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Thank You Cards--How to Write them

Updated on November 18, 2014
Janine Huldie profile image

Janine is a published author in Only Trollops Shave Above the Knees, appears on The Huffington Post and at Confessions of A Mommyaholic.

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A Valuable Lesson--Why are Thank You Notes Important:

"Mommy, what are you doing?," I said (as a small child) "I am writing thank you notes for gifts given to you for your birthday," my mother answered.

My mom taught me many lessons and the dialogue that I just wrote occurred between my mother and I, when I was a little girl. As far back as I can remember, my mother taught me it was polite and courteous by writing a thank you note if someone gave me or did something nice for me.

As a child (once I was old enough to write for myself), I wrote thank you notes for my birthdays, Christmases, events, such as my communion, my confirmation, and even my sweet 16. As an adult, I penned thank you cards for our engagement, my bridal shower, and our wedding. As a mother, I also wrote thank you notes for my baby shower, the births of my kids, their christenings, their 1st birthdays and also now their subsequent birthdays. I even wrote thank you notes to my doctor after helping deliver both of my children safely into this world. Quite simply, thank you notes for me have always just been the polite and considerate thing to do as my mother taught me from the beginning.

So, what actually made me think of this topic? Yesterday, I was writing thank you cards for my daughter's 3rd birthday, which we celebrated earlier in the week to family and friends who were kind enough to come to her party and generous enough to buy her a gift. The thought crossed my mind as I wrote these notes, "How many times in my life have I written a thank you to someone for being so thoughtful to me or my family?". And this is where this article actually began and took on a life of its own.

More times than I can count, i have written thank you notes. If you look at my first paragraph alone, one can clearly see I have written my fair share of thank you notes. Even for the most mundane things i have written or even just said thank you to others. One such example that comes to mind is as follows: Even after writing and publishing an article on Hubpages, when someone comments I feel it is only fitting to write and thank this person for their kindness. Hey it might not be a formal, thank you card, but it is still the act of saying 'thank you' to another who has shown kindness to you.

So when writing an actual thank you card, how does one go about writing them? Here are some pointers for what to do, when composing a thank you note.

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1. Promptness:

Always do try to send your thank you cards out as quickly as possible. My rule of thumb is it should be no more than a month after the event took place. My husband and I went to a few weddings over the course of our time together and we actually have received quite a few thank you cards from these events, but the ones I do remember believe it or not are the ones that took forever to get. Two of the weddings we went to, the thank you cards took almost a year to get in the mail. I will be honest and tell you I think that is not only rude, but there is no reason why a thank you card should take that long to pen and mail out. Seriously, if it is that long, one wonders why even bother. Sorry, but that is just my humble opinion. Therefore, please do try to send out your thank you cards as quickly and as prompt as possible.

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2. Know Your Audience/Who Are You Thanking:

I always try to write who gave what as the package is being opened or very shortly there after. You don't even need a separate piece of paper, you can write it right on the card that was given with the gift. Even if you are too busy, such as a bridal shower, you can always ask for someone's help and designate them to to this for you. This will truly help when you do write the thank you note. And you will see this further when looking at the next point coming up.

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3. Make Specific References to The Actual Gift:

When writing the thank you note, make specific references to the actual gift that the person/s gave, because that puts a personal touch on the thank you. For example, if someone gave you a pink blouse, you can say something like, "Thank you so much for the pink blouse. I love it and how did you know that pink is my favorite color?" This sounds so much better than, "Thanks so much for your gift," because here there is no mention as to what was given. This goes nicely by the way again with point #2 and illustrates why you should write down a list of who gifted what.

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4. What Are the Times to Write Thank You Note:

The following are times, when you should definitely write a thank you. I know I stated some of these earlier, but am putting them here in a more concise format. These times are as follows:

  • Birthdays
  • Religious events (Communion, Bar Mitzvah, etc)
  • Wedding gifts, Bridal or Baby Shower, Birth of a Baby.
  • For sympathy letters, flowers, or mass cards.
  • For gifts that were received by mail and you can't say thank you to their face.

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Summing it all up...

