How To Not Suck At: Writing thank you cards

Story by Eric Christenson

First of all, thank you, guys! Thanks for reading this. You’re the best. I don’t tell you that enough, but you’re all such precious jewels.

But, gosh, I’m bad at telling people that in writing in the mail.

As a kid, I would get nice cards filled with money from my relatives, and while I was always ultra-grateful, writing thank you cards was always SUCH a chore. I’d never know what to say and it was just an all-around disaster.

But I think we can all agree, it’s a good thing to do! I guarantee if you send someone a thank you card, they’d love it. They’d love it so much!

So here we go:

1. Pick a good card

Not all thank you’s have to be flowery and barf-y. There are some good-looking thank you notes out there that are just fine. They’re not ugly and they leave you room to say what you want to say without putting clichés and Bible verses in the way of your sincere gratitude.

Actually, it’s probably better to just make the card yourself. If the person sees that it’s a homemade card, they’ll flip out! I’m telling you, they’ll flip out because you’re the best person.

2. Don’t write the same thing on all of them

I don’t know if this is a similar thing for you, but in my family, my relatives sometimes talk. It’d be crazy embarrassing if they found out that you wrote the same exact thing on their thank you notes. It totally devalues the meaning behind it, so just avoid it by not doing that at all. I, personally, would appreciate an individualized note rather than a carbon copy of someone else’s.

3. Absolutely don’t use e-mail

Getting things in the mail is like the third best feeling a person can have under Culver’s $1 cheese curds and true love. Better even still if it’s not the Buck Saver or campaign stuffers. E-mail is absolutely not the forum to use when thanking someone. If you send an e-mail thanking someone, that’s pretty much like saying, “Hey, I kind of appreciate what you did for me, but I really don’t care that much about you.”

Real mail = real feelings
E-mail = e-feelings? Sure.

4. Do it on time

The reason why I’m really bad at writing thank you’s is because I’m a terrible procrastinator when it comes to doing this kind of thing. I put it off and put it off and put it off and then it’s next year and I get another great birthday card, and I’m left feeling like a goon.

The thing is: it doesn’t take that long! Gosh, if you just sit down and do it, you could probably crank out a really nice, homemade thank you card in less than five or ten minutes. So just stop putting it off and do it. It’s easy.

A thank you card is one of the nicest things in the world, and it gets WAY overlooked. You can really brighten a loved one’s day super easily, so why wouldn’t you?
Thank you guys so much for reading this (real sincerity!).

Mom’s advice (real advice from Eric’s mom):

“1. Enjoy a primary reinforcer while you write. My favorite would be two pieces of Ghirardelli 72% dark chocolate. Like Pavlov’s dog, you will eagerly anticipate the task. Just don’t drool on your note.

2. Use a funky pen — one that has feathers or Mickey Mouse’s head on top, for instance. Uhhh… Not Mickey’s REAL head, of course.

3. Put things in perspective by remembering that the person who did something nice for you put much more time into doing it than it is taking you to thank them..”