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Author Topic: A nice thank you note for a present chosen from the registry  (Read 9456 times)

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gellchom

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In another string, the subject came up of the challenge of writing a thank you note expressing enthusiasm about a gift chosen from a registry -- i.e., that the recipients selected themselves.  It sounds funny to thank someone for the "lovely widget" when it's your own taste in widgets at issue.  I received a very good one today, so I thought I'd share it.

The groom and my son were close friends in middle and high school.  My son and his wife couldn't make it in for the wedding, but we went anyway.

***

Dear Gell and Chom,

Thank you so much for the Mikasa place setting!  It was so generous and very thoughtful of you.  We can't wait to use it.  We were so glad you two could be there!  Thank you so much for being part of our special day!!  It would be great if we could get dinner soon. 

Love,
Petunia and Cuthbert

***

I liked this because they expressed enthusiasm and gratitude without complimenting their own taste.  I also think it's always good to say you were glad they could attend (or sorry that they couldn't) -- actually, I usually put that first, before writing about the gift.  That part and the last sentence about that it would be nice to get together are very good, because they talk about the giver and show that they value the relationship, not just the gift. 

And I like that they didn't end with "Thank you again."  That always strikes me as so lame, especially in a very short note; it adds absolutely nothing, and seems to mean "I can't think of a single other thing to say to you."

This is a very nice young couple, and we were very moved that he still feels close to us.

TootsNYC

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Re: A nice thank you note for a present chosen from the registry
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2014, 08:31:55 PM »
Thank you notes can be tough! Like you, I cut people a lot of slack (i.e., if their note is a little graceless, I still am happy to be thanked, and I still think well of them). But I do very much admire people who hit the ball out of the park! Like this couple did.

I have read sample thank-you notes in several books, and none of them ever mentioned the party itself. They all simply focus on the gift itself. I've always found that interesting.

I got a nice note for a place setting off the registry once--but that's because I was late (hit the 1-year mark) and bought the last thing still not fulfilled, the last place setting. So I got thanked for helping her complete it, along w/ a note that said, each time she used them she was sure to remember how happy she was to get the full set, and that I'd helped her achieve that.

gramma dishes

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Re: A nice thank you note for a present chosen from the registry
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2014, 09:28:37 PM »

...   And I like that they didn't end with "Thank you again."  That always strikes me as so lame, especially in a very short note; it adds absolutely nothing, and seems to mean "I can't think of a single other thing to say to you."   ...

Hmmm ...

Actually, thank you for pointing that out.  I'm afraid I'm often quite guilty of doing that.  I'll start the note by thanking them for their gift, or for serving on my committee, or for picking up my mail, or for having us as guests for dinner, or whatever.  Then I'll move on and say more stuff that's relative to the situation. 

But then ~~  Yes, I think I really do almost always say "Thank you again" at the end. 

I had never thought about it before.  Guess I'm going to have to remember that and try to catch myself next time!    :-\

kareng57

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Re: A nice thank you note for a present chosen from the registry
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2014, 11:12:01 PM »

...   And I like that they didn't end with "Thank you again."  That always strikes me as so lame, especially in a very short note; it adds absolutely nothing, and seems to mean "I can't think of a single other thing to say to you."   ...

Hmmm ...

Actually, thank you for pointing that out.  I'm afraid I'm often quite guilty of doing that.  I'll start the note by thanking them for their gift, or for serving on my committee, or for picking up my mail, or for having us as guests for dinner, or whatever.  Then I'll move on and say more stuff that's relative to the situation. 

But then ~~  Yes, I think I really do almost always say "Thank you again" at the end. 

I had never thought about it before.  Guess I'm going to have to remember that and try to catch myself next time!    :-\


Well, count me as guilty too.

I don't think that my TY notes, for any occasion, have been terribly short.  I've always tried to be pretty creative with them.  It's just always struck me that it's nice to say "thank you" again.