That same conversation that opened up this article with actually occurred yesterday by the way with my 3 year old daughter when I was writing her thank you cards. She was curious as to what I was doing with her birthday cards and why I was writing in a card with her picture on it. Emma said to me, "Mommy what are you doing with my birthday cards and why are you writing in those little cards with my picture on it?" My response was simple and as follows, "Emma, mommy is writing thank you notes in those cards with your picture on it to all your family and friends who were kind enough to either come to your party or send you a present in the mail, because all those people were thoughtful enough to remember you and do something to make you happy." By the way, someday soon when you can write yourself, you will write thank you cards too and teach your little girl or boy someday this same lesson."

And guess what, time does march on, because I was taught this lesson as I told you as a child and now I find myself teaching it to my own child. It is a lesson that transcends time. Quite simply, I want my children to grow up with manners and be courteous and polite to others. Isn't that an important and valuable message to teach our youth? I think so and that is exactly why I am writing this one to not only educate my own children, but to help teach others who may need some help on this topic as well. In the end, what matters most is to remember that a simple "Thank you" goes a long way and will most likely brighten another's day. So why not try it out yourself to brighten that special someone's day today.

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Dedicated to...

This article is dedicated to all the mothers out there, specifically my mother, who taught me from as far back as I can remember the importance of two simple words, "Thank You". Mom, I love you and now it is time for me to say thank you to you for all you have taught me and done for me over the years!!!

The Beatles, "In My Life"--This one is for my mom, because this is truly her favorite group of all time...

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    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Tipsheets, happy to hear you like to send thank you cards too and that you can use some of my tips. Thanks also for the share. So very much appreciated :)

    • tipsheets profile image

      tipsheets 4 years ago from Philippines

      i love to send thank-you cards. And I do try my best to personalize them. Your tips are helpful. I'll share this article.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you as always too Glimmer Twin Fan and happy to hear that your daughter still writes thank you notes, because I truly feel like even though it is a dying art form it is so very necessary and just such a wonderful thing to still do and practice. Thank you too for the votes up :)

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Ish, I just can't thank you enough and I guess it goes along with the theme here, but seriously appreciate you reading, commenting and sharing all over too!! Thank you so very much as always :)

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Don't know how I missed this, but this is a very useful hub! Thank you notes are a dying thing and they are so important. Even though it pains her, my daughter always writes thank you notes for birthday gifts and other special gifts. Nothing fancy, just a quick thanks. voted up!

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      A wonderful hub! Saying 'thank you' is good manners but writing a thank you note is even more thoughtful. Your list of rules are clearly explained. If the whole world followed what your mom had taught you, it would be a much better place! Your photo with your mom is so sweet! Thank you for being you!

      THANKS for SHARING. Useful, Beautiful & Interesting. Voted up & Shared both here & Facebook

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you for checking my thank you card hub article out too and glad we could link our articles together, because great minds truly think alike :) :)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      This is a great hub, Janine-and I love that Beatle song. You've covered all of the important tips. Linking this one to my 'Thank You' letter writing hub.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you so much Michelle and this Hub article is truly 'my mom'!! She taught me so many lessons, but to always be thankful in general was number one. Thanks seriously for all your continued support and just so very appreciate it :)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Janine, this is a beautiful tribute to your mum and so beautifully done! That's what makes one "thank you" more special than another...how it is delivered. Thanks for the wonderful write and share! I share too.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Julie, I love that at least you care enough and do want to write a thank you card. In this day and age nobody seems to care, which is truly so disheartening. Thank you though for reading and hope it has helped you a bit :)

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Janine, useful hub. I am currently looking online for a thank you card to send to my last workmates (I left in July) so this hub is timely for me to be reading. I am hopeless at greetings in cards so I am cheating somewhat and scouring the internet for ideas on what to write in the card :o)

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      2patricias, I love that you thanked the couple from the recent wedding you attended, because I do agree that so much time and prep does indeed go into planning that one special day. Very nice and kind thing you did indeed. My hat's off to you on that!! Thank you for your lovely comment and votes too!!

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 5 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      What a lovely hub (I'm voting it UP).

      I enjoy writing thank you notes, as it is a reminder of how much I have enjoyed a present or a social event. In fact, I have just sent off a thank you note after a wedding. I know this is not the convention, but so much organisation (and money) now goes into planning the perfect event.

