dazzling and interesting on a shoestring
It’s always okay to say thank you. It’s always perfectly acceptable to be polite. Start young and continue until your dying day. You won’t ever be sorry that you had good manners.
We write thank-you notes (NOT emails) in my house. My children write them for every birthday and Christmas present.
I started writing thank-you’s for my one-year old, as if the child was writing them. Obviously, none of the words were belonged to the little one, but the sentiment was there all the same. As my oldest began to develop some language skills, I began inserting cute words or phrases or funny things done or said about the gift. When the child could form sentences, they dictated the letter to me (with some helpful prompts by Mommy) and now that they can write ‘love’ and their name, they signed the cards.
A thank-you note or card, does not just say— ‘thanks for the sweater. It looks neat.’ No. Express your thanks and then pick another subject, somewhat related to the recipient, such as, ‘it was great to see you over the holidays,’ or ‘we should get the cousins together to play this summer,’ or some such. Make it personal. It needn’t be an epic poem in rhyme but a sentence or two to let them know that not only are you thankful, but that you have some affection for them as well.
With thank-you’s (as with most things in life) I like to get a little creative and add a little style. I either make my own thank-you’s, or I buy them discounted at my favorite over-priced stores. For example, Anthropologie has great little note-card sets. Some of them can be ridiculously expensive, as if only rich ladies can afford manners or have enough money and time to send cards. But found on the sale shelf or picked over carefully, one can find just the right card to express both gratitude and style without stretching the budget. My rule of thumb is that cards should cost no more than a dollar individually, so I buy the lovely birthday and greeting cards at Trader Joe’s (while I stock up on yogurt and macaroni and cheese) or I buy boxes of note cards. If a box costs $12, then it must contain at least a dozen cards to meet my per-card requirement. I buy unique cards at local, independent bookstores when I can, but I’ve also been known to give in and just go to my local Papyrus chain. You can buy notecards online, but it seems a little silly to have cards mailed to you before you write them and then mail them out, no?
For kids, there are nifty little kits like this one can help encourage creative little minds (and your kids’) and give you ideas to use for making your own from scratch.
Lastly, find your recipients’ addresses and send them. I email my friends and request addresses that way, and then have a master list on an Excel spreadsheet—super-handy for the mass of invitations and thank-you’s I had to send for my wedding. Sometimes I even remember to update it. You can get fancy stamps at the post office, or if basic efficiency over-rules that, you can always get stamps at the supermarket. I like to try to stock up on the nature-inspired or ‘Love’ stamps the USPS puts out.
So, get to it, y’all (and that’s a reminder to myself as well)! Send those thank-you’s and express your gratitude in style. Who knows, for all your troubles, you might even end up on Santa’s ‘nice’ list next year.