I've noticed a trend on this board lately to put TY notes under a microscope.  I really don't like this at all.

shhh its me

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Re: A nice thank you note for a present chosen from the registry
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2014, 06:42:22 AM »

...   And I like that they didn't end with "Thank you again."  That always strikes me as so lame, especially in a very short note; it adds absolutely nothing, and seems to mean "I can't think of a single other thing to say to you."   ...

Hmmm ...

Actually, thank you for pointing that out.  I'm afraid I'm often quite guilty of doing that.  I'll start the note by thanking them for their gift, or for serving on my committee, or for picking up my mail, or for having us as guests for dinner, or whatever.  Then I'll move on and say more stuff that's relative to the situation. 

But then ~~  Yes, I think I really do almost always say "Thank you again" at the end. 

I had never thought about it before.  Guess I'm going to have to remember that and try to catch myself next time!    :-\


Well, count me as guilty too.

I don't think that my TY notes, for any occasion, have been terribly short.  I've always tried to be pretty creative with them.  It's just always struck me that it's nice to say "thank you" again.

I've noticed a trend on this board lately to put TY notes under a microscope.  I really don't like this at all.

POD
IMHO  using a complementary adjective or not  for something they chose is more a pet peeve then a right or wrong. 
I don't think I'd even all it less then optimal.  Ditto for "thanks again"

Margo

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Re: A nice thank you note for a present chosen from the registry
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2014, 06:52:43 AM »

...   And I like that they didn't end with "Thank you again."  That always strikes me as so lame, especially in a very short note; it adds absolutely nothing, and seems to mean "I can't think of a single other thing to say to you."   ...

Hmmm ...

Actually, thank you for pointing that out.  I'm afraid I'm often quite guilty of doing that.  I'll start the note by thanking them for their gift, or for serving on my committee, or for picking up my mail, or for having us as guests for dinner, or whatever.  Then I'll move on and say more stuff that's relative to the situation. 

But then ~~  Yes, I think I really do almost always say "Thank you again" at the end. 

I had never thought about it before.  Guess I'm going to have to remember that and try to catch myself next time!    :-\


Well, count me as guilty too.

I don't think that my TY notes, for any occasion, have been terribly short.  I've always tried to be pretty creative with them.  It's just always struck me that it's nice to say "thank you" again.

I've noticed a trend on this board lately to put TY notes under a microscope.  I really don't like this at all.

POD
IMHO  using a complementary adjective or not  for something they chose is more a pet peeve then a right or wrong. 
I don't think I'd even all it less then optimal.  Ditto for "thanks again"

I agree.
I also think it's worth remembering that lots of people are not in the habit of writing letters, and it can be difficult you work out how to end a note or letter - perhaps particualrly when things such as 'Kind Regards' have become increasingly common for  business e-mails so ending that was in a written letter can feel slightly cold.

I often end thank you letters with a variation on 'thanks again' - I normally try to write a letter rather than just a note so the format will be an initial paragraph thanking them for the gift and saying something nice about it, then several paragraphs of general news, then sign off with thank you again.  I probably wouldn't do it if I was only writing a note so there was no content except the paragraph saying thank you, but I would not consider it in an way lame - I would see it less as 'I can't think of anything to say' and more of 'I'm not sure what the correct sign off is'

lollylegs

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Re: A nice thank you note for a present chosen from the registry
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2014, 06:54:53 AM »

...   And I like that they didn't end with "Thank you again."  That always strikes me as so lame, especially in a very short note; it adds absolutely nothing, and seems to mean "I can't think of a single other thing to say to you."   ...

Hmmm ...

Actually, thank you for pointing that out.  I'm afraid I'm often quite guilty of doing that.  I'll start the note by thanking them for their gift, or for serving on my committee, or for picking up my mail, or for having us as guests for dinner, or whatever.  Then I'll move on and say more stuff that's relative to the situation. 

But then ~~  Yes, I think I really do almost always say "Thank you again" at the end. 

