Are You Sincere If You Send Personalized Thank You Cards?

by Henry L. on June 28, 2010

The short answer is, “Yes!” But let me tell you a little story to back up that opinion.

There was a time when I would have thought it gauche to send typeset personalized thank you cards, instead of carefully handwritten notes on watermarked custom stationery. Not only was I taught manners at home and at school (this was in the famous “olden days” when such niceties were still part of a school day), but I had also read “Miss Manners” and “Dear Abby” newspaper columns aplenty. One of my first adult reference book purchases was Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette. I have even read it!

There is an old saying (the older you get, the more of these you acquire) that, “the exception proves the rule.” When I was a young mother living in a small town, I had a dear older friend who chaired lots of volunteer work for local worthy causes. This was a lady of impeccable upbringing and easy-going perfect etiquette, who continually amazed me with her knowledge, abilities, and personal energy. She easily corralled lots of other volunteers and shamelessly charmed business owners into donations of goods, services, and cash more extensive than they’d ever intended.

The thing is, you always knew when giving in to her first request, she was sure to hit on you again and again. And, somehow, you gave in every time. You even did so with a glad heart. How come, you ask?

Well, she was charming, and she did lead by example, and she did always have a devilish twinkle in her eyes. She also made sure each person and company got its name in the event program or newspaper notice or organization newsletter. She even hosted lovely thank you parties, in her own home and at her own expense, for her volunteers. But her most effective recruiting tool was her marvelous thank you notes. Their wonder was in their very personal, graceful, and sincere phrasing. A person might measure their personal value to the community by counting how many of these they had received and saved.

Sadly, the aging process took the steadiness from her hands and her writing became undecipherable. Fortunately, she was among the first to observe this phenomenon, and true to her nature, she devised a solution. She composed a lovely note of explanation and thanks, had custom greeting cards printed with this note in a graceful scripted font, with her full name imprinted below the note’s text. She used these for her thank you cards for the rest of her life. Their most touching aspect was her handwritten first name beside her imprinted name, which I think was sort of her way of proving why she needed these typewritten personalized thank you cards.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Blake July 4, 2010 at 12:38 am

That is a great story, and shows the potential impact of giving a card to someone. It is interesting how some people are compelled to send thank you cards, and others could care less.

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