gmhTODAY 09 gmhToday July Aug 2016 - Page 82

manners MATTER The Thank You Note… A Sealed Treasure Karen La Corte is an etiquette and manners expert trained and certified by the Emily Post Institute in Vermont. She has been teaching etiquette and manners to children and adults for over thirty years. She is also a certified image and fashion consultant. Karen is happy to answer any personal eti- quette or image questions you may have by emailing her at E xpressing your appreciation for an act of kindness and sending a thank you note is a custom most folks practice. It is considered good manners whenever you receive a gift, have a service performed for you, or appreciate the efforts someone has gone through to do something extraordinary for you, to send an appropriate thank you note. Here’s where it gets tricky. We are living in a digital relationship society where texting and emailing are daily habits. It is convenient, free and easy to thank someone by text or to send a quick email expressing your appreciation. Pressing the “Send” button doesn’t require choosing stationery, purchasing a postage stamp, or taking the added minute or two it would take to add our quirky handwriting reflecting our lovely personality. Have we lost our sincerity and personal touch by relying on our phones and computers to express our thanks? Is correspondence through social media personal enough? Although we live in a fast-paced world where scheduling private time for ourselves is becoming more and more difficult, the handwritten thank you note is, and hopefully will always be, the most gracious medium for showing our sincere appreciation. Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily has a solution for this new-age predicament. If it feels natural, go ahead and text or email an acknowledgement of the gift right away. Keep it short and simple like, “Your gift just arrived! So excited to open it!” Save the more technical verbiage for your proper note to follow. (“I can’t wait to share this fabulous bottle of wine! It’s one of my favorites!”) I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to be thanked twice for their gift, do you? I have listed some examples of when you would send a note for gifts or a service. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 82 BY KAREN LA CORTE Wedding and Engagement Baby Gifts Shower (both wedding and baby) Birthday Graduation Get Well Holiday Gifts Hospitality (dinner or a stay over) Sympathy/Funeral (flowers, masses, donations, food) Folks Who Do Kindnesses for You Business (a lunch, a raise, a new client) Donations to Charities A Referral Volunteerism An Interview GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JULY / AUGUST 2016 A thank you note should be written as soon as possible. That way the excitement of the gift is fresh in the mind of both the giver and the receiver. I don’t know about you, but if too much time passes, I can’t remember if I received the note or not! Notes should be a reflection of your personality and should be at least three sentences. Contrary to popular myth, the happy couple does not have a year’s grace period in which to write their notes. All thank you notes should be written within three months of the receipt of the wedding gift. Kids need to send thank you notes too! I love to receive notes written by the children themselves. Misspelled words, pictures, and their adorable uneven printing makes me smile. However, if your child is not old enough, you can write the note for them. You can then have your child personalize the note by adding stickers, a drawing, or an attempt to sign (scribble) their own name. There are times when a note just isn’t enough. I have listed some tasteful and practical gift ideas. These can be ordered and delivered, or given upon arrival to a dinner or event. • • • • • • • • • • Flowers Wine A Gift Basket A Box of Chocolates – candied apples or chocolate-dipped strawberries work too Baked Goods – cookies, cakes or a homemade pie Candles – can be scented or fragrance free Coffee – a bag or gift card of the recipients favorite brand Gift Cards Something Seasonal – like a Christmas ornament or autumn wreath Popcorn – a variety of flavors available – and everyone loves popcorn Good manners are about more than fulfilling bare-minimum social obligations. They are an opportunity for us to connect to the people in our lives in a meaningful way. Pulling out pen and paper is a way to distinguish yourself and let your personality be reflected. When I get a handwritten letter, I’m so excited to open it. There is simply nothing as personal as a handwritten note. In a stack of junk mail and bills, it’s a treasure in a sealed packet. In the age of instant everything, a hand- written note is still something worth waiting for. Make someone’s day!