how to…

Speaking of, thank you to miss Jordan for this post suggestion :)

How to Write a Thank-You Note

‘Sincerely, Help?’ Having trouble finding the right words to thank your Cousin Sal for that mango slicer? Should you even bother? Oh yes you should. LESLIE HARPOLD tells why and demostrates how to write the perfect, honest thank-you note every time.

Question: I have a crushing inability to write proper thank-you notes. Can you offer me some guidelines? –Helen

Answer: I was wondering when you were going to ask that question, and frankly, I’m a little disappointed it took you so long. Somewhere in between your mom making you sit down with your Peanuts® stationery and you shooting off an email, you completely lost touch with the concept of simple thank-you notes. Now that you’re a grown-up, an email just won’t do, and more is expected of you than scratching out ‘Thanks for the present, you rock!’

Grandma might not say anything to you, but trust me: She and her friends are probably at this very moment sighing over how young people today just don’t have manners.

As extra motivation, I will also grudgingly tell you the hidden secret of thank-you notes: They improve the frequency and quality of the gifts you receive. People like being appreciated, and if they feel you actually notice the nice things they do for you, they’re more likely to give an encore performance. Do not, however, use this as a strategy to avoid writing thank-yous to those who regularly give gifts you do not like. Every gift deserves a thank-you. Even the ‘Keep On Truckin’’ blacklight poster your crazy Uncle Alvarez gave you when you moved into the dorms.

I assure you, writing thank-yous is easier than you remember. Get yourself some stationery, plain note cards or a selection of attractive postcards (yes, postcards are perfectly acceptable!), and proper postage. Avoid the pre-inscribed ‘Thank you!’ cards in loopy script, as there are times you’ll want to write notes where that aesthetic feels all wrong. Better to choose paper you like. Stay away from full-size sheets—note cards are best, as your message will be brief, and would look silly swimming around on a page that large. Store all of these items somewhere easily accessible and preferably in plain sight so you won’t hesitate too long or forget too easily. Say, the top drawer of your desk or on a bookshelf at eye level or below.

If you want to know when you get a genuine pass on writing a note, the litmus test is simple: Do I live under the same roof as the giver? If the answer is ‘yes,’ you need not write a thank-you note (although a thank-you Post-It might be a nice touch).

I’m not going to go all Miss Manners on your ass and get into the social intricacies and delicate situations that surround thank-you note writing, as I was taught that a solid thank-you note will transcend all complicated situations—and I have seen no evidence to the contrary.

There is a six-point formula to the proper thank-you: Learn it, know it, memorize it—and it will never fail you.

1. Greet the Giver

Dear Aunt Sally,

That’s the easy part, but you’d be surprised how many people forget it. Dale Carnegie taught us people love to hear their own names and Direct Marketing is sure we also love to read them in ink. That’s right, ink. Blue-black is always the number-one choice, but black will suffice in a pinch. Don’t let a whimsical marker color be the most stunning part of your note: instead let the words sing without the amplification of rainbow hues. Even if your handwriting is poor, you must still hand-write your notes. Do not type them or, worse, use a word processor. No excuses.

2. Express Your Gratitude

Thank you so much for the slippers.

This first paragraph seems like it would be the easiest, but it is actually the most complicated. Beware the just writing trap. You are not ‘just writing to say’ as in I am just writing to say; that’s stating the obvious. If the giver is reading, clearly you have already written. Therefore use the present-perfect tense, which essentially means write as if whatever you say is happening in the moment.

Also—and this is important—never directly mention money. ‘Thank you for the hundred bucks’ could instead be ‘Thank you for your generosity.’ All cash denominations become ‘your generosity’ or ‘your kindness.’ If you feel the giver overspent, the farthest you can go is appreciated: ‘Your generosity is appreciated,’ or ‘It is such an extravagant gift—your kindness is appreciated.’

If you’re writing to thank someone for an intangible (such as them putting you up at their place while you were in town for the weekend), first define what the intangible thing is, and then make the gift sound as attractive as possible. In other words, don’t say: ‘Thanks for letting us crash at your place.’ Instead say: ‘Thank you for your hospitality.’ Don’t worry if it sounds too simple; the point of writing the note is to create a simple expression of a heartfelt sentiment.

3. Discuss Use

It gets very chilly here in the winter, so they will get a lot of use when winter comes.

Say something nice about the item and how you will use it. Let’s say it’s something you actually love and use incessantly—then say so: ‘Ever since I got the slippers I have only taken them off to shower and go to work. I’d wear them to the office if I thought I could get away with it.’

But don’t lie, even though some etiquette books may tell you it’s okay. After all, there’s always a truth that can be extracted. Let’s say you hate the slippers. How to say thanks? Find the one thing about them that’s nice and discuss it—but don’t get carried away. ‘They are such a lovely shade of blue’ works, and is more honest than ‘These slippers make my heart sing like a choir of angels,’ which is overkill. If it was a gesture, like letting you stay at their place, you can follow the lines of ‘It’s so nice to make a personal connection while traveling. I really appreciated my time with your family.’

If the gift was cash, allude to how you will use the money, but do not itemize your planned purchases line by line, instead simply say: ‘It will be a great help when we purchase our new home/toaster/lava lamp/whatever.’