I had never thought about it before.  Guess I'm going to have to remember that and try to catch myself next time!    :-\


Well, count me as guilty too.

I don't think that my TY notes, for any occasion, have been terribly short.  I've always tried to be pretty creative with them.  It's just always struck me that it's nice to say "thank you" again.

I've noticed a trend on this board lately to put TY notes under a microscope.  I really don't like this at all.

I agree with this so much. If the note is timely and the sentiment genuine, I think it's really ungracious, judgemental and incredibly rude to point out phrases that (general) you think are less than perfect.

TootsNYC

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Re: A nice thank you note for a present chosen from the registry
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2014, 07:57:53 AM »

...   And I like that they didn't end with "Thank you again."  That always strikes me as so lame, especially in a very short note; it adds absolutely nothing, and seems to mean "I can't think of a single other thing to say to you."   ...

Hmmm ...

Actually, thank you for pointing that out.  I'm afraid I'm often quite guilty of doing that.  I'll start the note by thanking them for their gift, or for serving on my committee, or for picking up my mail, or for having us as guests for dinner, or whatever.  Then I'll move on and say more stuff that's relative to the situation. 

But then ~~  Yes, I think I really do almost always say "Thank you again" at the end. 

I had never thought about it before.  Guess I'm going to have to remember that and try to catch myself next time!    :-\

I think it comes from the basic "how to write a term paper / speech" training we get, which goes:
   *Tell them what you're going to tell them; *tell them; *tell them what you told them.

We like a conclusion. But in a short note, it does get a little repetitive. I don't think there's anything wrong with it, but if what you're looking for is excellence of writing, I think the format is too short for the "thank you again."
   
The other thing is, for some of us, we don't really want to say, "let's get dinner sometime soon."

TootsNYC

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Re: A nice thank you note for a present chosen from the registry
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2014, 07:59:50 AM »


I agree with this so much. If the note is timely and the sentiment genuine, I think it's really ungracious, judgemental and incredibly rude to point out phrases that (general) you think are less than perfect.

Hmmm, rude to whom? And "point out" to whom?

Rude to everyone else here at Etiquette Hell to point out things you think people did that are less than perfect? Bank employees, store clerks, thank-you note writers, etc.?

Isn't that what almost all of us do at EHell?



(edited to fix the quote tree)
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 02:22:53 PM by TootsNYC »

Lynn2000

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Re: A nice thank you note for a present chosen from the registry
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2014, 11:12:39 AM »
TY note threads are always interesting. On the one hand you seem to have the people who are like, "At least you got something, lots of folks can't be bothered to acknowledge a gift at all!" And then on the other hand you have the people who are trying to maintain really high standards for TY notes, perhaps unrealistically high given how often they're disappointed.  :-\

Honestly, I don't think my standards are all that high, and I still get disappointed. I think the TY note should 1) exist and 2) be personalized. I don't ask for calligraphy or custom stationary or a prize-winning ode to my gift. I'd just like to get something, which gives the impression the recipient actually thought about me and my individual gift for half a second. As opposed to nothing, or a generic TY card identical in every way to the cards everyone else got.

On the other hand, I have to admit that I'm far more likely to remember that someone gave me a generic TY card (and my negative reaction), than that they didn't give me one at all. Which sadly favors the people who completely negate their duty, over those who at least gave some thought to concept of thanks in general.
~Lynn2000

TootsNYC

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Re: A nice thank you note for a present chosen from the registry
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2014, 11:53:35 AM »
I think I'm like you, Lynn2000, in that I generally don't remember that I didn't get a note.

This last bridal shower, I was sort of waiting on the note (which I normally do not ever do). But that's because I invested a bit more in the gift, and I wanted to hear that she'd noticed.
    If she did, she didn't mention it.

