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The Art of the Thank You Note

The following is a guest post from momAgendaCOMM blogger Nicole Feliciano.

With the holidays approaching, it got me thinking of tradition and giving thanks. I was raised with by a mother who believed in the wisdom of Emily Post and a father who pretty much let my mom make the rules when it came to socialization and manners.

After all the wrapping paper had been ripped open and the presents and cash revealed, there were rules. Before we played with a single new toy or went on a Barbie spending spree at the toy store with the new-found cash, we had to get out our nice stationery (we always had a new supply tucked into our Christmas stockings) and write a letter of at least three lines to the relative or friend that bestowed a gift upon us.

It wasn’t enough to scribble, “Thanks for the sweater Aunt Sue, Love Nicole.” There had to be personalization involved. For example, “I love the new Esprit sweater you sent. It’s going to look awesome with my Guess jeans and pink scrunchy. I appreciate you remembering I love hot pink. Love, Nicole” (Yes, I was a kid in the 80s). Perhaps, that’s where I learned to wax poetic about fashion and to this day, I attempt to write thank you notes to show appreciation to those around me.

But, what about the next generation, especially our text-crazy, online-loving kids? Will the hand-written thank you note die a quick death over the next few years? Well, not if moms like me have anything to say about the trend.

I’m on a mission to keep the thank you alive and well. This holiday, my girls will be getting pretty thank you cards from me and they’ll be spending a post-holiday morning writing notes (or dictating a note in the case of my 3 year old) to the love ones that made the effort to send them gifts.

While I adore the speed and efficiency of an email and will use it to thank friends for a small gesture or for a quick update, I’m still investing in pens and paper for our family. The effort behind writing, addressing and posting does count. Plus, who doesn’t love retrieving the mail to find something beyond junk and bills? There’s everyday magic involved in opening an envelope to see the intimacy of the handwritten word.

What about you? Are you giving in and going completely online? Do you believe the thank you is something to be treasured?

Nicole is a member of the Council of Media Moms at momAgenda. She is also the founder and editor of the popular blog Momtrends. You can also find her on Twitter.

5 thoughts on “The Art of the Thank You Note

  1. I found this post very interesting because most of my family don’t like written thank you notes. Not quite sure why we feel this way(for me, it’s all about having less clutter). A verbal thanks is good enough for me.

  2. I completely concur, Nicole. The “art of the thank you note” is a critical skill to teach our kids. Texts and email are amazing technologies and useful for “quick hits”, but they are fleeting. No one rummages through an old shoebox of emails and smiles. We all need to slow down and take the time to say thanks. Nicole, I appreciate your help spreading the message.

  3. I 100% agree and it upsets me that this seems to be forgotten these days. I think it is SO important and the handwritten message makes all of the difference to me. Great post! Thank you :)

  4. Jen–I agree that a simple thanks works for many small gestures. But when someone has mailed or sent a gift I like to go through some effort.

    Jay & Allison–So glad this resonated with you. My mom will be very happy and proud!

  5. Just found this blog post via twitter. LOVE IT!

    We don’t do handwritten cards for Christmas since we open presents in front of the givers and have agreed as a family that a verbal thanks is enough. However, just yesterday, my three-year-old boys painted homemade thank you cards to send to the grandparents for the surprise book that they sent them in the mail. It inspired me to send cute little cards to my girlfriends that I am planning a trip with next month just to let them know I’m looking forward to it! :)

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