You can get arty here, but not flowery. It’s a fine line. Small, realistic statements like ‘I put the flowers on the kitchen table and they are still looking fresh and beautiful after a week,’ or ‘I don’t know which is more fun, actually using the Cuisinart, or reading recipes and thinking I could do that in the Cuisinart!’ Having fun is alright, so have at it.

4. Mention the Past, Allude to the Future

It was great to see you at my birthday party, and I hope to see you at Dad’s retirement in February.

Why did they give you the gift? What does it mean to your relationship with the giver? Let the giver know how they fit into the fabric of your life. If it’s someone you see infrequently, say whatever you know: ‘Mom tells me you’re doing great at Stanford, and I hope we cross paths soon.’ If it’s someone you’re in regular contact with: ‘I’ll call you soon, but I wanted to take time to say thanks.’ If it’s some errant family member you have little or no contact with, simply go with ‘You are in my thoughts and I hope you are well.’ Nice, right?

5. Grace

Thanks again for your gift.

It’s not overkill to say thanks again. So say it.

6. Regards


Simply wrap it up. Use whatever works for you: Love, Yours Truly, With Love. Then sign your name and you’re done.

What’s Not There

Any news about your life. This isn’t the time to brag about your new job, a hot girlfriend, or number of surgeries. The thank-you is exclusively about thanking somebody for their kindness. While you may want more than anything to show them once and for all you amounted to something, this is not the forum. Save that for your annual Christmas letter.

Now get it in the mail. Even if your friends and relatives aren’t of the note-writing variety, be the one who sets the precedent. Thank-you-note writing is one of the loveliest traditions to have been utterly compromised by the information age. Let’s start a movement to revive a little gracious living.

source: meredithcutler

source: etsy (browse their handmade cards!)

source: etsy

source: etsy

source: etsy (is Australian Kookaburras!)

source: etsy

some gift ideas?? if you live in CO anything from Bayleaf on pearl :)

For westies :) gorgeous book with Photography by Ansel Adams

For photo-enthusiasts – Iconic Images from photographers of the past century

For photo-enthusiasts -Let Me In – photography by Mario Testino – good idea for photo enthusiasts/ bright fun candid moments from celebrity personalities

for the traveler – This book is amazing and it is sold at most bookstores

for fashion enthusiasts – best magazine ever!! showcases every designers runway collections or the Vogue Paris Calendar… should be available @ Barnes & Nobel

for the women in your life Tocca candels are the best! Sold so many places – Nordstroms & Sephora to name a few

Volcano Candle from Anthropologie – everyone loves this 18.00-28.00

for anyone :) Dogeared Jewelry ranges from 30 on :)

Pamela Love jewelry collaboration with Where the Wild Things Are…

For trendy fashionistas – new it color by YSL Rouge Personnel #13 retails for 27.36 @ department stores or online

for rock lovers – Them Crooked Vultures –11.99 on amazon

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

for parents/grandparents! Beegie Adair, Nat King Cole, or Sinatra- anything – great jazz music :)

for the computer geek :) Lacie’s new CurrenKey USB Flash Drive (4GB-16GB) for 21.99 or Lacie Little Disk in 320 GB or 500GB!

Great Speakers by Ihome – loud, charge by USB, and affordable for about $45.00 can get at link or @ apple store

flip video camera

go to your local vintage shops and pick up some bracelets for your lady friends to layer!  Best gift ever because it is unique :) also clutches, belts, purses are safe gift accessories from vintage shops

Vintage Buttons for anyone who is into sewing/DIY projects

for the sporty – anything lulu lemon – their zip up jackets are the best

for sporty – Patagoinia Sychilla Snap Pullover classic 95.00

Redken ringlet 07 curl perfector (06oz) or BioSilk Hair serum!

Tickets! Best gift ever!!!! Think music, sporting, comedy events.. I know Eric Clapton, Lady Gaga, Muse, U2, Jay Z etc are touring now… or what about Cirque Du Soleil?! link is to ticketmaster

for Winos – A great gift is a good bottle… and it doesn’t have to be expensive to be good… click this link for recommendations under 15.00

Homemade muffin mix DIY gift project

for those on a budget the best gift of all is a do it yourself :) whether it is a card, baked goods, gift baskets, photo albums, or something more involved the recipient will adore!  Here is a few links to diy gift ideas…. be creative

Support Local Companies & Artists at markets!

ehow DIY gift ideas

martha stewart DIY gift ideas

Padgett Hoke has tons of creative GORGEOUS projects on her site – her new wreath is so cool and her baby mobile!

It is a good idea to hand wash your clothes (if by some act of god you can ever find the time)…  What with work clothes and special garments you have collected, it makes sense to preserve these investments!  Some say clothes are never the same after machine washing (not that I necessarily agree).   I have committed to hand-washing my favorite pieces in hopes they will last for years.

Washing your clothes is an economical alternative to dry cleaning (and debatably safer).  This youtube video & ehow give step by step (fool proof) instructions…  this weekend was filled with laundry experimenting… if I can do this than seriously anyone can!

User-Submitted Article from ehow

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How to Hand-Wash Delicate Clothes
Some clothing just are not made for the regular cycle of your washing machine. In order to prevent your fine and delicate clothing from being ruined in the washer, you may have to hand-wash them. It really isn’t as hard or as much of a hassle as you would expect and the results are worth it. You can increase the life of your delicate items considerably by treating them properly.

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