December 13th, 2009

Thank-You Note Etiquette Tips

by Jacqueline Whitmore

thank-you noteWritten by Booth Moore, Los Angeles Times

A handwritten note is the most personal way to say “thank you” during the holidays, whether it’s for a cashmere scarf or a Sunday dinner.

“Writing thank-you notes is an important skill, one that you should teach your children even before they can write,” says Jacqueline Whitmore, a Palm Beach, Fla.-based author and the founder of “I can’t tell you how many e-mails I get from grandparents who are upset with their grandchildren, or with their children for not teaching their grandchildren to write thank-you notes.”

“You can write the note as a parent and they can sign their name,” she said. A proper note should always mention the gift.

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4 Responses to “Thank-You Note Etiquette Tips”

  1. Maxine Barnett on January 5th, 2010 10:49 am

    I agree ……an email is an inadequate replacement for the prrsonal touch of the handwritten thank you note.The itme taken to write the note speaks volumes and sends a strong messae about how you feel about the person.

  2. Maxine Barnett on January 5th, 2010 10:49 am

    I agree ……an email is an inadequate replacement for the prrsonal touch of the handwritten thank you note.The itme taken to write the note speaks volumes and sends a strong message about how you feel about the person.

  3. John Treboutat on January 14th, 2010 12:36 pm

    This is funny. My Mother and I had this very same discussion over the holidays. She was writing her thank you notes/cards to new family she met over the holidays while visiting me in TX. The gesture is completely heart felt and I can appreciate that.

    However, I’m sorry, I couldn’t disagree more on this topic. I full heartedly believe that “thank you cards/notes” are a relic of the past. I agree we are having a difficult time letting go of this tradition. But things change. The advent of technology forces this upon us. Information is too rampant and fast paced to take the time to “hand write” nearly anything anymore. And so it should be.

    I know grandparents and old-school folks will disagree because it’s what they grew up with, it’s the rules of etiquette they learned/know, it’s what makes them feel good and the opposite acknowledges a generation that is selfish and without regard for others. Again, I must disagree. That’s an one interpretation. Another might be that they said/felt the thank you as soon as they received the gift. Another could be that the person emailed the giver and really meant what they said.

    I read another post citing that “taking the time and effort to write someone” is a gift and demonstrates thoughtfulness. But I disagree that a text/email means any less if crafted nicely. THey cited that text/email “don’t require any thought”. But that’s absurd!! THe same thoughts go through my head with the major difference being that I can get my thoughts down in a fraction of the time it would take to hand write. Not to mention that many peoples’ handwriting is atrocious from growing up typing in school. Does the person receiving the card really want their friend or loved one getting upset when they forgot a word or mispelled one and now the card looks full of white-out or scratch out marks? Do you really want to inflict that kind of mental/emotional anguish on someone? Is the receiver being selfish and inconsiderate?

    ANyways, I have much to say about this topic. It’s funny how it sparks me to write. Admitedly, I wouldn’t write anything at all if it had to be handwritten. 😉 Perhaps I’ve offended someone and they would have preferred that more. 🙂 Sorry, sorry.

    We are living in a world where the Company you work for no longer manages your retirement (you do!), heck you don’t even have time to get comfortable in your job because it’s bad practice to stay at one company for more than a few years. Taking care of your finances and managing your own retirement is a HUUUuuuge responsibility, if this economic blunder can teach us anything. Using facebook, twitter, blogs gives us contact with so many more people and allows to MAINTAIN contact versus losing touch like handwriting people would inevitably lead to. There are so many more choices and experiences in life now than even 10 or 20 years ago. You have to pick and chose so much more cautiously what you devote your time to. Time may be one of the most precious commodities of our current day.

    I truely believe that we are just feeling the fleeting last moments of change and people experience 2 reactions; Fight or Flight. The Fleeing people essentially accept the dominion of the new era and give way to technology. THey don’t necessarily live rude lives and they still say thank you but in a way that’s current. The Flight people are resisting and citing how grandparents consider this generation rude or unthoughtful.

    I recognize it feels nice to receive a hand written note. And maybe for the VERY SUPER UBER special people in our lives, that’s a great thing to do. But all of that good feeling washes away and is completely forgotten when you need that person or are relying on them and they let you down. So for me, what really matters is how you relate to people, how you demonstrate friendship/loyalty etc…and I care less about the semantics.

    My thinking is akin to a regular looking cake that surprises you with delight when you bite into it versus one that’s so decorative and pleasing, until you taste it. I’d rather someone was there for me or just a great friend/family member. I still want them to acknowledge and thank me for doing something nice, paying for a meal or for my gift. But so much can come through words, emails and texts. I completely disagree that we need to rely on the old hand written tool to “feel good” about the thank you.

    Inevitably, the art of writing (not composing) will become a thing of the past (excepting perhaps a new age of artists). We’re just not letting it go quietly (enough) 😉

  4. Charlotte on June 2nd, 2010 1:35 pm

    I believe it is the content of the note which makes it personal. I could care less if I receive one that is typed or handwritten.

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