The shower before that, I was like, "what is this piece of mail? Who is sending me a thank-you note?"
   That's because I'd run into the groom's mom who had told me how much the couple had liked the personalized, "notes on everything" gift. So I knew it had been noted & appreciated, and I'd mentally crossed it off.

It's not that there's a negative w/ the rote thank-you note. It's just a lost opportunity, that's all.

And the only reason I'd bring it up is to provide feedback and encouragement for someone who came here to look for some way to seize or capitalize on that opportunity.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 02:23:13 PM by TootsNYC »

gellchom

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Re: A nice thank you note for a present chosen from the registry
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2014, 01:20:48 PM »
Eeeps!  That post sure didn't come across the way I intended it to!

Toots says well what I was trying to get at:

" to provide feedback and encouragement for someone who came here to look for some way to seize[/] or capitalize on that opportunity."

I wasn't writing from the point of view of disgruntled thank-you note recipient.  I was writing as someone who tries to write my thank you notes the best I can, and I was directing the post to others who similarly try to improve their skills.

That doesn't mean that I'm condemning to eHell anyone who writes average thank you notes!  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  As we all constantly note, the important thing is that the recipient thank the giver.

But to give an opinion that something is especially nice and that something else seems weaker (which is the word I should have used instead of "strikes me as so lame," and I apologize for that, even though it was just my opinion) is not to condemn anyone and certainly not to say it's "wrong."

It's just pointing out a way to make a thank you note even better, at least in my opinion, which may be shared by others who receive our thank you notes.  There is a lot of space between "optimal" and "horrible," after all.  Like a good-better-best thing.

Margo, I'm with you -- when I write a longer letter, I often do put another thanks at the end, although I try to make it different from my thanks above and not just "thank you again" -- maybe this time, "Thank you so much for thinking of us" or something.  (And for that matter, I try never to start with "Thank you for the ...."  I like to put the thanks for the gift in the second sentence or even in the second paragraph.  Just seems fresher to me.)

What I was thinking of was the very short 2-4 sentence thank you notes we typically get from children:

"Dear Aunt Pittypat,
Thank you very much for the sweater.  It is my favorite color. Thank you again.
Love,
Billy"

That's a perfectly good thank you note from a child.  And it's an acceptable one from an adult.  But a many people like to go farther than just acceptable.  That doesn't mean they are judging anyone else to whom it's not a priority.

Think of cooking.  Some people just want to put something together fast and fuel up.  Some people are real foodies who want to spend time and money making something without any shortcuts.  If someone says that they think that fresh pasta tastes so much better than dried, so they recommend making your own pasta from scratch, they aren't being rude to anyone who buys a box of Ronzoni (like me).

Anyway, here on eHell, we all report on things that we saw that gave us a good or bad impression.  I can't speak for others, but I don't do it to trash or for that matter laud anyone  - they aren't here.  I'm just passing on observations that helped me to do things better, in case they can be useful to others who want to do so, too.  And I'm sure I'm not the only one.  I find people's reports on things they have seen that they thought looked particularly bad or good to be very helpful.  I always assume that critical reports of things other people did aren't posted to pass judgment or say they found something offensive; I assume that the poster is trying to help others avoid pitfalls they may not anticipate.

I don't think that passing on opinions about what makes for especially good thank you notes is any more "ungracious, judgemental and incredibly rude" (to whom?) than reporting that a certain kind of centerpiece worked better than another or that one type of wording on an invitation or response card seemed more artful than another.  But nevertheless I apologize for hurting anyone's feelings.

Lynn2000

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Re: A nice thank you note for a present chosen from the registry
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2014, 02:00:25 PM »
It's not that there's a negative w/ the rote thank-you note. It's just a lost opportunity, that's all.

And the only reason I'd bring it up is to provide feedback and encouragement for someone who came here to look for some way to seize[/] or capitalize on that opportunity.

I think this is a good way to look at it. Especially if someone is coming here, they already understand that TY notes are necessary and may just be looking for ways to make them even better or more memorable, as gellchom says, but without going over the line into cutesy or gimmicky. So, in the OP we have a tasteful example, one of many possible I'm sure.

