Whilst we all seem to be on the topic of post holiday gratitude, I figured it was time to establish some guidelines for showing one's thanks with elegance. Firstly, there ought be no thank you emails, text messages, or the like for holiday gifts and parties. Let's agree to reserve those for the more voluminous daily socializing. The method of distinction is namely the handwritten missive. One should be composed on proper stationery and penned with a steady hand in ink from your favorite fountain pen.
But what of content, you ask. I live by four memorable rules.
Authenticity should come naturally in the note. Explain how you felt at the occasion to which you were invited or how the gift made you feel when you opened it.
Clarity comes down to your grasp of flow, both of ink and thought. Do not scratch out an error! Begin again in that event. If you must, use standard paper for practice first (yes, I do this from time to time). Remember that the note is not worth much if the receiver can't read it. With regard to the language, be clear and not vague in statements you make.
I have a strict rule that anecdotes must fit into a single short sentence. No one wants to read a 5 page thank you note filled with stories of how the gift reminded you of an event your childhood.
Simply write the note with the reader in mind in order to best get your point across. I presume you know enough about the individual to tailor the messaging for effectiveness.
I recommend using your personalized stationary, but in its absence use a standard Crane's card and envelope set. For information on when a note needs to be sent see Social Primer's latest post.