I am surprised at how many students come into my workshops without thank you note writing experience.
These are not women without manners; they have written thank you emails and regularly send gratitude-filled emoji text messages (insert heart, tears of joy, fist-bump).
But the positive impression one can make with a handwritten note is an art form being lost in the age of technology.
Thank you notes are a chore, but they are not without their charms. I encourage kids to express their unique style while using a simple thank you note format. Since your kids likely received a gift or two this month, now is a great time to review the basics.
A thank you note can be written in four short and sweet sentences:
A specific thank you for the gift/kindness/hospitality: “I was thrilled to receive this cozy robe, and in my favorite color too!”
State your intention
How you intend to use the gift or what the hospitality meant to you: “Your dinner was divine and I will be making your carrot cake very soon.”
Mention a memory
When you hope to see the gifter again or a sweet story about your time together: “I cannot stop giggling about your dog getting to the pie first. You handled the entire dinner with such grace.”
Restate and conclude
Reiterate the thank you and close: “This sweatshirt is my style, and I cannot thank you enough for truly knowing me.”
I’m often asked how one writes a thank you for a gift that the receiver does not like:
I remind kids they are experts at being vague when asked for the truth, so put that skill into action: “Thank you for the warm sweater! I’m not sure how you found something as unique as I am, so well done. I can’t wait to see my cousins again; please come back soon. It was great spending time with you over the holidays and I appreciate that you thought of me.”
Or, as I tell my daughters, “Gratitude is not rocket science.”
After Christmas, I hand my kids a list and remind them that the addresses are in their stationery kits.
Let the groaning begin!
The louder they complain, the more I know I’m getting this parenting gig right.
The little people in my house will eventually want to achieve opportunities that require letters of recommendation. They’ll want to apply for jobs. I want them to get those jobs and buy me presents for a change!
Basic manners will increase their chances of living somewhere other than my basement in their adult years.
Note: This article was written by a mentor for collegiate women. She knows her stuff.