Perfect thank-you notes

The holiday season is about receiving, too; so don’t forget to send out thank-you notes. These pointers will help you write them.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:29 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The holiday season is busy with gift-giving and entertaining, but those notes of thanks shouldn’t be forgotten.

Everyone has received gifts since his or her birth and sending a thank-you note is a great way to show appreciation for those presents and parties attended. People enjoy getting mail that isn’t a bill

These notes do not have to be long. The important thing is what is said and how it is said, try to use expressions that you use often. Say something about the gift, what you are going to use it for or why you like it so much, then say thank you for it.

There are many possibilities for thank-you cards. It is possible to get personalized cards.

Hannah Lenon, a sales clerk at The Pen Point, said most personalized cards are done before the holidays. Box sets of cards tend to be easier for those who do not have the time for personalized cards.

It is also possible to just buy a blank card and use that for a thank-you.

Rochelle Lulow, American Greetings senior editorial manager and etiquette expert, provides some pointers for writing thank-you notes on the American Greetings Web site. She said on the Web site being timely is important.

She suggests sending the letter one day to a week after receiving the gift or attending the function.

“Thank-you cards are just one part of the universal circle of giving and receiving … receiving a personal, handwritten thank-you note in the mail has the ability to make someone’s day,” Lulow said.

Ann Hecker, a junior at MU, follows certain rules when she writes a thank-you note. She mentions the gift to make the note more personal.

“If the gift is something I can use, like a gift certificate, I tell them what I plan to use it for,” Hecker said. “If it’s a holiday, then I wish them a happy holiday as well.”

Rex Campbell, a professor of rural sociology at MU, writes a large number of thank-you notes, many to guest speakers he has in class.

For this type of thank-you, he says the class appreciated the speaker, and then he picks out one or two specific things from the lecture students have commented on. Campbell usually does his notes through e-mail.

“I do it by who I’m sending it to,” Campbell said. “For older people, I quickly write a note; for faculty, I send e-mails.”

Campbell also sends complimentary notes to those who have received certain awards or promotion in their jobs.

There are books that can help anyone write a thank-you note.

“I’ve had a lot of people ask for etiquette books,” said Amy Mongler, a clerk at Barnes & Noble.

Barnes & Noble has several such books. Lenon suggested two books,

“Things You Need to Be Told” by The Etiquette Grrls, “How to be a Gentleman” by John Bridges and “How to be a Lady” by Candace Simpson-Giles. Books can also be found at public libraries.

If there isn’t time to go pick up a book, look on the Internet. There are several Web sites that deal with writing thank-you notes.

The most important thing with thank-you notes is that they are sincere and timely, so don’t forget to write those thank-you notes after the holidays.

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