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Writing Clinic: Thank You Notes

Merci. Grazie. Obrigado. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Being showered with gifts is a humbling and wonderful experience. All you have to do after such a show of kindness is to say thank you.

Although emailed thank you notes are better than none, handwritten and mailed are still preferred. Givers spend their time and money selecting something special for you, and writing and sending that note out quickly is how you express your appreciation.

If you need to cheat, you can start with a prewritten card, but you still should add something to it. This seems overwhelming to some, especially when a lot of notes need to be written, but you just have to jump in and get writing. Once you are on a roll, the stack of note cards will shrink.

Here are a few pointers to writing a thank you note:

  1. Keep it simple and heartfelt. The main point is just to say, “Thank you.”

  2. Add a sentence or two about the gift. Tell your giver how you feel about it and what you will do with it. Have you wanted that cheese platter for some time? Are you looking forward to a night out using those theater tickets? How will you spend the money or gift card?

  3. You can say something about the event when the gift was given, your relationship, or an upcoming time you will see the giver again.

  4. Wrap up with another thank you.

The whole note only needs a few sentences – it’s a note, not a letter. Following are a couple of examples.

*  *  *

Dear Aunt Jane, Thank you for the silk scarf. I love the bright colors and know it will look great with my black sweater. Thank you for coming to my party and your thoughtful gift. Love, Nancy

——— Dear Bob, Thank you for the gift card to Home Depot. I will put it to good use refinishing the deck this summer. The deck is in desperate need of repair. Thank you for your friendship and generosity. Your friend, Bill

©Mary K. Doyle

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