When I was younger my mom would always get me to write thank you notes to my grandparents after they had sent me a Christmas or birthday gift. It didn't have to be anything really long, just a simple thank you for the gift they had taken time to purchase and send to me and what I had done with it or what I liked about it.
Over the years I lost touch with the thank you note. I could say that life took over or that I didn't care to write one, but, to tell you the truth, I just forgot about writing them. It wasn't until I started running a business that sells, among other things, thank you cards, that I began writing them again. Here are a few tips that I try to remember when writing a thank you note:
1. Be polite and thoughtful when writing a thank you note. If I receive money I always try to say thank you in a tactful way, and then I let them know how I plan to use it or what I purchased with it if I have already been out shopping. If it is a gift other than money I always thank the person for the specific gift and then say how much I love the colour, how I plan to use it, how I can't wait to wear it, etc.
2. Use beautiful stationery. Write your thank you note on cards or pieces of paper that you are proud to send out in the mail. Stationery that you love and spent a little bit of money on shows that you care about the person you are sending it to a little more than a piece of scrap paper or lined loose leaf. It also shows your appreciation better than something that you just quickly grabbed off of your desk.
3. You can write a thank you note for things other than presents. Writing a thank you note to someone that helped you with something like getting ready the hall ready for a big party is a way to show that person that you really appreciated what that person has done for you, and it is a good way to ensure that they will be willing to help you again.
4. Remember that a simple thank you goes a long way towards showing appreciation and respect. The person that sent you the gift -- be it an actual gift or the gift of their time -- gave up some of their time for you, and to receive a thank you note in the mail is like getting a gift in return.
Snail mail is not dead yet. Let's keep it alive by writing thank you notes!