The Art of Thank You

by Carine Nadel • More.com Member { View Profile }

Saying thank you seems to have become a bygone nicety. I for one, object to this omission. Somehow in this way too fast-paced world of ours we have let some old-fashioned values escape everyday life. Dropping or even e-mailing a few kind words of appreciation seems to be met with disdain by way too many people.

One might think that this article is about gifts that come in fancy boxes with bows or pretty bags with tissue-true this is one type of "thank you" that should be dealt with immediately. There is another, thanks should be acknowledged to those who have given an extraordinary amount of time or energy for any given number of events.

With computers, saying "thank you" is easier, faster and even less expensive. You can go to a card company’s website and either use the e-card method or the print version. Literally, within minutes whoever deserves a big round of verbal applause can receive one. Printing up a card, adding a few well chosen words, signing it and sending it off via snail mail can also be accomplished is but a few moments-without even leaving one’s home office.

Computer-generated cards not what you are looking for? Go to your e-mail and actually write a letter telling someone how much you appreciate whatever it is that they’ve done for you. To take it one step further: Go to your word processor and actually write a nice letter! This covers the ways you can thank someone.

 

 However, sometimes it’s not how to do something, but what to say.

One person’s idea of a gift may be another’s version of well, garbage. My feeling has always been that gifts are not a mandatory item, even if the gift is truly awful, the person did their best (maybe not) and whatever it is deserves to be recognized.

A little story on the above: Years ago, while running my own pre-school, one parent would give me quite "the gift" at the end of each year. Her son was mildly autistic and developmentally delayed, so he was quite the handful. She always dropped him off early and was always 10 minutes late. I never charged her a late or early drop off fee. Come holiday time she would proudly hand me her gift. One year it was an obviously recycled box of very dusty potpourri. Another year, catsup/mustard/mayo packets (from a fast food chain) with a package of cocktail napkins. The third year, two single packets of hot chocolate and a pack (not a box of 3 or 6, just 1 of the packets) of microwave popcorn.

Because my motto is: Gifts are a blessing and in no way mandatory. I thanked her profusely when she gave me the bag (telling her she didn’t need too!). Then I wrote:

Dear Sheri, thank you so much for allowing me the pleasure to be a part of your family and taking care of Joey. He’s truly a wonderful little boy and I have enjoyed watching him blossom under my care. Your gift only adds to my pleasure. Carine

This shows you that no matter what the gift is, you can find a way to allow the giver to feel special. Another version of tact and diplomacy is when a family member has no idea who you are, but is kind enough to spend time sending you a completely ridiculous gift. The pink rabbit outfit in the movie classic "A Christmas Story" is a great example. The lead character Ralphie gets the costume from an aunt who keeps thinking he’s a 5 year-old girl. I can imagine his mom saying "Now Ralphie, your aunt spent a lot of time making this outfit for you; you must write her a thank you note".

I imagine this fictional young lad would probably have written:

Dear Auntie, Thank you for the pink bunny suit. I hope I don’t outgrow it by next Halloween. Your 12 year old nephew Ralphie

One of the most important and forgotten notes are those that should be written for time and energy spent. These "thank yous" might make the difference between success and failure in a given situation.

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