Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Art of Gratitude

the letter

The Letter

Henri Lerolle

The written word is beautiful….almost seductive. As much as I love the convenience of telephones, emails, and text messages, I miss letters and notes…you know the ones that have a stamp on them. The ones written on paper with a pen. Handwritten letters and notes require planning, thought, care. But they seem to be fast going the way of the dinosaur. As the bridal season is winding down, I am wondering if thank you notes are becoming a lost art. Most of the thank you notes I receive these days resemble this:

Dear Mrs. Rainbow,

Thank you for the lovely gift. It was so nice of you to think of us at this happy time.


The Bride

note 2

Okay, I admit it. I am a stickler for good manners. You may remember a tongue in cheek post I did on RSVPs. But I don’t think a good thank you note requires vast knowledge of Emily Post or Amy Vanderbilt. I don’t even think it requires beautiful engraved or monogrammed stationery (though I love it for myself). Attractive note cards are available in any price range. Emily Post said, “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others”. I think Someone Else said it first. You remember…Do unto others…..? Here are the guidelines that I think make a good thank you note.

1. Be prompt!!!! Sooner is better than later. Later is better than never. A bride should have all gifts acknowledged within three months max!

2. Make a specific reference to the gift. Remember the giver has spent their thought, time, and money. Tell the giver how you plan to use the gift or why it is special to you. Get creative if you don’t like it.

3. Remember to thank a host or hostess for entertaining you. It may not be absolutely necessary, but you’ll be at the top of the next guest list!

4. Make it personal. Thank the giver for coming to the party or wedding…tell them you enjoyed seeing them at the event….tell them they served your favorite dish. Everyone likes to feel appreciated and special.

5. Make the note longer than two sentences and use your best handwriting skills. Print if penmanship is not your strong suit.

My children like to remind me that they grew up hearing my constant admonition: “We can’t all be pretty, handsome, or smart but we can all have good manners!”. One of our Supreme Court Justices said it best: Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot.


I’ll be linking to Laurie at Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie on Saturday for a A Few of My Favorite Things. A good thank you note is one of my favorite things! Laurie, thank you for hosting and thank you for stopping by :). Don’t forget to say hello!


  1. AMEN!!! I agree!!
    Stay cool - another hot one tomorrow.

  2. I'm so in tune with your post today. Good manners are a must for me. This summer's whirlwind of graduation parties produced one thank you note a week later. The others--nothing!!

    And, you must try oven roasted beets--different taste, different texture.


  3. This is a great reminder, Susan, and I totally agree!...Christine

  4. Susan, what a great post! I received a thank you for a graduation gift recently that would have been funny had it not been so sad. Something like - thanks for the gift - with a name I couldn't read. It took for-ever for me to figure out which graduate sent it! I'm afraid the art of writing is going to become less and less important. So sad. I'm so glad you are linking this to Favorite Things. laurie

  5. You are speaking my language. I did a post on Thank You notes when I first started blogging. I still write them...I think I should still receive them!

  6. Hi Susan,

    I couldn't agree with you more and so important to have good manners.
    Something I was taught as a child and I did the same to our children.
    Oh yes, and to still get a lovely handwritten letter is a joy.

    Have a happy weekend

  7. Susan,
    Great minds think alike. Tomorrow's post is about writing a proper thank you card! Your post is so well done and completely right! It is becoming a lost art... sadly.
    Well, maybe we can have an inpact about that. May I mention your post and add a link back to your post today?
    Love it!

  8. I had a mum say to me a few weeks ago that she didn't understand why her daughter was being taught handwriting. Surely computer skills would be more useful? I was stunned into silence! xx

  9. I too heartedly agree! I am going out this weekend to buy 3 wedding gifts and yet seldom receive a 'Thank You' note in return.
    I like the quote you taught your children adn it is so true! Thanks for your visit and wonderful comments! ~♥

  10. LOVE this post. I have quit giving a couple of family members gifts, not because I don't get a thank you gift, but because they can't even acknowledge getting it. I know that they do because my sister in law thanks me for them. We are in the midst of closing my mother's house. I need to remind my 2 daughters to write a short note to their grandmother to thank her for letting them choose some pieces from her estate. She is glad that some of her things were wanted, but they should thank her!

  11. Yvonne has recommended a visit to you on her post and I'm glad I did.
    Sending thank you notes is something I do with a nice collection of cards and pens. A bit of arthritis in my hand is making my writing not the best any more and I'm thinking your advice to print might be the answer.
    Lovely post.

  12. Susan: I'm back to add another comment. It's in the way of a "thank you" note for your wonderful blog. It's one that I look forward to every day. I've been amazed at the inspiration that I've garnered from friends throughout the blogging community. Thank you for being one of those very important bloggers!


  13. This is absolutely helpful for those who needs some lessons on gratitude. I always keep a stack of Thank You cards and stamps so I can always thank anyone who has sent me a gift or has done anything kind.

    The Muse

  14. Susan, you are absolutely right. It is becoming a lost art and it should be second nature like brushing your teeth. When I was in elementary school we even studied telephone manners. Oh how I wish parents would do what the schools don't have time for anymore and teach common courtesy.

    Have a blessed Sunday. Hugs...Tracy :)

  15. Thanks for your kind sympathetic words, Susan. I am fine now, Dreaming about baby Angelino laughing and having so much fun while Jesus was playing with him really healed me. I know he is very happy and I have an angel in heaven who is very close to me.....Christine

  16. I have a well stocked stationary drawer that is also well used.
    My children know the rules~ No using the gift until the giver is thanked.

    Great reminder!

  17. No rest. The third draft has begun. :-)

  18. I agree about the good manners. Surprisingly, I'm finding that people my age (45) and even older are among the rudest people I meet. Strange, and sad, because I know (right?) that the generation I grew up in wasn't raised that way, nor the generations before. What happened? I, too, love letters, with stamps, not requiring a monthly payment....