Remember how exciting it was to get mail when you were a little kid? That feeling doesn’t change as you get older. If you want to make someone feel special, put it in writing. When you want to recognize someone—or need to thank someone who gave you a gift—remember that handwritten words are worth a thousand, well, you know.
Whether you want to show someone you care, want to thank someone who’s helped you out in the past, or want to be remembered by someone you met while networking at holiday parties, the receiver will appreciate the effort. And you? You’re all class.
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Put the “Person” in “Personal”
Sometimes an email or a text is totally appropriate, but in professional situations and those where you have something more substantial to express, we recommend going the handwritten route. Here are a few examples of when we suggest putting pen to paper:
Thank those you spoke with during job interviews.
Got a raise or promotion? Show your boss that you appreciate his or her effort on your behalf.
A close friend’s grandmother passed away and you’re not sure what to say, but you can offer heartfelt sympathy in writing.
You see that your favorite professor from college won a major award; handwritten congratulations are in order.
You goofed, big time, and forgot your Aunt Wendy’s birthday—send her a letter.
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Be Specific and Sincere
Whether you forgot an occasion, or want to send a note of congrats or thanks, it’s never too late. Even after the fact, your recipient will appreciate that you’re thinking of her. Make sure your message is well-written and expresses exactly what you want to say. If you’re unsure, feel free to type it out on your computer first or use scratch paper until you get it right.
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The Anatomy of the Perfect Note
Longer isn’t better. A brief, to-the-point message is often more poignant than the longest of letters. Be as specific as possible. Instead of talking around the fact that you’re thankful, state clearly what you’re grateful for (even if the answer is that you’re grateful for the person’s friendship and want to wish him or her happy holidays). Aim to include at least one particular example of why you’re grateful, why you value the person as much as you do, what you spoke about at your job interview, etc. The more personalized, the better—the last thing you want is for the recipient to think that you’re jotting out similar, generic notes to a bunch of different people.
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Send Smart, Save More
Fancy stationery can get expensive, but you don’t need the triple-weight ecru to convey your personal message. In general, we recommend choosing something simple and elegant that would be appropriate for any occasion. There are so many gorgeous choices available when it comes to stationery that it’s hard to choose just one.