{getting a jumpstart on} The Kids’ Thank You Notes

I have a confession: I am dreadful about writing thank you notes. It’s really appalling, especially considering both how much I appreciate receiving notes from others and how incredibly blessed our family so often is by people’s thoughtfulness and generosity.

But you want to know a secret to being really successful in life? It’s all a matter of choice.

Well, choices (plural), really, because when we determine a new goal for our lives and then begin to make (and actually follow through with) choices that point us at that goal, we move towards success. Dozens of tiny, seemingly inconsequential decisions not only propel us in a direction (what we do), but–over time–shape who we are.

Uftda. That’s some serious philosophical stuff right there. I need more coffee to process all that.

But seriously, I just want to get our thank yous done.

So this Christmas, I’m giving myself a bit of a headstart on my kids’ thank you notes by printing out some fill-in-the-blank notecards for us to use.

thank you notes jumpstart inside text

Of course, you can purchase ready-made fill-in thank yous, but I love to make my own custom ones so I can add silly options like “loud” to describe a gift.

If you happen not to have blank stationery just lying around, you can purchase a package of inexpensive notecards and envelopes at Michael’s (and you can almost always find a 40% off coupon, too). Then size a Word document to 5.5″ x 8.5″ with the margins set so that the cards will only print in the bottom half , under the fold line (so top margin = 4.75″; and left, right, and bottom margins = .5″).

thank you notes headstart color ink

Your message will read something like “Dear [blank], Thank you for the [blank]. It’s [blank]. Love, [blank].” But it’s fun to add a silly option or two; my options are neat, awesome, fun, warm, useful, and loud. You will want to leave space in between each line so your child has enough height to write in his gift, etc. Once you’re happy with the layout and wording, hit print! Just feed the stationery sheets through the printer, and you’re all ready to express a little gratitude. Wheeee!

thank you notes headstart black ink

I printed a few out in colored ink, too… Not because I’m all crafty and creative and stuff, but just because my black printer ink cartridge ran out. #typical

For the covers of the thank you notes, I’m thinking of doing a sewn element similar to the fabric pennant stationery, adding some shape-punched scrapbook paper, or letting the kids draw a cover picture of the gift for which they are writing the thanks. We shall see…

And speaking of the kids drawing on these thank yous, that reminds me of another thank you note idea or two:

In the past, I’ve had the kids draw Christmas scenes–like them opening a present next to the tree–and then scanned the drawings into my computer and sized them to print out on thank you note covers. That way, even if I am the one penning the notes (for those who could not yet write), there is still a very personal touch to the thank you.

thank you notes headstart thanks photo

Another way to knock out kid thank yous is to use a camera: take a photo of an elated child opening a gift, then print it out and mail it to the giver with a simple “thank you!” and signature on the back. Or you could write a note with word bubbles right on the photo, either with a sharpie or a computer program.

So, has anyone out there discovered the secret formula for success in this area? How do you get your Christmas thank yous done? Do tell!


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