Am I the only one who feels this common courtesy is going the way of the dodo?

Having just written several and accomplished no other house project or craft, this qualifies as blog-worthy. Stop reading now if you hate Ms. Manners.

From the time I could scribble my name in slanty left-handed garbage, I wrote thank you notes. My mother really hit on this lesson every birthday, holiday, or any other nice gesture in between. I remember the stellar parties she would throw for me, sometimes crafty (paper flowers, scrapbooking, t-shirt making, amongst others) and sometimes at a fun location like the roller rink (dude, I am awesome on 8 wheels)- but beyond that, I remember the list. You know, the list of who gave you what so you can write thank you notes later.

When I was younger I hated this task. My mom would always make me do it pretty much right away, and it wasn’t like “Dear Sally, thank you for the gift” either. She told me I had to write exactly what I was thankful for and to be specific about how I was going to play with it/use it. Now as an adult, this is one of those lessons I thank the parenting gods I was lucky to learn. I have a lot of those, as my mom is  freaking awesome, but this one in particular I use all the time.

I cannot tell you how many people I write notes to that are surprised by this gesture. Apparently I missed the memo that you are only supposed to thank people for wedding/baby gifts and you have a year to do that (P.S. that’s not true).

Remember my post about handmade gift giving? If you thought I was super weird about giving gifts, you might not be surprised by the fact that I will thank-the-ever-living-crap-out-of-you if you do anything nice for me. I have more stationary/cards than a person really should have, and I take pleasure in picking out the perfect note card for every person/occasion.

Please understand I am generally NOT good at correspondence. I don’t write letters, and I rarely pick up my phone (ask my friends…). I’m even horrible at returning calls or emails sometimes. Sadly the best way to get me is texting. But it would be rare for you to not get a thank you note from me. Sometimes life gets in the way, and I do forget things like a normal human being, but this is really a top priority. So I want to share my little guidelines for writing them… and maybe you all agree, or have things to add, or want to jump on the thank you note train? Yes?

1) Unless I’m crazy busy, I try to write them right away. I just think you get a better result when you’re still…you know…thankful. :) In the moment of being grateful, if you will.

2) Do be specific if you can. You don’t have to be like “I’m going to use this $100 check to buy 20 t shirts at Goodwill and a nightstand,” but do share if you’re putting that check towards a new _____ you’ve been saving for or eyeing. Or, how did that nice gesture make you feel? Be genuine.

3) I tend to err on the side of formal, depending on who I’m writing to and what kind of mood I’m in. But it’s definitely not as casual as my blog speak. I take less liberties with the grammar. If you’re a regular I may get more silly. If you’re Amy Evans, I get really inappropriate (she has received dozens of notes from me, I’m sure-and vice versa).

4) I almost never mark stuff out/misspell/typo on the final note. I have terrible handwriting and often make mistakes forming simple sentences. I think it’s something about having to use a pen, I get all non-committal with what I was thinking of writing and then screw it up. Also as a lefty I have to be very careful to not smudge the wet ink. It’s not uncommon for me to write a note several times. But that’s just a weird thing I do, it’s not like I judge you if you send me a note with a word crossed out :)

5) A late note is better than no note! Ok so the one-year rule is way out of line. I don’t even know who came up with that. But if a couple of weeks go by and you just can’t get one out, that’s ok! Just acknowledge the lateness and thank away! Trust me, that person will LOVE that you still took the time to send a note.

6) I get most of my stationary stash in the “adult impulse buys” at Michaels. Yes, that is the official term for that section of the store. My point is, there is no excuse not to have note cards! They are cute, cheap, and I don’t feel bad when I have to write 5 to get the desired result. I do have some nice classic stuff from Crane & Co, usually reserved for boys (most of my other note cards are frilly). But there’s no need to drop a load of money on personalized or fancy cards.

Well I suppose that’s enough Ms. Manners for today. Does anyone else have a weird mannery quirk they want to share? Pet peeve? Are you judging me right now?



7 Responses

  1. Runt

    I definitely did note cards for my bridal shower and plan to do them for my baby shower, but I never did do them for my birthdays or holidays or anything like that. Oops! I’m a lefty too and yes, trying to make sure you don’t smudge that ink is hard! I, also, sometimes write a note five times before I decide it’s acceptable. Some times when I’m really uncertain about what to say I will jot it down on a separate piece of paper and then write it on my card. =]

  2. Janet

    I can vouch for Rachael on her thank you notes! She is outstanding about writing a personal thank you. I for one will take an example from my lovely daughter-in-law and make a resolution to do a better job at mine. I have slipped away from writing notes and need to get back at it. Thank you, Rachael, for reminding us that a note of thanks for any gesture of kindness that is handwritten is not only good manners but lets the other person know you liked whatever that gesture was enough to let them know.

  3. mary fran

    I also am a big NOTE person. I write Thank You’s for Thank you’s sometimes! I agree that they make you realize how grateful you are for sometimes simple things and it makes the person doing the giving feel extra special…if only for a moment. It is such a kick to get a note in the mail…a heartfelt one.
    Thanks for reminding me of the great gift of THANK YOU!

  4. Amy Evans

    I just did an actual spit take at my desk while reading this. Rachael, you are hysterical. :)

    Thanks for the shout out in your Ms. Manners post. I do truly enjoy your thank-you notes–especially the inappropriate ones.

  5. Sandy

    Rachael, I think note writing is a dying art. I, like you, have a mom that always
    made me write thank you notes on every single occasion I received gifts. But now that I’m an old lady, I appreciate having that craft, and enjoy doing this task. I wish more people had this positive trait. It’s fun to send cards out, but it’s also fun to receive them too!

  6. Danielle

    My mom also drilled in the thank you writing for me. When I got married recently, I did my best to stay on top of the notes for shower gifts and whatnot. Actual wedding thank yous overwhelmed me a bit, and it took nearly 3 months to get them all sent out, but I did!
    When my mother-in-law first gave me a gift for Christmas, about 3 months after we had started dating, I, of course, wrote her a thank you note. My husband later told me that she was amazed and so impressed that I wrote such a nice note. It’s encouraged me to keep up with my thank you writing :) Plus, who doesn’t like to get something other than a bill in the mail!


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