For Architectural Digest, by Kamala Nair.
Thanks to technology, it’s never been easier to dash off a note to friends and family. But while email, text, or Gchat might be a convenient way to confirm dinner plans or just say hey, when it comes to expressing gratitude, you can’t beat the charm of good, old-fashioned snail mail. Think about the last time you received a physical card or letter — it’s a whole experience. You open the envelope, feel the texture of the paper, see the color of the ink and the quirks of the sender’s writing. Rather than taking the fastest route, that person carved out time in their day to reflect — and knowing that makes the gesture all the more meaningful. So, you’ve pulled out the stationery and dusted off your favorite pen. . . . Now what? Here are our top tips for writing a thank-you note that is sure to impress.
Always write by hand
There’s one thing all the experts — including the Emily Post Institute — agree on: Writing a thank-you note by hand is absolutely necessary. Handwriting not only adds a warm, human element to a note, it honors the care and time the recipient took in doing something nice for you.
While we stand by the statement “better late than never,” make an effort to be prompt. When it comes to wedding gift thank-yous, it’s often said you have a one-year grace period, but the Emily Post Institute says sending them within three months of returning from your honeymoon is actually best practice.
Invest in statement stationery
What’s on the inside counts most, but a pleasing exterior also goes a long way. Forgo basic white stationery and choose something that reflects your personality, whether it’s an elegant embossed card or a sheet of whimsical letterhead.
Keep it simple
Find yourself at a loss for words? When in doubt, keep it short and sweet. Two to three sentences that express real feeling — think about what you’d say if you were thanking them in person — will do the trick.
Sign off sincerely
The way you end your note should depend on your relationship with the recipient. “Sincerely” works well for an acquaintance, while “yours” and “love” are good choices for close friends and relatives.
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