The Art of the Thank You Note

November 23, 2016

The holidays are officially here, which means gift giving, dinner parties and cocktails with friends. We thought it was as good a time as any to brush up on our thank you note etiquette.

Kate Pickett, founder of Pickett's Press, knows a thing or two about crafting the perfect thank you. We asked her to share all of her tips and tricks to help you say "thanks" this holiday.

In this digital age, why is it important to send a hand written thank you note?

A hand written thank you note is special for two reasons: firstly, it takes time to write a note by hand, put it in an envelope, and mail it. That mere fact makes it special – you notice something that comes in the mail. Secondly, a handwritten note is personal. You are sending something that represents you. From the paper you choose to how you write it to what your stationery looks like, it all says a little something about you and that is more meaningful than email.

Studies have shown that when we write things by hand, we take more time with each word. An email is so easy to knock out and hit send, but with a note you must think about how to fit each word on the page, and thus the writing becomes cleaner and the words chosen, more meaningful.
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Monogram stationery from Pickett's Press.

Is it ever okay to send a thank you via email?

The rules for gifts and parties are different. Socially, it seems lately that it has become appropriate following an event to jot a quick email to the hostess thanking her for the event and then follow up with a proper letter. However, if you write a note immediately following an event, and mail it the next day, which I try to do, then no email is necessary. For gifts, only a properly mailed thank you note will do!

What is the acceptable time frame for sending a thank you note?

I like to send a note the minute I walk in the door from a party. I make sure my stationery is super easy to find (right on my desk) and that way, I just do it and put it in the mail. It is never too late to send a note.

Personalized cards from Pickett's Press.
Kate Pickett with her family.

When it comes to stationery, why is it important to invest in something personalized?

There is something elegant, old-fashioned and just lovely about penning a note on paper that has your name on the top. There are so many options, and personally, I just find it plain fun to design stationery! I love mixing colors and bordering treatments and fonts, the combinations are endless. Also, with so many printing methods easily available (we offer four printing methods right on our website), personalized stationery doesn’t have to break the bank.

You can invest in an engraving plate for a more traditional look (pick a font you’ll like since the plates can be pricey and you’ll want to reuse them!), and then get a few sets of fun digitally printed stationery which is very budget-friendly. I like having a set of formal stationery, with my full name, on white in a color like gray, navy, or green, and then a set of “fun,” informal stationery with a motif. It’s the note that makes a difference (and what you say) more than what paper it’s on.

What are the thank you note “don’ts”?

Never mention money or how much something cost! Always say why you like a gift, a little context makes a note feel personal and thus meaningful.

And finally, what is the best pen to use?

I always have Sharpie Fine Point Black Pen in my hand bag!