You Asked: Thank You Cards

Dear Melissa,
I have an etiquette question for you, I’m wondering if there is a timeframe for sending thank you cards. Especially with Christmas coming up… A month has passed since the ‘occurrence’, but I’m going away for Christmas and won’t be back until the new year. Are people going to be offended if I wait until then to send thank you cards? I’d appreciate your input on this.
Signed,
Late But Grateful

Dear Late But Grateful,
It is never too late to say thank you! A sincere thank you is always appreciated, and it’s better late than never. The purpose of a thank you card is to express your gratitude. You are better to focus on writing a genuine, individualized and specfic acknowledgement of their gift, than to dash off a generic typed form letter. Though, popular etiquette is a timely response, is a grateful response. So, for the future, here are a few tips for getting those thank you’s out fast and with fervor.

1. Write a few each day. By taking a large task and breaking up into smaller pieces, you’ll be motivated by the little wins along the way. Which typically inspires you to finish faster than you’d planned, which is a great feeling!

2. Let the thank you match the gift. There is no need to spend hours deliberating, decorating and doting over the thank you’ll send for a $5 coffee giftcard. A simple text message or email will suffice.

3. Be specfic. Mention the gift and how it will impact your life. This will give you something to write about, for even the most casual acquaintance. But it will also show more invested relations that you are aware of the thought they put into their gift.

Plus: Don’t underestimate the impromptu thank you. If you have a friend or family member you wish you had more contact with, a thank you is a great way to rebuild your relationship. Select a moment to celebrate; memories are great, but so are inspirations they may have no idea they gave you. When you think of them, your best inroad to improving your relationship is to send them a note. It can be a 4 line email or a 3 page handwritten letter. Either way it reminds them they are appreciated, and you’ll be surprised when they return the gift in kind.

In short, Late But Grateful, thank you is always welcome. I hope this helped and thank you for being my very first question!

Thank you,
Melissa Lloyd

Etiquette Expert & Champion of Nice
Polite Company

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Gifts For A Better World

Happy Holidays! We are only 7 sleeps away from the tinsel topped climax to this super stressful festive season. This time of year is wrought with short tempers and selfish behaviour. I know, the days are short and grey. I know that it’s hard to stay positive when you feel like a salmon swimming up-stream. I know, it’s frustrating when it takes twice as long to get anywhere. I know all these things, because I deal with them too. Which is why this year, I made a Happy Holiday plan.

This is the first year in many that I have encouraged myself into the Holiday Spirit. I haven’t really celebrated the season in the last 9 years. I mean, I would exchange gifts with friends and feast with family, but I didn’t have the holiday spirit. I didn’t decorate my own home. I wasn’t invested. Detached from all the reasons for the season. I am not a particularly religious person, though I love the way hymns sound in a church on Christmas Eve. And I didn’t want to offend anyone, so I did nothing. Herein lies the rub, for me; Christmas is about being a better person, which is encouraged in all languages, all over the world, regardless of religion. I was doing myself and those around me a great disservice.

When I was little, I had the Sesame Street Christmas album. My favourite song was A Christmas Pageant, but #2 was Keep Christmas With You (All Through The Year). I loved the idea that everyday is a special one. That I had the power to spread cheer, no matter the time of year. sesamestreetchristmasWhen I found that album in my parents’ record collection last Christmas, it sparked a change in me. So, I made a happy holiday plan. This year, I decorated my home. I listened to carols, the crooners being my favourite. I enjoyed mulled wine and conversations with friends, whom I wish I saw more. I made an effort to be jolly. I held doors for strangers carrying packages. I navigated the sidewalk with a smile on my face. I greeted shopkeepers with enthusiasm. I was an army of Nice, fighting against the cold and tempting bitterness of the Holidays.

Being cheerful is a challenge. There were quite a few times when I was discouraged, but I foraged ahead.  And the benefits have far outweighed the detriments. Now, I’m ready to encourage you to give the Gifts For A Better World. Wanna know the VERY best part? THEY’RE FREE!! No guilt. No bills to pay off. Just an exponential return on investment. Being a good example encourages those around you to improve themselves. That is an amazing gift we can give everyday, if you choose to “Keep Christmas With You”. And even if you can’t do it all year round, there’s only 7 more sleeps until it’s over for another year. So, Happy Holidays, however you choose to celebrate!

Magic Words

Once upon a time, I was a little girl, and that little girl was taught a few very important things about this special time of year.

1. That is it better to give than receive.
2. That you can’t always get what you want.
3. If you ship it (early enough), it will come.

But the most important lesson of all?

4. Some words are magic.

Now, we all know some magic words; abracadabra, open sesame and Shazam! But, I’m talking about those really, really magical words. Those special words that show you care. Those simple words that can, literally, open doors for you. But what are those words?

Those magical, wonderful words are: thank you, please and I’m sorry. Now, I know I say these words all day long, without much fuss. I know I do, I apologize for bumping into strangers. I thank people for holding the door for me. I smile and say please to the grumpy barista to get my double toffee coffee. I use these words a lot in my daily life, but that I’d forgotten is, that magic takes practice. A magician can’t just pull a rabbit out of a hat. And I can’t just throw these words around, expecting their magic to be full of wonder. So, I’ve come up with a few suggestions on how to practice your magic.

I’m Sorry: This word is best practiced with direct eye contact and depending on your level of intimacy, a kind touch. Uses: Whenever you arrive late, spill or break something that does not belong to you, bump into someone, or cause general discomfort in another. Applied to all friend, stranger and foe.

Please: This word can be a question, though pairs best with with “Would you,” or “Yes!”. Uses: Often as a sweetener, this magic word can help you obtain your goal, at least the immediate outcome.

Thank You: A smile is always welcome while practicing this word. Uses: When someone has done something for you. Anything. Large and small gestures, physical exertions, every kindness should be rewarded with these words. Thank you is the best way to encourage people to continue doing kinder things throughout their day. I believe it to be the strongest magic word of all.

But the strongest magic of all? Is the power we give these words. So, please apply your new found magic across the gauntlet of humanity. And thank you for reading.

The Modern Emily Post

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with distinct pleasure that I announce I am 1 final exam away from finally being qualified to tell you what to do; organization wise. Now, now, I know you’re not as excited as I am. But I want you to know, you’re on the ground floor of what could be a very good thing. In all the text books I’ve been consuming, one thing stuck out: There is no organizational expert for the modern maiden, or man. With chapters dedicated to video cassette organization and paper catalogues, I think I’ve struck upon my niche. Or perhaps, it’s struck upon me. I will be able to create streamlined systems for the tech we have and the clouds we depend on. I will also be capable of parring down your clutter and building new habits and routines. Which will save you time, energy and lead you toward living the life you want. So, as I sit down to take the test that will seal my organizational fate, I’m revved up and ready to become the Modern Emily Post. And I will Post, right here;)