      Also I enjoy receiving thank you notes - so thank you for telling people how it is done.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Stephanie, so very nicely put and couldn't agree more about thank you notes. Thank you so very much fro your kind words, votes and share too!!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      A thank you note is a gift in itself. This article is timeless and, with the holiday season coming up, timely! Voted up and shared!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Rema, I loved hearing about your wonderful mother and how she taught you how to say thank you and sorry. Your mom truly sounds alike like my mom too. I get what you mean about being too 'western'. We are Italian and was brought up more Americanized, so sometimes other Italians have been a bit critical of that, so I can relate on that level. Thank you so much for being so kind to me always and for just being you. Very happy to have you as a friend and supporter on here :)

    • remaniki profile image

      Rema T V 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      Hi Janine,

      Although you will not find many people here in our country (now times are changing and people are evolving for the better) saying 'thank you' and 'sorry' very often, my mother despite her rural background taught us, her children, to be courteous and come up with a 'thank you' and 'sorry' spontaneously.

      People have even called us names for being so 'western' if you get what I mean but she never bothered about that. She used to say that we should take the good things from all over the world and put it to practice in our life.

      I am so thankful to my mother for what she has done for us. It feels good to be polite and be thankful for someone's help and gifts etc.

      I am so happy you made this hub. Truly a gem!! God Bless you dear!

      Cheers, Rema.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Mary, very much in agreement that somewhere along the lines people just stopped sending out thank you cards and that is truly sad. You sound like my mom too making us send out notes for those who were nice enough to remember us. And I also agree that e-mail is not the same. Thank you for the comment, the votes and shared too!!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      Somewhere along the line, people stopped sending out thank you's ,and I think that is too bad. I used to make my kids write notes to anyone who was nice enough to remember them with a gift.

      Now, people just use email, and it's not the same.

      I voted this Hub UP, and will share. Mary

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Totally agree with you Michelle that today's kids do need this lesson about when and how to write thank you notes. I can't believe that many don't bother to even say a simple thank you anymore. I can't help it, but it was ingrained in me from a little girl, so I am very much pro thank you cards. That said thank you for your kind words here :)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Today's kids really need this lesson, Janine. Too many of them do not say "thank you" much less write one. This is priceless for them. Even digital cards need a proper thank you. Thanks for the beautiful write and share, Michelle

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Stephanie, I do totally agree that people don not teach this lesson often enough nowadays to their young children. I can't even tell you how many times I have given gifts recently and haven't gotten a thank you note in return. Thank you so much for stopping by, commenting, voting and sharing too!!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      It seems that many people no longer practice the common courtesy of writing a thank you note or of teaching their children to do so. Your article has some great tips for what to include in a thank you note and also how to teach children by example. Nice job! Thank you! :) Voted up and shared.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Oh thank Kathleen for saying I was raised right, my mom would love you for it!! Seriously, thank you for your lovely comment and I do very much agree that a handwritten card does say it best.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you so much Modern LAdy for the comment and for sharing too. I agree that this is not done often enough nowadays and I might be in the minority, but still feel this is not only a nice thing to do, but also so very essential still.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      You were raised right. Email has made saying thank you easier and usually just as acceptable, but a handwritten card just says it best. Absolutely no waiver for wedding gifts though. The only rule left for planning weddings.

    • Modern Lady profile image

      Modern Lady 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      This is wonderful advice for something that is not done enough! Up and sharing!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you Kris for your detailed and lovely comment. It is nice to hear that your parents also were big on thank you notes too. I understand about e-mail and the digital age, I have written a few thank you note this way too, but honestly it just wasn't me so back to the old fashioned tried and true handwritten notes for me,

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 5 years ago from Indiana

      Sending thank-you cards was always a "must" growing up - my parent were great about insisting we do it. Sadly as email became more popular, I got lazy and emailed thank-yous which I think for me was just a cop out and sadly a time saver.

      Sitting down and taking the time to hand write them is so much more meaningful and I know it always makes my day to receive something handwritten in the mail amongst all the bills and junk mail!

