Saturday, December 12, 2015

To Write a Proper Thank-You Note


In this electronic age, a handwritten note of thanks is becoming a distinguishing hallmark of gentility.  Most will likely agree that a penned thank-you is the nicest way to express appreciation for the kindness of another, but so few follow through.

Perhaps this is because writing a proper thank-you is a skill that is seldom taught, and one is left to her own ingenuity to compose what she hopes will be an adequate acknowledgement of appreciation.  Suddenly, what had sounded simple enough now looms a larger, somewhat daunting task, easily procrastinated.  

For years I struggled to follow through in writing notes of appreciation because I felt compelled to write a short essay to adequately express my gratitude.  Imagine my liberation when, as a student at the American School of Protocol, I discovered that a proper thank-you note contains just four sentences.  Here is the simple formula, followed by an example:

Dear __________________ ,
  • A sentence that says thank-you for the gift.
  • A sentence that says something about the gift.
  • A sentence that says something about the giver.
  • A sentence that says something about the gift.

For example:

Dear Sarah,

Thank you so much for the lovely dinner last evening.  The chicken cacciatore was superb, and I am still dreaming of your chocolate meringues!  You have such a gift for making people feel loved.  The time and effort you put into making the evening so enjoyable is truly appreciated!


Additional tips for writing proper thank-you notes:
  • Don't be troubled about being eloquent.  Eloquence is found in simplicity and sincerity.
  • Keep note cards on hand for timely correspondence.
  • When writing on behalf of you and your spouse, begin:  "John and I wish to thank you for...", and end by signing your name only.
  • Timely thank-you notes are best sent within one week, and not later than two weeks, of receiving the gift.  But even late is better than never.
Principle:  A lady writes proper thank you notes.

Art:  Penning a Letter by George Goodwin Kilburne