In the digital age that we live in now, the art of the handwritten thank you note is a dying discipline. But I would argue that, with everything we could ever want or need being accessible at the touch of a button, a handwritten thank you note holds more weight now than it ever has. It takes more time and effort to sit down, write something meaningful and walk it to the mailbox. Since it is not as easy as sending a text, we're here to give you some tips and tricks so you don't have to scramble for paper, stamps, etc. when you need to write your next thank you note, as well as give you some etiquette guidelines to follow.
Tips and Tricks
- Always have nice pens, stationery and stamps on hand and in an easily accessible place. This will making writing a thank you note, less of a scramble and more of a streamlined process, leaving more energy to sit down and write something meaningful.
- Think about the people you're thanking before you write anything. How would you say it if you were thanking them in person, this may provide some inspiration. Write from the heart.
When To Send
- When you've received a gift: According to Emily Post every gift should be acknowledged in writing and it should be prompt. The only exception is if a family member or close friend gives you a gift in person and you sincerely thank them on the spot, but a thank you note is still a nice touch.
- After an interview: As a recruiter in my previous career, any candidate that sent a hand written thank you note went to the top of my list. It made them immediately stand out. If they showed that attention to detail in their own life, it proved they'd be able to do it for the company.
- Thanking a host or hostess: Opening up your home is no joke. Acknowledging that someone took the time and effort to plan a nice evening or meal will go a long way and you're sure to be invited back!
- Timing: According to Emily Post, it's best to send a thank you note within two to three months. Kate Spade, in her book Manners, suggests a three day rule, to hold yourself accountable. But regardless, the number one rule to go by is: the sooner the better! Having your thank you materials readily available will make following this rule a breeze.
What to Write
- According to Kate Spade: "when you send a note, refer to the actual gift, event or conversation that you're acknowledging." Yes, you can thank people for a conversation!
- Let's talk about thanking people for money for just a second: you should thank people for monetary gifts, no matter how uncomfortable you might feel! You can use the phrase "generous gift," in lieu of mentioning the actual amount, which is optional. Also mention what use you will make of the money.
- Don't send form letters or cards with printed messages and just your signature or use email or post a generic thank you on your Facebook instead of personal notes.
"An engraved or printed thank you card, no matter how attractive, cannot take the place of a personally written message of thanks." -Emily Post
Illustrations by the lovely Hanna Snyder