In exaltation of thank-you notes

[Alyson Kuhn] A thank-you note, when you get right down to it, is simply an elaboration of two words: Thank you. Much as I love to send thank-you notes in general, I think I enjoy sending (yes, and receiving) unexpected thank-yous the most. And it is this practice that I’m promoting as we enter the season of gratitude: thanking people, on paper, for things that don’t usually get acknowledged with an actual note.

Even if you’ve already said thanks in person or in a message, a real note is a record of appreciation. It’s keep-able. It’s re-enjoyable. And I like to think it’s regenerative: Thanks beget thanks. The note below, from artist John Held, is a great example of this. Held sent me a note thanking me for a postcard thanking him for something. I love that he prefaced his thanks with the word “Wow.” (All of the graphics are rubber stamps, collaged by Held. The dapper chap in the chapeau, on the envelope, is in fact a self-portrait of the artist.)

Below is a thank-you note I received last month from a longtime client who has become a friend, a client to whom I am perpetually grateful for the opportunity to collaborate in documenting Heart to Heart’s inspiring work. We had labored intensely over materials to be presented in person to an official at the Russian Duma in Moscow. She took the time, in her final few minutes in the office, to handwrite a note (on a Mohawk Superfine Ultimate White card) — and even rewarded me with a new middle initial, B for brilliant. Her note, including the frugally re-used envelope, touches my heart — and graces a ledge on my desk.

Mail-obsessed artist Jennie Hinchcliff can proclaim her gratitude right on the envelope, thanks to her stylish thank-you tape from Tokyo (below). Thank you, Good Mail Girl!

Writing about thank-you notes has put me in the mood to write some! I am going to try to send one per day until Thanksgiving. If everyone reading this post sent just one before Thanksgiving — thanking someone for something that he or she doesn’t expect to be thanked for — think how many souls would be well fed!

Our thanks to Ilene Striver of The Type Studio for the graphic at the top of this feature, set in Chevalier.

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Comments (4)

  1. Posted by Lisa Wiseman on 11.15.10 at 7:19 am

    Alyson
    I love this! As you know, I’m a big fan of posted notes myself 🙂 Such fun examples you’ve included, thanks for sharing.
    Cheers
    Lisa

  2. Posted by A Kuhntributor on 11.15.10 at 10:40 am

    Lisa – The early bird catches the … comment right back! Thanks for reading before breakfast & for commenting.

  3. Posted by Matthew on 11.15.10 at 11:39 am

    Chip N’ Dale often thanked each other for thanking each other for thanking each other. Thank you for your thank you note post…

  4. Posted by liza on 11.19.10 at 9:28 am

    thank you for reminding me that I need to make some thank you cards.

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