Last week (Thanksgiving) we talked about showing gratitude all year
long.  One of the ways I do this is to randomly drop someone a thank-
you note or card even when there wasn’t a gift given.

Then there are the occasions when gifts have been given.  You know
that feeling – you or your daughter or both are staring at a long list of
who gave what to whom for some special occasion.  Will you let those
gifts go unacknowledged?

I’d like to encourage a thank-you note culture.  A personal note
brightens almost anyone’s day.  Saying thank you also forces us to
slow down and take a detour from the information onslaught we battle
every day.  They took time to find the gift.  We can take time to thank them.

A few days ago, my daughter (who just celebrated a birthday and now
faces THE LIST) came home from school and said, “Lissa’s family
doesn’t write thank-you notes.  They never have.”

“Wow,” I replied, genuinely surprised at how different two families can
be – I’ve been writing thank-you notes since I was five. 

“I think people really appreciate a nice thank-you note,” I offered. 
“What do you think?”

“Yeah, I guess,” said Amy.  She sounded a bit resigned but gave no
argument.  “Let’s get to it.”

The best way to tackle thank-you notes is one at a time.  Try these
few tricks to make the task more fun. 
First of all, make or buy cool
note cards.  You’ll be more inspired to write if you like the look and
feel of the paper.

Next, prioritize which notes you’ll write first (but then you have to
write them, OK?)  Will you start with:

  • the givers who sent items by mail (i.e. you didn’t even thank them in
  • the gift that inspired you most?
  • the giver to whom you feel the closest?
  • the gifts you received first?

What do you say in a thank-you note?  I feel the main guideline is to
be sincere.  I’ll leave you with one basic framework I’ve used.  This
one is easy to teach to kids.  Older children and adults usually
embellish depending on the recipient of the note.

Dear Auntie Who,

1. Thank you so much for the (item, service, act of kindness, etc.).

2. I like (the item) because…
Tell what you did with the item
I bought a so & so with the money/gift card
This item came at an important time for me because…

3. Thanks again for your thoughtfulness.

Your darling niece

Your turn:  If you have any thank-you writing tips, or substitute
gratitude traditions, I’m all ears!

Mama J (Diane Fromme) is a writer, parent, and stepparent located in
Northern Colorado.  For more information on her stepparenting book,
go to


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