Do you know how to write a great thank-you note? You will when you follow these ten tips. It's easy. Here's your incentive: The better you write, the more great gifts you'll get. It's the Law of Attraction in action. Be sure to use my my Secret Knock-It-Out-Of-the-Park Tip to make the giver feel great.

1. Be speedy.
If the gift of flowers has turned to mulch, you're writing too late. My friend Beverly was at the other extreme: On Christmas afternoon her mother sat her down at the kitchen table to write thank yous. In my opinion, that's too soon because she hadn't played with the gifts yet and couldn't write from her experience. But do write within a week. Do it before the giver wonders if the gift arrived or if you've turned into mulch.

2. Use a small piece of stationery.
A small space is doable; it's not daunting. Your short message will look better than it would on a big page. You won't be tempted to say too much, like how Uncle Mike got loaded and stumbled face first into the dog's dish. A postcard is okay, but it's more challenging to write a great thank you note in such a small space. Are you up to it?

3. Write it by hand. Legibly.
In other words, no computer printouts, no text messages, no emails. An exception would be sending an email or text followed by a handwritten note. For example, "Your package arrived today, and I can hardly wait to open it" or "I love the Cuisinart, Mom. I have to dash now, so I'll write you again tomorrow. Thank you for this time saver!" If you're writing a business note, use blue or black ink.

4. Start with a saluation.
* Dear Aunt Noodzy....
* Hi, Buzzard....

5. Follow with gratitude and excitement.
* Thanks for....
* I was so happy to get...

6. Mention how you'll use it.
This especially applies to gifts of money. "Thanks for your generosity" is a good start. Follow through with something like these examples. Notice how specific they are:

* Now I can buy that tennis racket I've had my eye on.
* We'll use it to fix up the baby's room. Who knew that stink-free paint was so expensive!?!?
* I've always wanted an iPod shuffle. You'll make my dream come true.
* John will be so happy that I can buy my own skateboard and won't borrow his anymore.
* Thanks again for the Cuisinart. I'm going to use it tonight to make cranberry relish and carrot salad.

7. Avoid passive voice.
Here's an example of passive voice: "Your generosity is appreciated." Appreciated by whom? By you, of course. So say that: "I appreciate your generosity."

8. Find something good-and truthful-to say about a ghastly gift you'll never use.
* It's my favorite shade of blue.
* I love ceramics.
* I'm impressed with your quilting skills. The stitches are so even. It must have taken you a long time to make.

9. Finish with a final thank you.
You get bonus points for using the giver's name:
* Thanks again, Buzzard. I'll think of you every time I play tennis.
* Thanks again for the pears, Tom. They're the BEST, and so are you.
* Thank you again for the cool pink sweater. When my friends see me wearing it, I'll say, "Aunt Noodzy gave it to me. She sure knows what I like."

10. Use my my secret knock-it-out-of-the-park tip: Make the giver feel great.
Wait a month or two or six; then write another note. This one can be by email, but snail mail is more effective. Tell Aunt Noody-or whomever-AGAIN how much you love and use your gift, how much joy it brings you, how you think of her when you use it. If you can tell a story about it, all the better.
CAUTION: Use this tip only for gifts you honestly love. Otherwise, you might get another blue ceramic quilt.

Author's Bio: 

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Tracey E. Bennett is the author of "Do You Squeeze the Toothpaste in the Middle? Playful Questions for Dates and Mates." Now available at