DEAR ABBY: Would you please address again the importance of expressing gratitude via a handwritten note when a generous gift has been given? We grandparents would love it to be acknowledged by our grandchildren. Some of them are better than others at this. My take is that their parents, although they were taught properly, didn't take the time to emphasize the importance of expressing gratitude.
I don't accept the notion that "people just don't do that anymore." When I give a generous gift to a newlywed couple or a grandchild, the money came out of my bank account. I want to know my gift was received and appreciated. I have almost reached the point where, in the future, I will respond "not able to attend" and send nothing when I know the odds of it being acknowledged are practically nil and the couple is, for instance, a distant relative. Abby, is that letter-writing publication of yours still available? It's obviously still needed. -- DISGUSTED IN ALBUQUERQUE
DEAR DISGUSTED: Yes, my Letters booklet is still available. The issues you raise are ones I hear about often from readers. However, you may be judging these folks a bit harshly. Many people put off writing letters because they don't know how to express their feelings via the written word and fear they will say the wrong thing. They think a thank-you note must be long and flowery when, in fact, short and to the point is more effective.
That is the reason why "How To Write Letters for All Occasions" was written. It contains samples of thank-you letters for birthday gifts, shower gifts and wedding gifts, as well as the ones that arrive around holiday time. It also includes letters of congratulations and ones regarding difficult subjects, such as the loss of a parent, a spouse or a child. It can be ordered by sending your name and address, plus a check or money order for $8 (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. With the holiday season fast approaching, this is the perfect time to reply with a handwritten letter, note or well-written email.
Because letter composition is not always effectively taught in the schools, my booklet can serve as a helpful tutorial -- not only a valuable tool for parents to use in teaching their children to write using proper etiquette, but also a handy guide for anyone who puts off writing because they don't know what to say.