It used to be a tradition, or warning, I'm not sure which, about writing your thank-you letters after Christmas. It was supposed to be good luck to finish them before the new year. The younger you are, the less you'll understand what I'm saying.
I grant you, I'm a nut about thank-yous, rabid, you might say, and out-of-sync-with the times. Yes, well, I'm not the only one who buys the beautiful hasti-notes the Metropolitan Museum of Art sells in their gift shop, and online, which is how I get them. It's all very well for a number of people who grudgingly acknowledge that there is something to saying thank-you and who therefore write e-mail thanks. Better than nothing, often necessary usually useful. But....
I slide into a permissive attitude and sort of accept the grateful e-thanks I get, and I have developed a kind of grade system for the expressions I receive - on a score of 1 to 10, 10 being the best. That has enabled me to compromise and award a good e-thanks up to a 6, but no higher. Still, I knew I was waffling. Then I came across a guest column in the National Post, written by Ted Bishop, the author of "The Social Life of Ink" (Viking Press), and I backed up to my original stiff-necked stance. Here's the first line of his article:
"Graydon Carter, editor of "Vanity Press", sends most of his advertisers handwritten thank-you notes every month: 'Well, wouldn't you want to be thanked if you were cutting a $100,000 cheque?' Clearly a texted 'Thx!' doesn't cut it."
When my husband died, I hung out my shingle as a free-lance writer and tried to write everything in order to make a living for me and my kids. For one assignment I had to interview June Callwood, whom I had never met. She was generous with her time and information and I wrote her a thank-you letter. She wrote me back! She said she had never been thanked for an interview before and she really appreciated it.
Well, you know what they say about the pen, mightier than and all that. Just saying.