A stickler trained me, so I have a decided opinion on the matter of thank-you notes! My mother made me write thank-you notes for all the gifts ever given me.
Write that note, now! You can’t play with the gift, or spend it or wear it until you do!
So, one of my first purchases as a new bride was from Garfinkel’s — note cards, and gift cards, too – engraved – on creamy white, thick paper. Such fine stationery may not have inspired any memorable lines –but oh! It inspired me to take pen in hand and try!
Emily Post and Amy Vanderbilt motivated me – yes, I read their books, and selected my paper accordingly. However, Miss Manners was and is my guide. She is disarmingly, indomitably persuasive that good manners are worth the time, and make good sense especially the more discourteous and crazy our times.
All you have to do is to give the impression that it was not written under duress, as it doubtless was. Rather, you should seem so overcome by the thoughtfulness involved that you can hardly wait to set it down on paper. (Getting the Hang of Thank You Notes)
Alas — who has time any more? Even I dash off a text – or email, even if I know a note card is in order.
Still, way –down, my inner child knows better . . . all the electronic shortcuts show me I cannot take the time, will not, make the time, that others took to thank me for my gift. Such hurriedness is but a hasty nod, implying I have more important things to do then let you know I so appreciate your gift.
With the world the way it is, why harp on the right way to write thank you notes? Maybe it’s just one little thing I can control, in these uncontrollable, dangerous days?
The simple exercise of writing that note, addressing the envelope, and taking the time to mail it takes time, true. Ten minutes at the most! Yet, in that time, I have a quiet space to see another’s face; to think about them – not me or my silly, crazy schedule. Why, I might even have a moment to pray for them, and thank God for their generosity to me.
Good manners and gratitude know no zip codes. So keep on writing, because nothing makes a person feel appreciated like receiving a hand-written piece of mail, sent just to say “thank you.” (How to Write a Thank You Note, and Why You Should)
P.S. That day in Garfinkel’s, did I tell you whom I saw? Mrs. Robert Kennedy –Ethel; she and I shared an elevator. She was on crutches, but I didn’t ask why. Miss Manners would have frowned!
P.P.S. The days of ordering engraved papers died when computer printing fired up!