Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Complete Note Cards Kit

Springtime brings a couple of occasions to give and receive gifts, namely graduations, weddings.

And this is one of those times when it is much better to give than to receive.  Why?  All those damned thank you notes.

My youngest  daughter enjoyed her wedding:  the trip down the aisle in her over-priced dress and, yes, even a tiara.  I may not be a person who enjoys dressing up but I do know that every girl dreams of wearing a tiara.

But along with the glory of being the center of attention Emily learned about showers that year.  Rather, the Thank You notes that went with them.

I can’t remember how she handled the thank you notes for the wedding but when it came time for a baby shower she begged me to not let anyone give her a baby shower.  And the only thing that stopped her was quite simply because she dreaded writing Thank You notes more than she needed gifts.

So, I've  put some thought to that for the last few years.  I decided this really is a difficult chore because  it's pretty hard to  know what to say.

Do you keep it short and simple?  Or long and loving? Obsequious or obnoxious?

Just in time for 2012 graduation and wedding season  here is Mother Jane’s Complete Thank You Kit.  Here’s what to say and how to say it right down to making your own cards.  Some of the following advice I gleaned from common knowledge amongst women and some I just made up.

There are two main things to remember about sending thank you note:

One:  Send a thank you note for everything.  To everyone.  This shows character.

Two:  Send it as soon as possible.  This also shows character and takes the pressure off.

Mark your calendar.  Get the thank you notes out two weeks after graduation.  You will feel better with the load off your mind and your mother will have to shut up.

** HOWEVER:**  There is one bit of advice I need to point out for Gift GIVERS:  Make sure your card is FIRMLY attached to your gift.  If the recipient doesn’t know who gave them the gift they certainly can’t thank you, can they?  After Elizabeth's wedding we spent the week after the honeymoon trying to match up a set of spaghetti bowls with no card to the cards people brought without a gift. So, for Emily's wedding we stationed someone at the gift table with a roll of scotchtape.  Problem solved on our end.  But you people really do need to do your part if you expect a thank you note. For God’s sake don’t just sit the card on top of the gift and think it’s going to stay there!  And I know you people do this because I used to do it myself.  No more.  

OK.  Now:

Nobody likes to write thank you notes.  I think that’s mostly because they're not sure what to say or they're afraid they’ll say it wrong.  This is where my Thank You Notes Kit comes in handy.  Follow my simple and fool-proof formula and zip those notes out at record speed.

It is more important to be prompt than it is to be eloquent.  No one has very high expectations of high school graduates nowadays, anyway.  They have read your text messages and facebook updates and if you  manage to just use actual  words in the note they will be impressed. 

The basic  Thank You note  should have three sentences:  (1)Thank you.  (2)This is why I liked it.  (3) Then a third sentence to close the note. Try to say something about your relationship with the giver.  This way the note reinforces the idea that the person means more to you than the gift.

You don’t have to do any more than that.  Fill in the blanks with me here:


1.    Thank you for the (laptop, car, sheets, pillow, Frisbee)

          2.  I love (the color, size, having one)
                   I’ve always wanted one.
                   It fits perfectly (unless it doesn’t then don’t mention that part)

          3    I will be going to Podunk College next year studying the philosophy of Fig Newtons
                You have always been an important person/good friend/ to me (my family).
                 When I win the Nobel Peace prize I will be sure to mention you in my acceptance speech
                 I remember the time you helped me get my cat out of the tree.

Your name here

Now that you know what to write down, please be careful how you do it.  This will be tempting.  You will  be all like “Wow, this is cool.  It’s so easy now that I have the Jane Els formula. I can zip these off in no time.”  Don’t write like you are rushing.  Your handwriting is important.  Write as clear as you can to make it look like writing the note is something you’re enjoying. Your handwriting should convey the image of yourself sitting outside under a shade tree with a glass of lemonade enjoying yourself.  Slow down.  Especially if you have the handwriting of a homicidal maniac.

OK.  Now to the cards themselves.

Because I am both cheap and imaginative I sometimes make my own personalized note cards. It’s not as hard as it may sound.  And it is infinitely easier if you know what you are doing.  One of the things I miss about having a real job and working in an office is how much you learn from your officemates. The Microsoft Word boat has sailed without me and I’m floundering around figuring out stuff on my own. So—you might know a better way to do this and, if so, please let me know.   Margins seem to be my weakness.

Set up a document in landscape orientation with two columns.  Put your name toward the bottom of each column.  Arrange the font type and size to suite you and keep it centered in the columns. Pick a color you like.

You can print a test.  Fold the paper over and cut the two columns apart.  Do all your testing on regular paper.  Once you get it the way you like it print the final copies on hard cardstock paper—32 or 64 up to 110 pound weight, The office supply stores have this paper. I'm not sure exactly what the weight stands for but the higher the weight the stiffer the paper. And the heavier the paper the better quality the note.  My daughter once received an invitation from her billionaire boss that was printed on wood.  I'm not kidding.  A littly slab of wood.

The cards will fit in envelope that is 4 3/8 X 5 3/4.  You can also do big cards by using just the one column and portrait orientation.  Then fold the whole sheet in half.  They have envelopes to fit this size, too and they are 5 3/4 X 8 3/4..  I especially like this size for Christmas cards. 

I'm sure this technique will help you.  No--no, no.  Don't try to thank me. 

But, if you do, send it to PO Box 142  Winnsboro, TX  75494   I will try not to judge.