Miss Martine's Top Tips for Thank You Notes

What better way to make someone feel special than with thoughtful words of appreciation.

The Holiday Season is the time for giving and receiving, for thinking of others before ourselves, and to practice gratitude for all of our blessings. What better way to convey heartfelt thanks than a handwritten thank you note? Too old-fashioned? I don’t think so. Remember that it is effort that shows respect. This is the purpose of so many niceties that are slowly being lost because they are “too much trouble.” Getting dressed up for important event, standing to show respect to another, helping someone with their chair. Even holding a door seems too much trouble for some whose noses seem perpetually buried in their phones!

Thank you notes take time and effort: To procure just the right cards or stationery, to choose a moment to sit and reflect on the time and thoughtfulness of the person who invited you to a special event or gave you a lovely gift. How much time, thought and effort did they spend? Can we not show our appreciation through expending a bit of thought and effort ourselves? Sometimes an email equivalent is quite appropriate. Sometimes, a personal phone call. We usually know what is most appropriate given a little bit of thought.

The purpose of expressing thanks is not to conform to some social rule, but to take our focus off of ourselves and pay thoughtfulness back in kind. Children quite naturally tend to be self-centered. If the gift they received was not exactly what they wanted, or the wrong color, or boring in their eyes (like clothes, for instance), they often let their immediate disappointment show - sometimes quite baldly. All events where gift giving is the focus, be it holidays or birthdays, are opportunities to practice self-control and thinking of the feelings of others, which is not natural to us. This is why we all must be urged to step into another’s shoes and to imagine what their intention was. There is good reason for the saying that it’s the thought that counts!

When to send a hand written thank you note? Whenever you wish to delight someone! It is always appropriate when one did not have the opportunity to express thanks in person, such as when the gift was sent from afar. Even if the gift was given in person, if it was very special due to the occasion or value, the addition of a thank you note is definitely in order.

Even when utterly delighted by a particular gift, many children are nervous to write a thank you note simply because they are unsure of how to go about it. Luckily, for those who attend Cotillion, it is very straight forward! Simply modify the “Four Things” we say when we practice thanking our host or hostess at an event into written form.

Four Elements of a Thank You Note:

1. The person’s name: Dear Aunt Sara, . . .

2. Thank you for . . . inviting me, the gift, the help . . .

3. I had a wonderful time (event) or I can’t wait to use it when (gift)

4. I especially enjoyed (about the event), I especially like (about the gift) . . .

Think of how the recipient of your appreciation will feel when they read your thoughtful words. A well- written thank you note can feel like a gift in itself!