The party’s over—now it’s time to get down to business and write those thank you notes. In celebration of the MILLY for Dempsey & Carroll stationery collaboration, our favorite etiquette expert, Rajiv Surendra, a New York based artist and calligrapher who specializes in lettering with pen and ink and chalk, shares some tips for how to do it the right way. You might just be surprised…
What are the components of the perfect thank you note?
Never start a thank you note with the words “thank you.” Always start from a personal place. Start with a specific comment or something you’re grateful for in terms of what it is you’re given.
What are the most common mistakes you see?
One of the common mistakes is not saying anything at all about what it is you’re given. Someone took the time to pick that out for you and give that to you and so that reciprocating that will extend why it is special to you or why it is great or what you thought of when you opened it up.
How do you write many thank you notes in a row without coming off like a robot?
If you write them all at once, they’ll all come across a little meaningless, so do yourself a favor and split them up over time.
What if you have terrible handwriting?
I feel passionate about someone expressing truthfully – you should write anyway – that shouldn’t stop you from writing with a pen. That representation on paper is a very special thing. It’s a piece of you. Don’t let that stop you or intimidate you.
Is it ever too late to send a thank you note?
It’s never too late to send a thank you note but generally what we tend to recommend, a week after you receive a gift is normal etiquette but after the holidays it’s nice to receive thank you notes within the first two weeks of the New Year. It feels a little late after that. Everyone is going back to work on Monday onward.
How should you go about choosing your correspondence notecards?
The card you choose should be a representation of you. Don’t worry about what the person is going to like, choose a card that you like.
Can you share any etiquette regarding addressing your envelopes?
Make sure you put the return address in case you get it back and you know the person didn’t receive it. A nice tip is to go an extra step and use a commemorative stamp that the US Postal Service creates every year. They look beautiful on the envelope. If you can take the time to pick out stamps that you like they add a personal touch.