When Amy was a little girl, birthdays rocked. Mom and Dad threw elaborate parties with complicated cakes, plenty of guests and – most importantly – lots of presents.
Then there was the day after the party.
Mom sat Amy down at the table with her personalized stationery and made her write a perfect (and unique) thank-you note for every gift she received. The process, it seemed, took forever.
Now that she's all grown up and has kids of her own, Amy understands the importance of the formal "thank you." What once seemed like a tedious chore is now an easy way to show appreciation and good manners. They don't have to be super-formal -- hand-written, yes, but formal, no. And this doesn't apply just to children: We grownups have a responsibility to gratefully acknowledge our gifts as well.
Here are three reasons your family should get into the thank-you card habit:
At the wedding of a good friend, Mark left a card with a generous amount of cash on the gift table. He never received a thank-you from his old buddy and assumed the card had been lost or stolen. He eventually asked his friend about it and was assured that the gift was received and put to good use. Shame on the newlyweds for leaving Mark in the dark!
The thank-you card is like a receipt for the gift giver. Whether it's the most wonderful thing ever or something completely useless, a gift must be acknowledged. The giver wants to know that you received the gift and that you are aware of who was kind enough to give it to you.
Bonus: When you notice the nice things people do for you, they're more likely to do it again.
Nearly 20 years after her wedding, Mary approached the woman who gave her a beautiful handmade afghan as a gift. It was the first wedding present Mary and her husband received, yet they could not recall ever writing a proper thank-you note. When Mary sheepishly asked about it – all those years later – the gift giver replied, "No, I do not remember receiving a thank-you card from you; however, if you had sent one... now that I would remember…"
Tip: Not sure what to write? Look online for some thank-you card examples, or browse through cards at the stationery store for ideas.
Thanks to email, Facebook, texting and instant messaging, old-fashioned written correspondence between friends is virtually non-existent. In any given week, how much personal mail (letters, cards) do you receive?
People love receiving mail addressed to them. A handwritten thank-you note sent via the postal service is a special treat. It offers something other than junk mail or bills to open.
Bottom line: Email and text message thank yous do not count!
Become gracious and get into the good graces of your gift givers. They'll appreciate your words of thanks, and you'll feel good about it, too.
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