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Published on April 27th, 2017 | by Michelle Roper-Shaw

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Say Thank You in a Letter

When was the last time you wrote a thank you letter? Today, National Stationery Week celebrates Thank You Thursday.

Writing a thank you letter appears to be a dying art in today’s world of smartphones and tablets. A survey of 1,000 teenagers by pen manufacturer BiC found handwriting has definitely taken a back seat. The survey found these startling statistics.

  • 58% stated handwriting was too slow
  • 17% felt hand writing was “out dated”
  • 26% had never written a birthday or Christmas card
  • 50% of 13-19 year olds had never written a thank you note
  • One in ten admitted that they didn’t own a pen

On #ThankYouThursday it is time to rediscover the thank you letter and the pleasure it can bring. You can never underestimate personally written words on paper. In fact, studies have found that gratitude is good for the brain. Months after writing a simple thank you note, our brains are tuned to feel extra thankful.

Find Inspiration from Famous Thank You Note Writers

Beatrix Potter Coin Cover featuring Peter Rabbit

J.K Rowling, C. S Lewis, F Scott Fitzgerald, Charlotte Bronte and Beatrix Potter to name but a few, have written some wonderful thank you letters to their fans.

As Authors, their words are particularly inspiring to read. Beatrix Potter often received requests from fans for her to include their own pets as characters in her books. One fan with a rabbit called Fluffy received this reply:

“There was a letter lately from a child in Wales who wants a book about a crocodile called Amelia! That I cannot stand! Then there is a small boy in Ireland who wants to know if Jeremy Fisher ever got married, and two want moles, and another wants a donkey named Salome, & another wants a horse book, and another wants hens, and another wants elephants – poor Miss Potter! Fluffy is a very reasonable request by comparison.”

A thank you letter written by Charlotte Bronte to a fan sold for auction in 2013 for over £30,000.

“The sincere affection of a reader’s gratification is – I scarcely need to say – one of the much acceptable favours in which an author can be repaid for his labours. I shall be glad if any future work of mine gives you equal pleasure to that you speak of having found in Jane Eyre.”

C.S Lewis took thank you letters to another level, providing detailed advice on how they could improve their writing and composition. A collection of these letters are contained in the book C.S Lewis Letters to Children.

But Don’t Duplicate

However, sometimes a thank you letter brings great disappointment. The former editor of Blue Peter, Biddy Baxter recalls a thank you letter she received from Enid Blyton.

“I had a dreadful experience with Enid Blyton. I had a reply and it was wonderful: the best day of my life. Three weeks later I wrote to her again and I received an identical reply. I remember bursting into tears and going to see my mother saying: ‘She doesn’t remember me’.”

Constructing a Thank You Note

Constructing a Thank You Note

If you are not sure where to start when constructing a thank you note, Margaret Shepherd in her book The Art of the Handwritten Note, has this advice:

“Your thank-you note should recapture the smile, handshake or hug you would give the giver in person,” she says.

“… and offer it in a form that can be read and reread.”

She also states that a good thank you note should include these five characteristics:

  • Be generous
  • Be specific,
  • Be prompt (never let lateness stop you from writing at all)
  • Be succinct
  • Be personal.

Start Writing

writing a handwritten letter

Whether you prefer to write with a ballpoint pen, fountain pen or rollerball, the right pen is essential to get you into the habit of writing thank you notes. Parker Pens have a great selection for all tastes to add a touch of class to your writing.

Finally, when it comes to paper, quality is key. You want to ensure the recipient keeps your letter in the months and years ahead. The Conqueror range of paper and envelopes provide a luxury feel to your writing with high quality vellum paper in a range of white, ivory and cream tones.

Get writing your thank you notes today.

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