We have so much to be grateful for in 2020. Our 100+ years young brand, reached across the globe through our partners and retailers and because of them, we met all of you. Reflecting on our year got us thinking about expressing thanks, specifically through the time-honored tradition of sending thank you cards.
Sending thank you cards goes back to ancient times, when the Chinese and Egyptians were writing notes on papyrus as tokens of good luck. In the 1400’s Europeans began a tradition of sending notes socially. These notes were delivered by hand and this tradition carried on through the turn of the century. In the 1800’s this practice made its way to the US. Louis Prang, a lithographer, is credited with introducing greeting cards and thank you notes to America in 1958. The same year, Richard Esterbrook established the Esterbrook Steel Pen Manufacturing Company.
We love this coincidence: thank you notes and Esterbrook found themselves in fashion at the same time!
What makes for a good thank you card?
-Authentic messages are the most meaningful to the recipient. This means that the words don’t have to be perfect for the sentiment to be. As long as the note is heartfelt it will translate.
-Handwriting matters! This isn’t to say that your penmanship has to be perfect, most people’s aren’t, but taking your time and writing the card neatly makes an impression. We have a few things that might help you out in this department!
-Know your audience.
If you are sending thanks in a business situation, formality might be required. For example, you might need to include a Mr. or Ms. in the mix. With family and friends, you can loosen up your language. After all, your Grandma might find it strange when you send her a thank you note and address her as Mrs.
-Don’t forget the purpose of the note.
Say thank you right up front. The thank you can be in your second sentence, but that’s about as low on the priority list as it should go. For example, you could start this way:
I am so touched by your generosity. Thank you so much for remembering my birthday and for the beautiful fountain pen.
-Be specific about the gift or gesture.
In relation to our example above, you might continue this way:
I am planning on journaling much more this year and having such a nice pen will definitely encourage that. I love the color you chose so much. Green is my favorite. How did you know?
-Don’t forget the future aka don’t say thanks and bye!
Thank you notes should include some mention of what might come next.
For example, I can’t wait to tell you how much I’m enjoying the pen when we see each other at Hayden’s engagement party next month (this is assuming that Hayden’s engagement party is not on Zoom!)
-Say it again.
Your note should end where it began, expressing your gratitude.
Finish your note by saying thank you once more. To conclude our example, you might write. I was so surprised that you celebrated my birthday with such a magnificent gift. Thank you so much, again.
-Sign off appropriately.
If the note is business related, love is off the table, but if it is a close friend or family member, share the love. Warmly and best, are great choices for those you don’t know as well or when addressing a boss, colleague or future employer. Otherwise, how you sign off should reflect the relationship you share with the recipient of your note.
A few more tips:
-When in doubt, send a note.
If you think a gesture, interaction or gift suggests sending a thank you note, it probably does.
Send the note as soon as you can. Show the same care that the person you’re sending it to did. Letting them know how thankful you are in a timely manner will emphasize how grateful you are. Having said that, better late than never. Don’t let time passing be the reason to not send a note.
-Don’t send a text.
It’s easier, but it doesn’t really count. Put pen to paper and stamp to envelope. Sometimes it will mean as much to the receiver as the gift meant to you. No emoji can replace that.
Your note should be sincere, but not over the top (unless someone gifted you the Peacock Estie. Then you can effuse endlessly about your love for it without your sincerity coming into question.)
Your fourth-grade teacher will thank you. Make sure to check your spelling before sending your note. This is yet another way to show your care is commensurate with the thoughtfulness extended to you.
Now, let’s put it all together.
If we were writing our own thank you note, it might go something like this.
Dear Esterbrook clients and enthusiasts,
You have been so inspiring to us in a year full of twists and turns. Thank you so much for your purchases, enthusiasm and trust in us in 2020. We are so grateful for your appreciation of our writing instruments and your continued support of our team which allows us to do what we love to do. We have lots of surprises and new additions for the new year and we look forward to sharing them with you in the coming months. We want to wish you a happy 2021 and thank you again for your support in 2020.