from me to you

a dazzlingly-composed card will win you brownie points, every time. here's how to do it.
October 12, 2012  |   column: DELIBERATE POLISH

while we may live in an era of casual texts, err on the side of politeness when it comes to thank you cards. that being said, you also want to sound like yourself:

  • to begin, use “mr.” “mrs.” or “mr.” for anyone you’re on a last-name basis with. for close friends and family, you can call them whatever name or term of endearment you use–if you call your granny “bubbles”, start your card to her with that.
  • write naturally. composing the note in your head first helps to keep it conversational and not too stiff. use contractions (“i’m so glad!” instead of  “i am so glad!”) unless you’re specifically drawing attention to that statement.
  • refer to the actual gift, event or even conversation you’re acknowledging, and then call out something specific about it. do you love the bracelet your friend gave you so much that you’ve worn it for a week straight? say so!
  • ways to close a thank you letter: fondly, warmly, kindly, affectionately, best, yours.

if you’ve received  a really nice thank you gift from someone–and especially if you’re swooning over it–by all means, send a short note back. something to the effect of  “the bouquet of flowers/gorgeous candle/bottle of champagne was so unnecessary to send–but I’m so glad you did!” will make their day.

when it comes to timing, sooner is better, but better late then never. you may need to be clever with what you write, but there’s no need to belabor its tardiness. concentrate on the gift itself, and of course be sincere. it will still mean a lot that you made the effort.

certain times of the year pose the chance of multiple events being organized on the same night—especially in the fall and winter—so get on people’s calendar by sending out a simple save the date four to six weeks in advance. then follow up with the actual invitation about two weeks before your ‘do with all the specifics. (it’s also a nice reminder.)

 include the essentials:

  • what the event is
  • day, date of the event
  • where the event is (include the specific address if it’s not already known to everyone)
  • time
  • rsvp date and contact (if needed)

and give them your own twist:

  • give the occasion a clever name. call a 30th birthday party a “flirty 30.” a little dinner for friends at your apartment in the depths of winter can become a “january party.”
  • if you want people to come a little fancy, a personal note to “dress: up!” is a fun way to say so.
  • if you’ve devised a special cocktail for the evening, allude to it here!
these are so fun to write. but what to say after the initial “congratulations! I’m so happy for you!” ?

  • follow the general beginnings and endings of the thank you card (above)
  • since an occasion worth a hurrah card is something the person has likely worked to achieve, acknowledge, for instance, how proud you are of them or how much they deserve it. for delights like an engagement, new addition to the family and so forth, notes about how they’ll be wonderful parents, what a lovely couple they make, or advice you’ve found helpful will make what’s already a high moment for the one receiving the card, even more meaningful.


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