My advice, to those who are already committed to TY notes, is to make sure you mention the gift or the giver in a specific, individual way. Even if it's "thank you for the lovely wine glasses," at least you are writing something that you didn't write on every single card (one assumes!) and you're connecting the giver with their specific gift. Even better is adding something like, "...they remind me of the time we were at your house for that wonderful wine and cheese party," connecting the giver to a specific positive memory.

If the gift was money/gift card, you can mention what you plan to/did spend it on, and I think making something reasonable up is fine if the real answer is dull or not appropriate. ;) "Thank you so much for your generous gift, we're going to put it towards our new couch!" is a pretty neutral response, I think.
~Lynn2000

TootsNYC

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Re: A nice thank you note for a present chosen from the registry
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2014, 02:21:14 PM »
Quote
"Thank you so much for your generous gift, we're going to put it towards our new couch!" is a pretty neutral response, I think.

We got pretty much only cash from my ILs' side of the family.

I thanked people for "the left arm of our new sofa, which we hope to purchase in the next month." Or for "the middle cushion." I had to write TYnotes to several "sets" in the same nuclear family (aunt&uncle, growup cousins, e.g.), so I made sure to thank each of them for a different part of the sofa. In case they compared notes (which they did, I found out--and apparently they thought it was funny--I even had an uncle mention the sofa part, and in this family, uncles don't pay attention to wedding gifts or TY notes, so that means it was a topic of conversation).

I will tell you, there is an absolute payoff to writing a really memorable thank-you note, and to writing a really prompt one. I've been traveling on the momentum from those TY notes for decades now.
   I would bet I've even been forgiven a slip now and then because of that reputation I established so early.
  (of course, it's smart to tend to your rep as well)

gellchom

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Re: A nice thank you note for a present chosen from the registry
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2014, 03:00:26 PM »
I love your couch notes, Toots!  How clever.

And you are SO right about good thank you notes having a "payoff" (I wish I could think of a less money-related term!) -- that has been my experience, and that of my children (with my son, I sometimes even tell him not to worry about it being literature, just get them done!).

My go-to wording for cash wedding gifts is "Thank you for helping us off to a good start."  I think people who give cash gifts like that, as many of them are envisioning helping the recipients set up some savings for the future.  You can also write it to more than one person.  For bar/bat mitzvah, I suggested to my kids and their friends something like "Thank you for helping me save for my college education."  Same idea -- I think that the people like hearing that the kid is saving, not just spending everything right away.  But it's also nice when they write about buying something specific, like "I am saving for a computer/class trip/etc., and your gift will really help" -- it's still not "Now I have a big pile of cash, so I'm going to go to the mall!  Whee!" 

That reminds me of when my kids and our friends' kids were all having their b'nei mitzvah, and we sat with the kids and talked about what makes notes good -- the bonus being that it is a LOT less boring, too.  My absolute favorite thank you note that I have ever gotten was from one of those kids (she's like a niece).  She purposely did everything "wrong": the note was typed on a piece of paper that she'd cut out sloppily and glued into her notecard.  Upside down.  It was a fill in the blank/circle the option thing that said something like

Dear _[Our names, mine incorrect, his misspelled]______,
Thank you for the __lovely gift___.  I'm glad/sorry you could/could not attend my bat mitzvah.  Thank you again.

She had circled "glad" and "could not."  And I don't remember; maybe no signature at all, maybe typed. 

I was absolutely delighted.  It not only made us laugh ourselves sick, it was a very clever way of telling us thanks for the lesson and that she'd paid attention.  (And now that I think of it, it probably also solved her problem of expressing enthusiasm for our gift, which I suspect wasn't her favorite.)  A+.  I still have it.

And she still writes excellent thank you notes.  I'm sure she finds it a very good skill to have now that she is a successful businesswoman.