DEAR ABBY: It seems the children I raised and taught to write thank-you notes somehow failed to teach their children the importance of being grateful receivers. My two teenage grandchildren have never thanked me for a birthday or Christmas gift. I gave one of them a set of personalized notepaper, but it didn't spur any action.
Birthdays have come and gone this year, but Christmas is on the way. I'm wondering what I can do to reach these young people in a meaningful manner. I'm older now and don't know how much longer I'll be around to influence them. I recall you had a booklet that addresses writing thank-you notes, among other subjects. Do you still have it available? -- LOVING GRAN IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR LOVING GRAN: Yes, my "How to Write Letters" booklet is still available. And it's because the topic of thank-you notes (or the lack of them) is one of the most common complaints I get from readers. If someone sends a gift or a check and it isn't acknowledged, the message the giver receives is that it wasn't appreciated, which is insulting and hurtful.
One of the main reasons people don't send thank-you notes is they don't know what to say, or they are afraid they will say the wrong thing. They think the note has to be long and flowery when, in fact, short and to the point is more effective.
That's the reason "How to Write Letters" was written. It contains samples of thank-you letters for birthday gifts, shower gifts, wedding gifts, as well as those that arrive around holiday time. It also includes letters of congratulations and ones that are especially difficult to write -- including letters of condolence for the loss of a parent, a spouse or a child. It can be ordered by sending your name, mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to Dear Abby Letters Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.) It can be used to tailor your own messages. With the holiday season approaching and people sending gifts and messages through the end of the year, this is the perfect time to be able to reply with a handwritten letter, note or well-written email.
Because composition of letters and notes is not always effectively taught in the schools, my booklet can provide an easy way for parents to teach their children proper etiquette -- a valuable lesson that will last them a lifetime.