Thursday, May 16, 2013

TinyPrints and the Art of Thank-Yous.

Growing up, there were certain things that were required of my brother and I in our home. We had the usual chores that we cried and complained about (like making our beds - the horror of it!); we had to be outdoors for at least part of the day if the weather permitted, and we had to write thank-you notes.

My mother insisted upon us writing a thank-you note for every single gift that we ever received - ever. It's a lovely thing, and I never complained about it for the sporadic gift that Poppy would give me, but once the winter holidays and birthdays rolled around and Patrick and I were writing at least thirty thank-you notes, we started to regret it a little. It was her rule that if we didn't send a relative or friend a card, our mother then had the right to tell them not to send us anymore gifts.

When I got to college (after my high-school graduation party where I wrote no less than 200 thank-yous), I felt at peace because now, I didn't have to make my bed and I could be done with those life and time consuming thank you notes!

I found though, that I've kept writing them. There is something about taking the time out of your day to let someone know that their generosity and time is appreciated that I just cannot turn my back on.

I saw a flash of myself as my mother after I was in a friend's wedding during college - so as a poor college graduate with no full-time work lined up, I had to buy my bridesmaid dress, shoes, throw a shower, buy gifts, etc. - and this friend never sent a thank you note to anyone who attended her wedding. One night at dinner someone brought that up to her, and she sniffed and said, "No one should expect that, it's an outdated tradition."

Call me old-fashioned, but I don't think that taking less than five minutes out of your day to let someone know that you appreciate them is something outdated, or that we should forget about. There's something really special about getting mail - real mail, aka not a bill - that shows that someone took the time and effort to acknowledge you.

The art form that I have adopted for writing thank-you notes is as follows:

1. Get some amazing thank-you notes that you WANT to write on. No one says that you can't show off your impeccable taste while being grateful, right?

2. When starting out your thank-you note, begin by just thanking that person for not just the item they got you, but also for thinking of you. Be genuine though, and try to switch up the way that you phrase it so it doesn't come off as though you have a pre-written, generic thank-you.

If someone gives me money, I always tell them what I'm planning on doing with the money, even if I have to self sabotage a bit and say, "I really appreciate the money you sent me. I'm planning on being very boring and putting it into savings until I can figure out how I want to use it!" Being more specific can help connect people to you personally and just feel like they're a part of your life.

3. Restate how much you appreciate their generosity, and include information about any time you might see them soon.

*Even if you hate something that someone sent you, try to find something positive to say about it without going overboard.

For example, one year my Poppy's girlfriend got me a huge sweater that had enormous mice with pieces of cheese all over it. Is there anything I could be thankful for with that gift?

Dear MaryAnn,

Thank you so much for the thoughtful gift that you gave me for Christmas. The mouse on that sweater is too cute for words and it was a very unique sweater - none of my friends have one! I really appreciate you taking the time to think of me. It was great to see you during the holidays, and I'm sure we will see you soon. Say hi to Suzanne for me!
Thanks again so much.
Love, Allison

Don't be confused and think that a thank-you note needs to be a novel. All it needs to do is show genuine thanks for whatever it was that someone bought for you.

Tiny Prints, an online store, can't help you in actually writing an awesome thank-you note, but they can easily check item #1 off of your checklist. - a division of Shutterfly offers a TON of awesome thank-you notes in a ton of different designs. They're easily customizable so that you can personalize them too. I was sent an email to check out TinyPrints and their thank-yous, and no joke, I spent a good 45 minutes debating on which ones I wanted to order before choosing mine.

Even the boyfriend said he was impressed by these - he said they remind him of the chalkboard writing in a bar or speakeasy (shocker that is where his mind went!).

Having great stationary absolutely motivates me to actually WANT to write thank-you notes - while my seven year old self looks at grown-up me and wonders where life took such a wrong turn.

These were my TinyPrints thank-yous and a note I wrote to a family who bought me a housewarming gift!

Tiny Prints is way more than just notecards though - they also offer invitations, photo iPhone cases, and, my favorite - address labels. Their choice of designs for address labels are on point and very versatile, so ou can easily customize something that fits your personality (and a great thing to put on the envelope of your thank-you notes so that people who are in awe of your writing ability will be able to send you money for your birthday!).

Here are some of the beauties you can get from TinyPrints - and there are MILLIONS of amazing options for men and women.

Any favorites from the TinyPrints site? Did anyone else have slave-driver parents who made them break their hands writing thank-you notes? Share your stories!

Currently listening to: Myth - Beach House


The Dainty Dolls House said...

I think thank you notes are wonderful and should never be treated as something small. They can go a long way in someone's day. Letting them know you appreciate them. I need to write some for my daughter's birthday presents. These are wonderful. I hope you have a great weekend doll xx

Couture Carrie said...

Cute cards!
My mom was the same way :)


HiFashion said...

My mum always made me write thank you cards too. I used to hate them, but they're a great habit to get into! Although, I do the thank you text/email now, so might have to get back into the habit of actual notes.

Sara Louise said...

Thank you notes were always a must in my house and the habit has stayed with me. Who doesn't like being thanked!
I'm checking out that site for cards because stationary in France sucks!