The Power of the Thank You

For the past few days, I’ve had that nagging feeling that there’s something I haven’t done. But I’ve been exhausted. The move, the new commute, the new routine–it all caught up to me. So, I went to bed at 9:15 PM the other day (what a treat!) instead of addressing that nagging feeling: writing more than 20 thank you notes.

I am a big fan of the thank you note. It’s an elegant, respectful way to honor the generosity of someone in your life. Thank you notes can be for anything–from the traditional acknowledgement of a birthday gift to a quick letter to note a thoughtful action. I joke that, when I was a kid, my mom wouldn’t let us play with our gifts on Christmas Day until we had written our thank you notes. People look at me oddly when I tell them that story, but it’s true (mostly). It made such a positive impact, and now, it’s an important “must do” in my adult life.
I love getting thank you notes, too! Who doesn’t? In this age of emailing and texting, we get less mail, and that’s a tragedy. This week, I received a thank you note from Chris of Crystal Clean. He came by the new house last week to clean the carpet and our couches. I’ve used Chris’ services for more than five years now, and I highly recommend him. He does great work, is on time, and is super helpful. And, he sends me a thank you note after each time I hire him! Such a small touch, but very classy. I’m a sucker for it.
Thank you notes can be hard to write (especially when you have 20 to do at once!). How do you sound enthusiastic? And interesting? My tip, if you’re stuck, is to get yourself a “how to write thank you notes” book. (Amazon has 97 of them!) I received a book like this as a bridal shower gift, and it was a huge help when I was writing wedding thank you notes. Now, I subscribe to the following formula (people! this is my secret!):
Dear {person’s name},
Thank you so much for _______. {Explain what you’re thanking him or her for here. For example, “Thank you so much for the wonderful books for R’s birthday!”}.
{One to two sentences about why what s/he gave you or did for you was important and/or impactful. For example, “R immediately sat down, amid all of the craziness of the day, to read the books you gave him. They are now his favorite before bed books, and Mom and Dad love them, too!”}
{One to two sentences about the context for the gift, a conversation you had with the giver, or a shared event. For example, “And, thank you for attending R’s first ‘official’ birthday party! The birthday boy had a terrific time, and we were all thrilled that you were able to join us.”}
{Closing statement. For example, “Thanks again! We can’t wait to have you over the new house very soon!”}
{Closing, such as Warmly/Best/Love/Whatever works for you},
{Your name}
And, really, don’t miss out on the best part! The stationery. I love monogrammed thank you notes, personalized address labels, and cool stamps (speaking of stamps, I heard this story on NPR the other day, and had to share to it). Oh, the thank you note! I love you so….
Now, off to write.
*Photo courtesy of iStockphoto
One Response
  1. October 7, 2011