A few weeks ago while doing my monthly mail sort, I found a hand-drawn thank-you note addressed to me from a friend and was struck by two things. One, the note was from January, so I definitely need to be checking my mail more. But more importantly, who still sends thank-you notes? And ones written on handmade cards at that?
The thank you note is equal parts thoughtful and daunting. It all sounds so good until you break down the logistics: there’s the stationary, the pen, the meat of the letter- no matter how great of a writer you think you are, there is no worse writers block than trying to articulate to your aunt how much you love the forest-scented candle she got you. But 2017 is the year of conquering your fears (starting… now!) and if anyone can walk you through thank-you note etiquette, it’s our resident lifestyle/fitness/food/wellness jack of all trades, Amy Rosoff-Davis, whose adorable, hand-painted cards are almost as legendary as her famous chicken rice bowls. You have a lot to be thankful for, and Amy’s here to teach you how to show gratitude, effectively.
What’s the best basic stationary?
“I like the Superfine White or Superfine Soft White Note Cards and Envelopes from Paper Source. I usually get the A6 or A7 size ( which is 5 x 7 or 4.5 x 6.25). They have lots of fun colors and different sizes, and you can get matching envelopes. You can also get cardstock on Amazon or Etsy, at Blick, or at your local art store. I recommend getting high-quality paper; it makes a difference. Whatever paper you use, make sure if you plan to decorate it that it can hold paint, watercolor, or the like.”
How do you decorate your cards?
“Every card I make gets slightly different handwriting, drawings, and color schemes. If I fold the card in half, I like to draw something small, but meaningful on the front. It gives an extra personal touch, and it only takes a few minutes. Sometimes I go super simple [with the drawing], and sometimes I will draw more complex animals or shapes. Usually, I like to do rudimentary, quick-drawn hearts. The heart represents love, which I’m all about! For the holidays, I like to do little Christmas trees or stars. For kids, I do animals. I’m not the best artist, but even messily drawn animals look so cute on the card. I start by drawing the shape with a thin-lined pen, then add some color with watercolors, or paints from my husbands’ store, Portola Paints.”
How soon should you send a thank you note?
“I like to send it as soon as possible, both so that I remember, and so that people get it promptly. That being said, if you are busy or forget, don’t fret- people will be all the happier when they get a beautiful card from you. For weddings, you have up to a year, but I sent mine out within two months.”
How do you address different recipients?
“For a boss… ‘Dear’. It’s the perfect amount of formal without sounding stuffy. If you’re ever questioning how to address someone, ‘Dear’ is never a wrong choice.
For a friend… For someone you’re close to, ‘Dear’ can feel too formal. I just do their name or nickname, and sometimes I will add an exclamation point as punctuation.
For a loved one or significant other… Their pet name, nickname, or a term of endearment.”
What’s your formula for writing the content of the note?
“First and foremost, I like to thank them for whatever I am sending the note for. If you can, add a personal touch beyond just thanking them, so if it’s a gift, tell them how you’ve been using it, or how beautiful it looks in your home.
Then, I like to put the focus on them- ask questions about how they are, or just send them love. My three never-fail options are “Hope you are well,” “Hope life is wonderful,” or “How are things?” As a general rule, I try to avoid one-liners for thank you’s.”
How do you sign off the note?
“For a boss… Sincerely, All the best, or Best.
For a friend… xo, Love.
For a loved-one… Love, xoxo, Love you!”