Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Is The "Thank You Note" Outdated?

How to write a creative Thank-You Note others would love to receive!

The good folks at Letter Writer's Alliance caused quite a stir when they posted the link on Twitter to the NPR program , " All Things Considered: In This  New Year, Is it Time to Nix The Thank-You Letter?"  You can listen to the program here: NPR/thank you note  which was originally published in  the Guardian here.

  Oh, I get the point that Mr. Ormerod is making...that insincere gratitude (i.e. forcing our children to grudgingly send thank you letters for gifts) is not gratitude at all.  He advocates other alternatives such as phone calls, emails, or drawing a picture that might be more creative.  Heh, heh...unless you have a parent who is an avid snail mailer! Then it is get out 1 million paper crafting tools such as washi tape, rubber stamps, paints, chalk , stickers, punches...

I don't know where you stand on this debate, but I encourage (yes, sometimes mandate!) my children to write thank you notes for gifts they receive.  I am personally alarmed at this generation's extreme lack of gratitude in general, so I believe now would be the worst of all times to do away with this tradition.

So let's look at how to write an interesting , non-boring, Thank You Note.  This is the perfect time to do so, according to 365 Letters as she  mentions in her most recent blog post that January is National Thank You Month!  What better way to show appreciation than to write one's appreciation!

How To Write an Interesting Thank You Letter...

  • First, you want your correspondents to SEE you, to FEEL your mood, and to SENSE you as if they were there with you , like over a cup of coffee.
  • It's all about the details!  Start with where you are, what you 're doing, and what is going on around you.  Act as if the reader is blind and you are his guide, giving him a tour through your day. Do you think that your life is not beautiful every moment?  Join the crowd.  We all have  some very non-beautiful  moments, or down right boring moments in our lives.  The trick is to remember that beauty is often your interpretation of the event, not the event itself.  Beauty comes in the telling.
  • Setting the scene.  Description adds padding to a letter, but it also invites the correspondent to enter a "vacation zone"  for a brief 5 minutes or so.  It carries him outside of his familiar walls and into a new , unknown scene.  
  • Here is an example I found on the web in some files I had copied (author unknown),
Dear Jane,

This morning I opened my eyes to sunshine streaming in through a window covered with crystal tendrils of ice.  I was loathe to get out of bed!  I was so cozy under the flowered comforter you helped me pick out at that funky shop on 3rd St,

But I rolled out of bed anyway and after a cup of hot tea and an hour alone before the kids got up  I was "right as rain" and braced for the onslaught of diapers and protests of clothes that don't match and milk rings from untidy cereal eating and know it all.  That is one of the many things that make me happy in my life--that you are in the trenches with me even though you're so far away.

Love your faithful friend,

Perhaps some of these thoughts can guide us as we sit down and write some thank you letters for the month of January.  And back to Mr. Omerod.  Instead of nixing the Thank You Letter/Note, I believe that maybe the parents (or adult generation) should set the example with the true attitude of gratitude in this endeavor.

Write Letters.
Write  Often.

Lady Pamela


  1. I love this post. We as a society definitely need to be more grateful and we need to put that gratitude out into the universe to raise the vibration. I really like the sample you posted as well.

  2. Hear, hear! Now is the time to model gratitude, not do away with it. It's lacking enough already! Love your fine examples of how to share a thank you letter that is sincere and meaningful.