If you have some people to thank after getting some extravagant gifts for Christmas, think of your gratitude as being among those gifts.
“Expressing gratitude is not an obligation,” says Margaret Shepherd in her book, “The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication.” “In fact, it is one of the most intense pleasures you can have.”
I wrote thank-you notes for Christmas tonight, and I do this for me as much as for the recipient. I get to savor the gifts I received and think good thoughts about the givers. Yes, it was part of my “to do” list today so I guess that makes it a chore, but I like putting pen to paper and saying thanks in a semi-creative way. And for me, there’s double value. Even though I insist the gifts be separate, as a Dec. 23 baby I can thank people for both birthday and Christmas gifts in the same note.
Shepherd says there are five characteristics for a good thank-you note:
- Be generous. “Send a note even if you’ve already thanked the giver another way,” Shepherd says.
- Be specific.
- Be prompt. (I haven’t finished sending all my Christmas cards, but I’ve got those thank-you notes done!)
- Be succinct. (See, you don’t have to write a book.)
- Be personal.
Stuck with writer’s block? Try beginning one of these phrases from Shepherd:”I was so pleased to …,” “You were so nice to …,” “What a nice surprise …,” “That was a thoughtful gift …” and “It was a treat when we … .”
I’m always so pleased to know I have regular readers. You’re so kind to tune in and comment on occasion. Thanks for reading!