by Connie Leas
A note of thanks can be as short as three sentences, provided you say something about the qualities of the gift and express your appreciation. Make an effort to sound enthusiastic. Even if you don’t especially like the gift, do convey your appreciation for the thought and effort that someone has spent on your behalf. (“It was so thoughtful of you to remember our anniversary with that one-of-a-kind chip-and-dip set.”)
When composing the note, be yourself. Avoid using words or phrases you wouldn’t ordinarily use. For example, I wouldn’t say, “The cut-glass pitcher is perfectly marvelous!” This just doesn’t sound like me. However, you will likely use a slightly different style and tone in a letter to a close friend than to someone with whom your relationship is more distant or formal. (“The electronic organizer is amazing! I’ve been hankering for one of these for years,” versus, “The electronic organizer will be a big help in my new position. I deeply appreciate your thoughtfulness in selecting such a useful gift.”)
At a minimum, a thank-you note for a gift should include these elements:
Here’s an example of a five-sentence note:
I love the sweater you sent for my birthday. It’s a gorgeous shade of red, and will be perfect with the new slacks I just ordered. I’m planning on wearing it to the Stanford/Cal game this Saturday. Many thanks!
I hope we can find a time to get together this fall. It’s been too long!
This one is only three sentences:
Dear Bob and Sue,
Thank you so much for the gorgeous Italian hand-painted serving platter. It’s such a showpiece that Mary and I can’t decide whether to hang it on the wall or use it for meals—we’ll probably do both!
You’ll be among our first dinner guests after we return from our honeymoon.
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