"Make it a habit to tell people 'thank you.' To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it."
- Ralph Marston
It might seem like writing 'thank you' cards is an old-fashioned tradition that went out of style with hoopskirts and petticoats, or that it is a social grace only Miss Manners would ever dare to attempt. However, doing so is actually a super simple and thoughtful way to express your gratitude to others.
The Importance Of A Genuine 'Thank You'
Most of us say "thank you" on a daily basis, even for things as simple as the door being held open, but when something exceptionally kind and thoughtful is done for us, that phrase becomes all the more important.
After receiving a gift or hosting a party, everyone knows you're supposed to verbally thank the giver or attendees. But sending a card afterward is an act of gratitude that not only shows you care, but that you appreciate their effort.
The Basics Of A 'Thank You' Card
1. The Card
The card is the canvas on which you paint an expression of gratitude that will bring a smile to the recipient's face. It's definitely a big deal, so it's fortunate that there are quite a few kinds you can choose from, depending on your needs.
- General Thank You Cards — For most things, a plain store-bought card will work well. Keep a box around the house to use whenever the need arises. They aren't the most personal ones, but they do make life a little bit easier.
- Picture Thank You Cards — One way to make your card special for those who have attended a party or event is to include pictures. This can be done on your own computer or at an instant or 1-hour photo place.
- Handmade Thank You Cards — If you're feeling particularly creative, why not make your own? Doing so will most likely be lots of fun, but it could also be time-consuming, especially if you have several to make. Check out Pinterest for some ideas!
2. The Pen
Believe it or not, the pen you use can actually make or break your card. When you write one, you should always use high quality ink, never lead. Writing your 'thank you' in a fun color is perfectly acceptable, but make sure it's legible!
3. The Words
Writing a good 'thank you' card can sometimes seem as daunting as climbing Mount Everest or swimming the English Channel, but it isn't too difficult once you learn the basics.
First things first, think about the person you are writing to. If you know them fairly well, try to make the 'thank you' specific to them; tell them not only what their gift meant to you, but how special and important they are, too. If you don't know them very well, a more generic message will do, but still try to give it a bit of a personal touch.
Here is a great example of a simple and straightforward 'thank you' card:
Thank you so much for attending my graduation party! I enjoyed celebrating with you.
The journal that you gave me is absolutely beautiful! I can't wait to start writing all of my hopes and thoughts for the future in it.
Your friend, Cassie
Keeping It All Organized
When you have multiple cards to send out, keeping track of addresses and who did what may get a little tricky. Organization, then, is clearly key. You definitely don't want to thank someone for the wrong thing!
1. Make a List
Keep a list of everyone who attended your event, whether they brought a gift, and, if so, what it was. The easiest way to do this is to get a sheet of paper and divide it into three columns, labeled Name, Gift, and Type. Even if a guest did not show up with a present, remember to include them on the list so that you can still thank them for attending!
Always make sure you get down everyone's correct address, even if you think you already know it.
When it comes to actually addressing the card, write the words and numbers out carefully and clearly. Always double check each one to avoid your card being sent to the wrong place!
Stamps are a must! Regularly keep them in check so that you'll always have enough for your cards. To make it even more fun, you can try to match the design to the envelope.
The power a simple 'thank you' can have is truly powerful— it is one of the marks of a good host or hostess! Knowing when and how to express your gratitude shows that you're well-mannered, so don't be afraid to say it! And remember, you should always mean every one you give.