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8 Tips to Write a Proper Holiday 'Thank You' Note
Our expert offers 8 etiquette tips for when you sit down to write your holiday 'Thank You' letters.

Oftentimes, sitting down to write the note is the hardest part.

Leaving a message on a personís voicemail, texting or sending a Thank You note via e-mail simply doesnít take the place of a handwritten Thank You note.”
It took seconds to unwrap the beautifully packaged gift, a mere fraction of the time it took the giver to find the perfect gift, wrap it with care and deliver it to your door. The holiday season has not officially come to an end until one final detail has been accomplishedÖthe Thank You note. A well thought out thank you shows appreciation for the giverís efforts and reaffirms the value you place on your relationship with the giver.

Leaving a message on a personís voicemail, texting or sending a Thank You note via e-mail simply doesnít take the place of a handwritten Thank You note. Use this opportunity to use up the leftover holiday stamps. If you are concerned about the environment, purchase recycled note cards or get creative and make your own out of things you have around your house.

1. Start your note off by mentioning the giverís name and make sure you have spelled it correctly. The note loses all meaning if you start off on the wrong foot by insulting the giver.

2. Make reference to the gift and mention how you plan to use or enjoy the gift. "I am so excited to receive a gift card from Tranquility Day Spa. I have always wanted to visit and look forward to a relaxing massage." Or, "I love my new sweater and plan to wear it on New Yearís Eve."

3. The protocol is, if you received the gift in person a Thank You note is not necessary. The reality is, a handwritten Thank You note is always appreciated and well received by the giver. The extra effort you took to acknowledge the giver and the gift will not go unnoticed next season.

4. Always write your Thank You note in pen or a very fine tipped marker. Only use pencilóeven colored pencilóif you are a small child. If you would enjoy using colored ink to write your Thank You notes, there are many nice colored pens on the market that will lift the receiverís spirit while making your note writing more fun. Gold ink is very pretty but sometimes difficult to read. If you are going to use gold ink, try out a few pens in the store as some write better than others.

5. If the same person gave you multiple gifts it is not necessary to write multiple Thank You notes. If different family members within the same family gave you multiple gifts, you must write separate Thank You notes.

6. Check your spelling and grammar. Not only is it important to get the giverís name correct, but also to pay special attention to the rest of the Thank You note. A poorly written Thank You note is an indicator that you did not spend much time or effort on the process.

7. Close the letter by stating that you would like to keep in touch or get together soon only if you really mean to do so. Otherwise, the statement will come across as insincere. Often, we are given a gift by a friend of a family member or as thanks an invitation. If you do not know the person very well or do not intend to follow up, close the note with a polite "Thank you again for your kindness."

8. The ending salutation should mirror the relationship you enjoy with the giver. "Love, Mary" would not be appropriate in all cases, nor would "Fondly" or "My best." Some alternatives would be "Warm regards," "Best wishes" and "Sincerely."

And finally, a Thank You note is better late than never. Optimally, a Thank You note should go out within the first to second week, but if several months have passed and you suddenly remember you overlooked someone, send the note out promptly and include a quick apology, such as "Iím so sorry, time got away from me but I wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying the set of beautiful napkins you gave me."

Diane Gottsman, a nationally recognized etiquette expert, is the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in etiquette training for corporations, universities and individuals, striving to polish their interpersonal skills. You can reach Diane at 877-490-1077 or www.protocolschooloftexas.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @: www.twitter.com/DianeGottsman.

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