      Great hub and I'll be sharing it!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Ann, totally agree about thank you cards being great and that it does show that someone cared enough to take time out of their busy schedule to thank you. It is sad that we had lost this skill in part to our technology with e-mail and such, but for some one like me I don't think I will ever stop writing thank you cards. Thanks for stopping by commenting here!!

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 5 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Thank you cards are great. I love writing them and receiving them. It shows that someone took enough time out of their schedule to give you just a few minutes of their time to show their appreciation.

      This is a great hub and I enjoyed it very much. Personally, I 'd like to see the art of letter writing come back, but that probably won't happen since email is around now.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Nell, your mom sounded a lot like my mom and sure she was a wonderful woman, seeing as she raised you to be such a lovely person. Glad this brought back some good memories and thank you for stopping by twice. also totally appreciate your continued support too!!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, I know I commented on this yesterday! lol! disappeared somewhere! this is such a good idea, I also got told to do this by my mother and she always said, like you mentioned, to make sure you say what you are thanking them for, for example a jumper or toy. I haven't written one in years, but this brought back so many memories, great hub and such a good thing to do, nell

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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Crystal, thank you so much for stopping by and for your comment. As you can see I do totally agree with you on this becoming a lost art form. I am very happy to hear that you too send birthday and thank you cards in the mail just like I do. I keep feeling like I am alone on this one, but nice to know there are others out there like yourself who do the same too.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Good hub. I think the art of writing thank you notes, and even sending greeting cards via old fashioned mail, is being lost and I think that's a travesty. I still send birthday cards and thank you cards, hand written, as I think email is just not as personal and meaningful.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you Carter06 for stopping on by. I do realize that this has become truly a bit of a lost art form, but glad that you too enjoyed this one. Thanks u also for the nice words about me and for the shre and votes too.

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      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      You know I've always been slack with thank you cards and was drawn to your hub because of it...I'm better sending a text or email these days but the valuable lesson in your hub of teaching kid's to be courteous is just so spot on Janine and so worthy of sharing...making personal ones are such fun for kids too...lots of votes for a good mamma:) cheers

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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you Dianna for saying such nice and sweet things about my mom and me too. I truly do credit my mom over and over for who I am today. She is the reason for pretty much who I have become. If it weren't for my mom not only would I not have learned this lesson, but even being able to say I am sorry and admit I am wrong and make mistakes all the time. These are just a few of the lessons she taught me and doesn't even give justice for all of them. Thank you so much for the votes and share too!!!

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      My compliments to your mother, Janine. She did a great job in raising such a caring person. It's so true cards do make a difference to us. Emails are nice, but a hand written card expressing your thanks about the specific gift is priceless. Voted up and beautiful.

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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Lovedoctor, thank you yet again for the the kind comment, the votes and share here. I happen to be a huge believer in this and so glad to know that others like yourself do agree with me on this. Thanks again!!!

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      lovedoctor926 5 years ago

      Hi Janine, I loved this hub. I voted up useful, awesome and interesting. I really like the introduction of this article. You made very good points. Sending out thank you cards is proper etiquette and like you said, it's nicer to add that personal touch to let the other person know that their gift meant a lot to you.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Joseph, I added the The Beatles song, "In My Life" for my mom. Hope you can check it out!!

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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you shiningirisheyes. I have to be honest I probably very anal where this is concerned and that truly is because of how my mom taught me this one and kept on me growing up that I had to always remember to write a thank you note. That said, I am glad she did, because I feel in this day in age this little extra really does go a long way. Thanks as always for stopping by, commenting and for the support!

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      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      This personal touch is dissapearing rapidly with the age of modern technology. I only wish more would get in the habit of writing a letter. I am guilty as well. Although I send cards with letter, I can't remember the last time I wrote someone. Interesting hub.

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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Jagerfoods, glad to be able to keep this slightly lost art form alive and kicking. Seriously, thank you for your comment and for stopping by!

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      jagerfoods 5 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      Hopefully our computer driven society doesn't lose this art form. Thanks for keeping it alive!

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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Joseph, I may very well have to add a song for my mom, probably something by The Beatles (her favorite group of all time). Thank you for that suggestion and will definitely try to do this. Again thank you for your constant support and for all your kindness that I truly do appreciate.

