How to Compose A Thank You {Ideas and Information}

Thank you's have somewhat become forgotten in recent years. And that is kind of sad. I know that a majority of my friends still write thank you's or personally call and thank me however I hear more and more stories of gifts left forgotten and thank you's never received.

I know that I've been bad about the timing of sending out thank you's. My son's first birthday thank you's were ordered and picked up one week after his party. But I only got about 1/2 of them on their way out before I ran out of stamps and kept putting off buying more because I was SURE I would see the people in person and hand deliver the thank you's. I still have one on the fridge reminding me to deliver it. And he just turned two in February. Oy!

But I'm getting better, and so can you! There's always reason to send a thank you card. Not only when you receive a gift but also when someone does something unexpected or kind for you as well. And as we've mentioned before who doesn't like getting mail?

We found a few great tips from Mary Mitchell, president of The Mitchell Organization in Seattle and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Etiquette (third edition) on writing thank you's and wanted to share:

Thank-You Note Dos and Don’ts

Although each thank-you note should be unique, there are some rules to follow when you put pen to paper. Mitchell has developed what she calls the “SSA formula”:
  • The first S stands for Specificity. Thank the person for the specific gift (for example, "Dear Grandma Ann, thank you so much for the Macy's gift card.")
  • The next S stands for Significance. Tell the person that you recognize the effort and time that went into giving you the gift. Hint: That sentence should begin with the word "you." ("You know me so well! How else would you have known my favorite store?")
  • Finally, the A stands for Action — how you will use the gift. ("I can’t wait to purchase the new pots and pans we've been eying for our new place")
Never write anything negative in a thank-you note. Even if the gift was the wrong size, color, or not to your taste, do not say so. Lastly, if the gift was money, a check, or gift card, do not refer to the amount.

Traditionally, thank-you notes should be written in ink on note paper or a note card, but don't hesitate to be more creative. I know that my toddler LOVES to draw these days so instead of me writing out his thank you's for him I print out picture thank you cards and let him color on the envelope. Not only does the recipient get a one-of-a-kind envelope design, they also get a great photo of him.

A thank-you note should ideally be sent anywhere from a day to a week after receipt of the gift. However, even if more time passes it’s still better to send it late than never. Do not apologize if the note is late. I've come to realize that the person appreciates the gesture more than anything... even if it is a year out.

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