The art of a good thank you letter

During Christmas we give a lot and we receive a lot and it is important that we do both graciously and sincerely. Getting gratitude right matters, when we give something we like to know that it’s appreciated and when we receive something we need to convey that we are thankful. A thank you letter is the typical way to exchange thanks and The Times recently published an article with a few tips to help you write the perfect thank you letter.

Of course we all remember being bribed to write thank you letters as children with only a vague understanding of the gravity of a sincere thank you, but as time passes it becomes clearer that it isn’t just polite etiquette it is showing our appreciation that in today’s fast paced life, someone took a moment to think about us.

A thank you letter needs to be personal and as truthful as manners permit. Even the worst gift is given with good intentions so not liking something is irrelevant and there is certainly no place for criticism. Instead try to skim over things you don’t like about a gift and say that it will be ‘useful’ or ‘valued’.

No giver wants to know if their gift is a failure, so if your auntie has painstakingly hand knitted you a scarf which unfortunately produced a neck rash then thank her regardless (missing out the neck rash part of the story) and explain that you think it is wonderful present that you love because it is handmade and totally unique. Maybe it has even inspired you to start knitting!

If you have received money it is in bad taste to specifically mention the amount. Instead just give thanks for the generous cheque and write how you plan to spend it.

Lastly, if you are faced with a blank page then include some funny festive stories about how grandma fell of the chair or the cat climbed the Christmas tree, it is o.k to embellish these stories slightly and don’t worry about reusing them in each letter, it is just a way of furthering that personal touch.

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Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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