Nothing says thank you like a note written by a 4 year old. But for those who don’t have the monk-like patience it takes to elicit the above pictured type of work from a pre-schooler, there is hope.
You too, can produce thank you notes that would make your grandparents proud and that would bring a smile to even the most jaded of faces. Just come along as we guide you through the ins and outs of these written expressions of gratitude, hopefully inspiring you to discover just how far a little extra effort can get a person in this world.
Looks simple, right? And it is! We’ve broken the thank you note down into its most basic parts to show you how easy it is. And hopefully to help you get past your mom’s nagging voice (“What?? You haven’t written Aunt Merna a thank you note yet?”) and into the joyous world of those-that-write-notes. You’re gonna love it here. Promise.
OK so here’s the first big issue to tackle: When do I need to write a thank you note? The simple answer is: “Anytime.” But life ain’t simple, and we can’t spend all of our waking hours writing cute notes on carefully selected custom cards. People generally write thank you’s for gifts, special favors (“Thanks for lending me your Porsche convertible for the month”) after a job interview, after you’ve visited someone’s home for the weekend or – gasp – longer, etc.
Some people say that writing a thank you note after a dinner party is overkill, but if you had a great time, we say go for it! It was nice of them to cook for you, wasn’t it? The one group of folks who don’t need written thank you’s are the ones who you live with, though ladies, how great would it be to get a sweet thank you missive from your husband every once in a while? (hint hint…)
You’d think that in this age of electronic mail there’d be a lack of options, but the stationery business is booming! Choose something special, that expresses some aspect of your personality without being overbearing. We love a little letterpress, for it’s handmade qualities as well as it’s authentic feel. It’s a great way to be old-school without feeling like a fuddy duddy.
Also, keep the notes brief, unless you have a whole lot to say. Thank you notes are simply for saying thank you. Leave the annual catch up session for those dreaded (and often epic) holiday letters. Postcards are cool, too, and you can often find great vintage ones at your local thrift shop.
Here are a few of our favorite stationery sources… all on Krrb, no less:
Keep it short and sweet with these postcards, designed by Idea Chic out of Glenndale, Colorado. With one of these, your note can be a simple one-liner, you save a little on postage and you’re using less paper by skipping the envelope!
A Note Card
Thank you notes don’t have to have those exact words printed on them—any nice stationery will do the trick. And if you find one that is truly beautiful, like this card by Brooklyn’s Pepper Press, and reflects your own style, so much the better.
DIY Thank You’s
And hey, if you’re really going for it, there are all sorts of ways you can make your own backdrop for your expression of gratitude. Check out this book for some great ideas and let your imagination fly!
And now lets break the note down into it’s basic parts…
The Anatomy (in 6 parts)
1. The Greeting
Dear People of France,
First off, a thank you note should always be handwritten. No matter how bad your writing is. Try and get it together for these few short lines. Writing on a computer and then printing it out is just plain lame.
Of course, the standard here is a simple “Dear Eliza,” but you can vary the salutation depending on your relationship to the recipient. A simple “Eliza–” might feel more informal, while a “Dearest Eliza” is a bit old-fashioned-but-terribly-romantic. If you’re feeling way outside the box, you can always add a little flava to the mix with a “Hey!” or a “What’s up!” but these start to feel forced, so be careful. Simple is always better.
2. The Gratitude
Thank you so much for the arrestingly beautiful Statue of Liberty you sent over to us.
Here’s the part where you say, quite simply, “Thank you for the ______ (insert name of gift here).” It’s basically the part where you let the giver know that you’ve actually received whatever it was they were so kind to send your way. If you are particularly into the gift, you can insert a complimentary adjective in front of the noun (“Thank you for the cuddly slippers/delicious tea/otherworldly terrarium, etc”)
3. The Proof Of Use
She now stands majestically in New York Harbor, greeting all who come to these shores in hopes of a better life. We really think she’s taken quite nicely to her new home.
Now’s the part where you say something complimentary about the gift and explain how you use it. And if you don’t really like the thing, find something about it that you can be positive about without lying. Because hey, it really is amazing that they managed to fit all of the colors of the rainbow into one tiny scarf, right?
4. The Once And Future Contact
We really appreciated your support of our effort to overthrow those blasted English (can you believe it was 100 years ago already?) and hope that we can stand side by side again should there be any similar conflicts in the future.
This is the section where you reinforce the actual human contact you may have had with the giver, especially if the gift was given to you at a party or celebration (“I loved seeing your smiling face at graduation…”) and then you make them feel good by expressing excitement at the prospect of seeing them again in the future. You basically want them to know that you see them as an integral part of your life, even if you only see them once every other year.
5. The Gratitude (Again)
Thanks again for sending Lady Liberty our way. We can’t imagine the harbor without her.
You can’t really say thank you too many times. Well, maybe you can, but not if you’re only saying thanks twice. So go for it.
6. The Exit
xox The United States
Use whatever word feels comfortable to you here (Love, Best, Sincerely, Smooches…) sign your name and rejoice. Your work is done. Or it will be, as soon as you address the envelope, put a nice stamp on there and toss it in the mailbox.
See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?