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      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      This was so sweet! Showing a thank you note to your own mom, between the lines. You are so right for being appreciative and thankfull. I would suggest to add a song at the end. maybe for mom, or maybe related to the topic...a kodad moment maybe? This was amazingly done. I can tell you are an adorable daughter and wife to your hubbie. Sharing!

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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you breakfast pop for your comment on this one. I do agree that computers and e-mail have taken over for the good old fashioned handwritten note. That said I do like making the card itself online, but do feel being able to write my own personal handwritten message inside is very important and a must. Thanks again, very much appreciated!!

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      breakfastpop 5 years ago

      Thank you for this most important hub. The personal touch is almost a lost art in this world. Computers have replaced the handwritten note and it is a shame.

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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you Linda and so happy to know I am not alone in still writing thank you notes. You and your daughters sound a lot like my mom and me and this makes me love you even more :). Thanks again for stopping by and again for supporting me on here.

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      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I also still write and send thank you cards. I taught my daughters to do the same. Even if it's a random card just to thank someone for being their awesome self. We still like getting cards even in the Internet age. This is a very valuable and resourceful hub. Good job Janine!!

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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Docmo, thank you do much for your detailed comment on this one. I totally appreciate your kind comments about my mom and me too. I really feel blessed to have my mom, because she really is a wonderful selfless woman who has always been there for my brother and me always. She is truly the reason that I am who I am now. Thank you again for all your support here.

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      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Janine- this is a delightful little reminder to us all. I am like you about sending personalized Thank you cards that include a message about the specific gift or an event.... I think that gesture means a lot. Its lovely to see a pic of you and your mom. she's a wise and beautiful woman just like her daughter. Voted up of course!

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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Terrye, I totally agree about adding the pictures and since I have had my kids I don't think I have sent out a card without some sort of picture of one or both of them on it. Again thank u so much :)

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      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      I think adding personal pics to the cards is a great idea and is really special for the person receiving it. I know I like them better! :) And it's my pleasure. ;)

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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Oh thank you so much Josh. I really do enjoy adding a little piece of myself and my family in my hub articles. I can't help, but feel like I need to personalize it and this to me always seem to do it for me. As for thank you cards, I do hope this helps others when writing them and you included when you may need to. Thanks again for stopping by and all your continued support!

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      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Janine,

      This is an awesome hub! I have not taken up the art of writing thank you cards. It does mean a lot to those you are giving them to. This hub was very informative and I enjoyed all your pictures. And as you all ready know, I love hearing stories about your family. You always try to put something about your personal life into your hubs and that makes them extra special. Thanks for sharing, and maybe I will pick this up someday. :)

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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Terrye, I have to admit I love to make personalized thank you cards on Shutterly with my kids pics on them. It is the little things in life I suppose. I always loved writing thank you cards, but being able to put a picture on them really does personalize it a bit more. That said, I am probably a bit weird, but just me I guess. Thanks for stopping by and of course commenting. I appreciate it and means the world to me.

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      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Card making is something that I have wanted to get into for forever. And I am really bad about being punctual with sending off cards. I have Christmas cards that I meant to send out 3 years ago. I know, I'm hanging my head in shame. :) Excellent hub, Janine! And I will try to do better!

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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Oh Bill, thank you so much for your support. I understand being busy believe me but that you took a few minutes of your precious time to comment here and be so kind truly made my day. Thank you so much fro just being you my dear friend!!

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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Julie, I appreciate your comment here. I have to tell you this is an art form that I have just about perfected. I was kind of amazed and even impressed with myself how I wrote 13 thoughtful thank you cards yesterday in under 45 minutes. I guess practice does make perfect in this case. Seriously, thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't have much time today Janine. I'm way behind writing for customers. However, I wanted you to know that I always support you; you are just a good person who deserves the support, and I'll never be so busy that I can't take five minutes to give you the support you deserve. Good job my friend!

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      Blurter of Indiscretions 5 years ago from Clinton CT

      This was an art form I never quite learned. Chalk it up to my techy generation I suppose, but still no excuse. Excellent hub!