Q Dear Miss Abigail:
I need to send a thank you note for something that was given to me two months ago. How can I do it without seeming too beggy-sorry-sappy?
A Dear Wizzbo:
My advice to you is to get that thank you note sent right away, before it gets really awkward. Here are some tips for writing your letter, courtesy of the very courteous Lillian Eichler in her 1924 New Book of Etiquette. I’m sure you can think of something cordial to say to make up for lost time.
1924: The Letter of Thanks
It would be ridiculous even to attempt to give here the real letter of thanks that you should write. The letters given here are only empty forms, formulæ, for you to use as a foundation upon which you build your own letter. Let your letter be a free, sincere expression of gratitude, cordial and gracious, unhampered by stilted phrases or expressions.
Write your letter of thanks as soon as possible after the gift has been received or the favour has been done. Write with the warmth and kindliness you honestly feel, and make your letter as cordial as you know how. We hope these models will be helpful:
FOR A WEDDING GIFT
Dear Mrs. Howland:
You cannot imagine how delighted I was to receive the wonderful mirror you and Mr. Howland sent us. Bruce and I have decided to hang it in our drawing room, and we do hope you will come soon to see how well it looks.
With many thanks,
How perfectly sweet of you to send me the lovely jade vase! How did you know it was just precisely what I wanted? Bruce thinks it is the most handsome vase he has ever seen.
Remember, you are coming in on Thursday afternoon to see the gifts.
FOR GIFT TO A BABY
Dear Mrs. Courtly:
What an adorable little sacque you sent the baby! I wish you could see how cunning he looks in it. Do come soon, won’t you?
Both baby and I want you to know how we appreciate your kindness.
Lucy R. Barlow.
FOR A CHRISTMAS GIFT
I know I shouldn’t have peeked before Christmas, but somehow the wrapping just slipped off! What lovely book-ends, Robert, and how nicely they suit my desk. I am delighted with them.
Many thanks. Come in soon and see them, won’t you?
FROM EMPLOYEE TO EMPLOYER
My dear Mr. Blank:
It was very kind of you to remember me, and I want to thank you for the generous check that awaited me this morning. Please know that I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
With all good wishes for the coming year,
John R. Brown.
Source: Eichler, Lillian. The New Book of Etiquette. Garden City, N.Y.: Garden City Publishing Co., 1924.
~ pp. 163-64 ~