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Handwritten thank-you notes

The art of the thank-you note

When was the last time you received a hand written thank-you note in the mail? It's been a while, hasn't it? And most likely, it was written by someone in your life of another generation -- from a time before email and texting, when the best and most proper way to say thanks was to take the time to write a note and put it in the mail. Take these easy steps toward making thank-you note writing a habit.

Woman writing thank you notes

1Make it easy on yourself

Stock up on cards that you love and that you'll actually use! Whether it's a big box of colorful mix-and-match cards that you can use for both professional and personal thank-yous or a beautiful set of custom stationery that shows your personal style, buy whatever will motivate and excite you to get them written.

Papercourt Press Honeycomb Notecard

Personalized note cards by PaperCourt Press let your personal style shine through in your thank-yous.

2Set up an address book

Again, we aren't talking about email addresses, but real, true physical addresses for your friends and family members. Most smartphones have excellent digital address book programs, or try downloading an address book app -- you can even keep addresses on your Kindle. It doesn't matter how you keep them, just get them!

3Learning how to say thank you

There is truly nothing simpler in life than saying thank you and it's amazing how those two little words can make someone else feel so valued and appreciated. Start your note with something like, "I wanted to tell you thank you for ..." or "Just a little note to say thanks for ..." -- it's really that easy! If you are saying thank you for a gift that you received, be sure to say something specific about the gift in the note, such as "The scarf is just what I'd been looking for and goes perfectly with the shoes I bought myself for my birthday."

4Say thank you for the little things

Once the basics of thank-you note writing have become habit, take the leap into looking for ways to say thanks. Did your neighbor bring in your garbage cans last week when it was pouring rain? Or was your pediatrician extra-kind to you when you were certain that your daughter had another ear infection? Drop a little thank-you in the mail -- it will make their day.

5Be timely with your thanks

It's best to write thank-you notes right away, while the reason you're saying thanks and the appreciation you feel is still fresh in your mind. Being prompt about saying thank you is especially important if someone has mailed or left you a gift -- they are probably anxious to know that you received (and liked!) it, and a thank-you note dropped in the mail as soon as possible is the perfect way to let them know. That said, it's also never too late to send a thank-you note.

6Writing professional thank-yous

If you're in a business where you're working with clients, thank-you notes should be part of your daily routine and a hand-written, personal note (as opposed to a form letter thank-you with your signature stamped at the bottom by your assistant), goes a long way. It's also another great chance to reconnect with a client and remind them that you're available if they need any assistance.

7Teach your children to say thank you

Can you imagine how far gone the art of writing thank-you notes will be by the time they are grown? Make writing thank-you notes part of your children's lives as well -- not only will they learn a skill that will stick with them for life, but it's a perfect lesson in manners and treating other people with kindness and appreciation.

Tell us:

Do you write thank-you notes often or are you more likely to send thanks via email?

More on saying thanks

How to get your kids to write thank you notes
How to write a holiday thank you note
A tech-free way to enrich your communication skills

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