Tackling Those Thank You’s

With the holidays winding down, it is time to truly express the spirit of the season: gratitude. Whether you had celebrations that were large or small, or gave and received gifts that were store-bought or hand-made, you have many people to thank.

Before the New Year brings back the rush of regular life, make it a priority to get those thank you cards on their way. Sadly, it’s true that even with our best intentions, writing these notes of thanks tends to bring out the procrastinator in all of us. Luckily, saying thank you doesn’t need to be a chore. If you’re stuck on what to say or more importantly how to start, consider these few tips to help you get going on your thank you cards.

Alicia on “Organize Your Supplies”

“It’s much easier to complete your mission if you have everything you need at the ready before you need it. While you’re doing any shopping, holiday-specific or everyday errands, pick up some thank you supplies as well. I like to save time by using the internet and get my stamps online at stamps.com, lovely thank you cards at craneandco.com and clear adhesive address labels at OfficeDepot.com. The items are shipped right to my door, which makes the whole process a lot easier and less time consuming. Another shortcut I take is making address labels on computer. I have such messy handwriting, that in addition to saving me time, I’m sure I also save the postal service considerable time and energy too!”

Sarah on “Schedule Your Time”

“If you don’t mentally, and ideally physically, block off time in your schedule to write thank you’s, it’s highly likely you’ll fall into the ‘mañana’ (tomorrow) trap. Before you know it, vacation will be over, and finding the time to write them will be even harder. This is especially true for families with young children. Arrange a schedule before January 1st with your spouse so that you each get some quiet time in the last week of the year to write them. And if you have children that are old enough to write, be sure to set aside time to help them get theirs done as well. One great way to help younger ones get started is to buy some pre-printed thank you cards that let them fill in the blanks.”

Below are three ideas designed to get you over the thank you note hump.

#1 Keep It Short & Sweet

Remember that thank you cards don’t have to be books! It is more than ok to be brief. You can convey a true sense of appreciation with a just a few lines. If you’re suffering from writer’s block, try picking a detail about the gift that you truly love or are excited about and writing a line just about that.

#2 Focus on a Personal Detail or Two

A personal detail is one of the best ways to bring your gratitude to life – for you and the gift giver. For example, “I have been wanting a digital camera for so long, you made a wish come true. I am going to be able to capture so many great memories of the kids and look forward to sending you lots more fun photos of them!” In addition, you might want to bring up something about the giver: “It was so nice to spend Christmas Eve caroling with you as well. Let’s have lunch in the middle of January.” If the giver is not someone as close to you, you can still be thoughtful. “Good luck getting that promotion you were telling me about!”

#3 Stay the Course

Sometimes it takes a little while for your creative juices to get going. If you find that you’re staring at a blank piece of paper for awhile, getting bored, give yourself a five or ten minute creativity break. Put on a pot water, pour a cup of tea, coffee, or even better, hot cocoa with marshmallows, and then jump right back in. Don’t start a second task like folding the laundry, doing the dishes or paying bills. Those tasks will always be there, and you’ll never get back to finishing the cards.