December 26, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday: Greeting Card History and Etiquette



When you spend the time and money to pick out a gift it is always nice to receive a thank you. Especially if you were not present to witness the recipient opening the gift. Thank you notes acknowledge parties, thoughtful gestures, gifts, well wishes, condolences, and just about any other event where thanks are due. So why do we write thank notes? Where did the tradition start from? According to American Greetings the Egyptions created the first greeting cards over 400 years ago. The egyptions wrote these greetings on papyrus. Papyrus is thin and paperlike, it comes from the pith of the papyrus plant.  The pith is a tissue in the stems of vascular plants, composed of soft, spongy parenchyma cells, that store and move nutrients throughout the plant. Like the Egyptians, the Chinese created and exchanged similar greetings during the same time. In the 1400s greeting cards were abundant in Europe but only used by the wealthy due to their costly nature. In the 1840s the postage stamp was develouped and made greeting cards easier to deliver as they were no longer just a hand delivered item.  Greeting cards have progressed into a billion dollar industry since the 1400's.  Tons of different materials in all shapes and sizes are now used to create thank you's.  Sometimes it is a little tricky to know the proper etiquette for writing and sending a thank you.  With that being said,  am going to share some tips to follow when you are writing someone a grateful sentiment.

Tip #1: Try to avoid pre-printed cards if you are aiming for a certain type of centiment as the imprint and or font may get in the way of the sentiment you are trying to convey.

Tip #2:  Always write your thank you cards in blue or black ink.  Never use pencil or bright colors so as not to distract the recipient from the message you are trying to convey.

Tip #3:  Never use a type writer or word processor.  Have another person write it for you if you are unable or have awful penmanship.  Handwritten notes are much more sentimental and heartfelt.

Tip #4:  Whenever you receive a gift from another write them a thank you.

Tip #5:  The note should be sent as soon as possible.  Later on in this post I will give you the proper time frames to follow when sending out a thank you.

Tip #6:  You should send a thank you if you receive a complementary note, a condolance, a dinner party, or even an overnight stay.

Tip #7:  It is also good etiquette to send a thank you after a job interview or after you have been entertained in the course of business.

Tip #8: If you live under the same roof and in the same household, or you are exchanging gifts on Christmas or some other special occassion you do not have to send a thank you.

Tip #9: When in doubt it is always better to have sent a thank you than to have never sent one at all.

Tip #10: when writing your greeting be sure to use natural expressions as if you were talking and be sure to note what you are thankful for. For example, if someone gives you money thank them for the exact amount. If someone gives you a vase thank them and tell them how you are reminded of their generosity every time you use it. 

The following time frames are appropriate when sending a thank you note:

Interviews: 24-48hrs
Baby showers,birthdays, or graduations: 2 weeks
hosted Parties: 2 Days
Wedding: I know some people say it is a year but I prefer the 3 month mark for this type of occasion. 

Now that you know you should be writing a thank you, you might just find yourself at a loss for words.  Don't fret I have you covered. Below are a few examples of how to start your greeting:

Thank you for the (gift, party, lovely dinner, etc.)
I really appreciate...
I am so grateful that...
I am glad you were able to...
Many thanks for...
I can't thank you enough...
Words can't express my gratitude...
I would like to express my gratitude for...

If you are giving a post time sentiment regarding an event or attendance try to use the following:

Your attendance made it that much more memorable.
It would never have been the same without you.
It is always great to see you.
You always add to the occasion.
You are such a wonderful host.
The entertainment was perfect.

I think you get the idea.  Now go buy yourself a nice selection of stationary to tap into the next time you need to thank someone for their gratitude. I promise you will never regret writing a thank you note and the recipient will always be greatful for your heartfelt gesture.

Thank you for reading...

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