Updated: Jun 11, 2020
The dreaded “thank-you” note! As important as I know they are, I’ve often resisted writing them–thank-you notes can seem an overwhelming task, especially after birthdays and Christmas. We are so used to the ease of email that actually writing something seems almost excruciatingly time-consuming.
But I’ll tell you something–they are important. For one thing, if someone goes to the trouble of sending a gift–even if they shopped online or sent a gift card–it means they were thinking about you, AND it means they spent money and time to make sure you were celebrated in some way. At a minimum they deserve to know you received the gift.
Here are some simple steps I’ve only recently discovered that make writing thank-you notes a breeze, even a whole stack of them!
Day 1: Gather your materials: paper and envelope (blank is fine–it doesn’t have to say “thank-you” on the front and it doesn’t need to be fancy), a pen, addresses (I keep most of mine on my phone), stamps, return-address stickers or stamp, if you have them.
Day 2: (It doesn’t have to be the very next day) Address and stamp the envelopes.
Day 3: (Whatever day you choose is fine) Write the notes–think about the person who sent the gift, think about the fact that they spent time and money and thought on YOU, and think about how you will use and enjoy what was sent. Then just say that: “Thank you for the ________. I will enjoy using it!” or “It is beautiful!” or “It really cheered me up!” or “It was very thoughtful of you!”
That’s it! If you really have lots and lots of notes to send, do them in batches. The key is to just do a handful at a time, and to not try to do everything in one sitting; if you think you have to find your materials, find the addresses, write the addresses and return-addresses, and write the notes all at one go, you’ll just put it off forever, but if you think, “All I have to do is set out the materials.” well, that’s an easy, 5-minute task. You can break it down even further if you want–set out the notecards one day, the next day locate all the addresses, etc.
This is also an excellent way to train your children to get into the habit. To make it even more fun (either just for them, or for yourself as well), order a customized return-address stamp or labels, and buy some stickers they can add to make the message more fun and colorful!
Trust me, sending a thank-you note is one of the most thoughtful things you can do for someone who has been kind enough to think of you and send you a gift. I haven’t always felt capable of this discipline–it’s tough with young children, or just the general overwhelm of life–but it doesn’t take long, and it’s a small thing in comparison to the joy you will bring to someone, knowing they are appreciated.
Get online–find yourself some cute stationery, a cool pen and some fun stickers! Order those return-address labels, even for your kids! Cultivate the lovely discipline of saying “thank-you” in a tangible way.