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What Do You Say?

Thank You.

The best writing you'll ever do may only be seen by one person, but remembered always.

A couple of years ago I decided to spend a short hour each week or two going through my diary and scribbling a hand-written thank you to those who had entertained, helped or inspired me lately.

It was something my grandmother and mother had been diligent about, but for me it was a hit and miss thing. Usually miss.

Several years ago I received a great deal of support and kindness following a family loss. I sat down to write thank you notes and managed just two; strangely the two were people I hadn’t seen for decades and had very sporadic contact with. 

It is surprising how delighted people are to receive a nice little note in the letterbox. Evidence that the art of posting a letter has diminished is everywhere. Try asking a teenager to compose and post and see what happens. It wasn't pretty in this house.

The easiest way to make it happen and not just file it away as a good idea for one day is to get a box of cards. The best ones come from art gallery shops. They're cool, beautiful and not event-specific. If you're not likely to get to MoMA this week you can buy online from there and most big galleries. 

The secret ingredient is the stamps - your thank you note will languish for months on the floor of your bag or car before being ditched if you don't already have the stamp.

My kit is modest, just a box of Rothko, Warhol, plain white cards and a funny one from Bird Lifestyle. And stamps. If it's been a while, prepare yourself: stamps are a dollar each now.

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(Flat lay photography is not my forté)

Sites worth checking out if you are not a Hallmark kinda guy are The Met Store, The NGA in Washington DC, or you can create your own at Canva.

Here are a few tips that will make it easy to get the pen out and just say thank you:

  • It doesn’t have to be long
  • It doesn’t have to be funny, cute or serious
  • Keep a box of cards with envelopes and stamps in the top drawer
  • Put a reminder in your diary so you keep it up
  • Be genuine, succinct and kind
  • Buy the stamps first 

Michelle Obama's thank you note to her husband on The Tonight Show shows how easy it is:

 Thank you for proving you’re not a lame duck, but my very own silver fox.
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