Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Writing Thank You Notes

I learned to write thank you notes at an early age (not quite as early as in this photo, but still early). My mother considered it an essential skill, so writing them was mandatory in our house. When there's a rule that you can't play with any of your Christmas presents until the thank you notes are finished, you learn to get them done first thing. I think that's a good policy; it's better to do them and get the job over with than to have it hanging over you for weeks while your mother nags.

There are still books on how to write notes, such as The Art of Thank You and 101 Ways to Say Thank You, and there were rules that I was told about as a child. The one that made the least sense to me was "Don't start a thank you note with the words 'thank you'." That just seems silly to me; both parties know that I'm thanking the giver for the gift. The biggest challenge I've found in thank you notes is the occasional difficulty of identifying the gift. As you can tell from the look on my face in the photo, I had no clue what that present was. (Actually, I still don't know. Overalls, perhaps?)

These days, when I'm sending gifts to my sisters' children, I'm happy to get any acknowledgement. Thank you notes now serve as a receipt, so I consider "Dear Aunt Lisa, Thank you for the card and the money…" to be a perfectly good note. I know they got their birthday presents, and I know that my sisters are passing on our family's rules to the next generation. I hope when the time comes for me to be sending birthday presents to my great-nieces and nephews that I'll still get notes–or at least e-mails.