By: Betsy Ringer
There’s just something about a gift bag – the blue bag with white daisies on it and lovely blue and white tissue spilling out the top. Some gift bags are so tiny but you know there is a treasure inside. Some are quite large with polka dot tissue bursting out the top. There’s just something about a gift bag – the excitement of what’s inside and knowing that someone delights in us enough to wrap up something just for us. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter what’s inside – it’s just knowing that we are thought of and cared about.
Ah….but then after pulling out the gift inside we must write a thank you note. I really don’t know anyone who likes to write a thank you note. And then to teach our kids to show their appreciation by writing a thank you note is almost excruciating. It is always appropriate and in good taste to write a thank you note, but when you know HOW to write one, you can be assured that the receiver will be truly blessed.
Follow these simple guidelines to craft the perfect thank you note. Teach your kids how to do this and you equip them with a most valuable skill!
- Begin by saying thank you for the gift (or favor or party you attended)
- Share something about the appropriateness of the gift or favor. If the gift wasn’t something you really liked find something good about it and share that.
- Remember, someone chose this gift for you so connect the gift to the person who gave it to you. Mention how they are a special friend or how they have influenced your life in a positive way or something important they taught you.
- Describe how you plan to use the gift. (For kids – if it was a money gift DON’T say you are going to use it to put gas in your car or buy some candy!! Say that you are going to put it towards something big that you have been saving for or describe something of value that you hope to use it for.)
- Include a paragraph that updates the giver about what’s going on in your life. Just something short and newsy is good.
- If you are thanking someone for a favor you might want to bake some cookies to include or enclose a meaningful bookmark or a Starbucks gift card.
You can use the following template as a guide. This might be appropriate for a teenager to write. Adjust it for yourself, for a younger child or for a different situation.
Thank you for the ___________ you gave me for my birthday. That was extremely thoughtful and I appreciate it greatly. I put the money towards a computer I need for college.
I value the (describe a kindness or words of wisdom you remember that person sharing with you) over the years. You are important to me, which makes this gift even more meaningful.
I have a job in an ice cream store this summer. It’s fun to see families coming in and getting excited about choosing just the right flavor of ice cream. It’s funny when they want two or three kinds and I have to try to fit it all on one cone. This is a good job for me because I get to sleep in! I’m also looking forward to the trip to the lake with the family.
Thank you again so much for the thoughtful gift and the kindness you shared. It meant so much to me and I wanted you to know that.
Once you, or your kids, learn this simple skill, you will be able to write thank you notes quickly and meaningfully. It will give you great satisfaction to know that the person who thoughtfully gave you a gift will read your note with great joy.