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Big thanks!
A simple, handwritten note is the perfect way to recognize a gift, or the kindness of a friend
0518Thanks
Say thanks with a handwritten thank-you note.

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Mary Beth Begley, owner of The Crystal Plate on Bradford Street in Gainesville, explains why thank-you notes are a must.

It's more than just a note.

It's an expression of gratitude and a touch of class.

A thank-you note may take only five minutes to write, but the recipient remembers the gesture for much longer.

Camelot queen Jackie Kennedy Onassis supposedly left stationary on her desk before she attended a party, just so she would remember to write a prompt thank-you note to the host when she returned home for the evening.

With graduation and wedding season upon us, brides, grooms and graduates are hosting parties and receiving gifts galore, and Mary Beth Begley, owner of The Crystal Plate gift shop, said thank-you notes are in order.

"It doesn't take 10 minutes to sit down and write a person and say thank you for helping me out," Begley said. "People come in (my store) and struggle to find the perfect gift. They spend a lot of time and thought on a gift, and then turn around and put a lot of money into it.

"Kids really need to thank them for it properly - and they need to write more than a two-line note."

Some local high school seniors said they have been putting pen to paper, even though it takes time.

Jennifer Springston, who will soon graduate from Flowery Branch High School, said she's been writing thank-you note after thank-you note for weeks.

In addition to graduation gifts, she's also received monetary donations to raise money for a 9-month mission trip she's taking this year to South America.

"I've definitely written a lot of thank-you notes," she said. "I was kind of worried about writing my first one because I'd never done it before, but I asked my mom and she just told me to be honest.

"I try to sound like myself and not write the same thing for every card."

According to etiquette expert Emily Post, sincerity and promptness are the key ingredients to a quality thank-you note.

Post advises note-writers to use a natural, conversational tone that reflects your personality. According to her book, "Etiquette," he said a good rule of thumb is to mail it within a week of attending the party or receiving the gift, otherwise it loses its fizz.

A five-sentence or longer thank-you note ranks high with gift-givers, Begley said.

"A thank-you note really requires more of a personal touch to it. There is nothing more special to a person than a handwritten thank-you," she said.

Begley said writing notes says a lot about your character.

"It shows respect for a person who has spent the time and the money to get you a gift," she said.

It's very much a Southern tradition, Begley said.

She estimates that about 50 percent of people still carry on the tradition, and said the other 50 percent should.

Karen Wiggins, owner of Not Just Stationary on Thompson Bridge Road, said thank-you notes are selling like hot cakes this month. The monogrammed single-sheet or fold-over cards are particularly popular, she said.

The one kind of note Wiggins said she doesn't typically carry is the pre-printed, or ready-made, thank-you note.

"We try to steer people away from that because that person might get their feelings hurt if you don't personalize it," Wiggins said. "A handwritten note is much nicer to receive in appreciation for a gift than a ready-made note."

Begley added that it's very important to finish off the note with a neat legible signature, no matter what kind of paper you print it on.

"It used to be you had to have Crane stationary, usually monogrammed, but if all you can muster up is a sheet of computer paper, that's fine," Begley said.

Wiggins said despite the advent of e-mail, thank-you notes are still popular in this city.

"I think the people in Gainesville are very thoughtful," she said. "They send out a lot of gifts and also write a lot of thank-you notes."

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