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I have a new obsession, thank you notes. It all started around the time we got married (almost five years, eep!) and it’s spread to the rest of my life.

I suppose it wasn’t surprising, considering my other passions, etiquette books, pens and stationery but it’s the virulence that’s taken me aback.

Still, it can’t be a bad thing, and I’ve written up some rules in case you want to join the movement.

How to Write Thank You Notes

  1. As soon as you’re given a gift, get out a card (see 2.) and address it. You could even put a stamp on it, but I save that for the very end.
  2. Make sure your cards are elegantly petite, unless you really have something to say to the person. Christmas cards are a good bet, but anything will do.
  3. Do not, whatever you do, start with the words ‘thank you’ (see 4.). Your first sentence is a teaser, so say ‘It was lovely to see you at the motorway services when we exchanged gifts in a cloud of diesel.’ or ‘Now that Uncle Ethelbert has finished his annual racist diatribe, I can turn my hand to more pleasant things.’
  4. This is an exercise in literary fiction, so treat it as such. I don’t care if you liked the gift or not, your challenge is to say something nice about it or something that sounds like it might be nice. ‘Young Hubert has developed a fascination with indoor parkour, so the lovely abstract glass nude you’ve given us should present him with a good foothold.’ The thank you bit doesn’t have to be as formulaic as ‘Thank you for the ___’, and in fact that’s a bit boring.
  5. Once you’ve sent the note, you can sell the hated thing on eBay with a clean conscience…

The rest of the Weekworders can be found on Emily’s blog!

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