towels. They really stand out in my sunflower-themed bathroom!” or “We truly love the way the floral art piece brightens up our kitchen!” or “Your donation to the fundraiser for the homeless was incredibly generous! Thank you for improving lives.”

4) It’s never too late.

Ok, so life happens, and we all know that. If you are delayed in sending a proper thank-you note, get to it now. The cliché “It’s better late than never” is so, so true. Don’t be afraid to apologize for the delay. People will always respect and appreciate your acknowledgment of their kind act with open arms.

5) Never underestimate the power of a well-written thank-you note.

Simply put: Sit, write, mail. You won’t regret it! And you’ll help spread some love.

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