Holiday Thank-You Notes

Don't forget to send a holiday gift thank-you note to those who sent or dropped off presents that you wish to acknowledge.

Many times we forget to say thank you to those who provide a gift for a holiday or other celebration. When presented in person, we can thank the person face-to-face, but when a relative or friend sends a package from out of town, it can sometimes be taken for granted or forgotten in the bustle of other holiday activity.

When such gifts come to mind, however, the proper and courteous thing to do is send a note of thanks. It needn't be written on expensive stationery, but your message should express heart-felt appreciation for the gift-giver's thoughtfulness.

1. Get holiday-decorated stationery cards with matching envelopes. Most stores that carry greeting cards will have these on hand as well before the holidays in the section where they stock Christmas cards and giftwrap. If you prefer using stationery without a holiday design, choose an attractive style or use plain white note paper.



2. Use a ballpoint pen or another writing utensil that won't leak, spot, or streak. Practice writing on scrap paper before attempting the card if you have any doubts about its effectiveness. Write neatly and slowly so that the message is readable, and try to keep the lines even for aesthetic value. You can use just the right inside panel or both left and right panels, if needed. Some writers even go on to the back side of the card to extend the message.

3. Address the gift sender by his or her usual name or an affectionate nick-name, whatever you usually call the person when meeting face to face. For a thank-you card, using "Dear" before the name is appropriate, as is a closing like "Thanks again" or "Love" before signing your name. You can include a Bible reference, song lyric, or quote to underscore the meaning of your words.

4. Mention the gift specifically. Avoid generic statements like "I really enjoyed your present" or "Thanks for thinking of me over the holidays." Instead, explain how much you like the gift and how you plan to use it. The giver will be glad that you remembered what was sent and put it to good use.

5. You may want to include a few words about the person's habitual practice of sending holiday or birthday gifts:

"Your ongoing thoughtfulness each year at this time is heart-warming and appreciated."

Here's another example:

"You always seem to choose the best color of sweater for me."

6. Send the thank-you note promptly. The usual rule of thumb is to mail it within two weeks of receiving the gift. Doing so lets the gift-giver know that you received the present safely and that you have not put it aside or lost it.

Saying thanks is a dying art for some. Keep it alive by a show of good will in sending a prompt note of appreciation.

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