The simple art of the thank-you note

Are thank-you notes making a comeback? The reason I wonder is that after at least two decades of gratitude silence—even following weddings—I’ve received two thank-you notes in the span of a month.

I love thank-you notes. They’re like a gift that comes in the mail, unannounced and unexpected, that just brightens your day. No matter what they say inside, the very fact of that little card’s existence means that someone thought enough of what you did to write, put a stamp on, and send that note to say so. It isn’t much. Maybe you spent three days cooking an amazing meal, and the labor of that certainly isn’t balanced by the arrival of a card. And yet . . . somehow it is. Knowing that someone appreciated your effort and went to some effort to say so makes it worth doing.

It used to be that if a bride didn’t send a thank-you note within six weeks after she returned from her honeymoon, eyebrows would go up and discreet inquiries would be made as to the arrival of the gift in question. Emily Post, queen of etiquette, says the acceptable time period is more like three months. Now, I couldn’t tell you the last bride who sent a note thanking us for our gift. I think I got an email once, but you know what? It’s not the same.

My friend Kathi Lipp, author and speaker, takes particular joy in writing thank-you notes. Whether it’s for a dinner she goes to, a conference she speaks at, or simply because she feels the urge to do it, she sends several thank-you notes a week. Do we wonder why people love her? (Okay, it’s because she’s a genuinely lovely person, but you see where I’m going with this.)

A thank-you note is simply a moment we take to feel the gratitude in our hearts and express it in a form that the recipient can enjoy every time she picks it up. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go write one now, while I’m counting my blessings.

1 thought on “The simple art of the thank-you note”

  1. Janie EmausJanie Emaus

    I don’t think they’ve ever gone out of style. I get them quite frequently.

    February 19, 2011

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