DEAR ABBY: You often respond to grandparents who are disappointed that their grandchildren have not written a note to express gratitude for a recent present. Personally, I think one of the main reasons they don't is the simple fact that they lack thank-you cards and stamps. (Their parents may not be writing thank-you notes anymore.) When I'm at the post office, I rarely see 20-year-olds buying stamps.
I would like to offer a suggestion for my peers: If you want your grandchildren to send you a thank-you card, make it simple for them -- include a small box of cards and some postage stamps when you send their present. They'll get the message. And Abby, they could add a copy of your letter writing booklet if it's still available. -- THANKFUL IN TEXAS
DEAR THANKFUL: Your suggestion is a clever one, and yes, my booklet, "How To Write Letters for All Occasions" is still available. People of every age tend to procrastinate when it comes to letter writing because they're unsure how to express their feelings on paper and afraid they will say the wrong thing.
Thank-you notes do not have to be long or flowery. In fact, the opposite is true. Short and to the point is more effective. I advise readers to have a notebook handy when they open their gifts and jot down the first words that come to mind when they see what's inside. Do they like the color? The style? Is it something they have been wanting? Write it down and use it for inspiration.
My booklet, "How to write Letters for All Occasions" contains samples of thank-you letters for birthday gifts, shower gifts, wedding gifts and those that arrive around holiday time. It also includes sample letters of congratulations, as well as ones on difficult subjects, such as the loss of a parent, 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 holidays just around the corner, this is the perfect time to reply with a handwritten note or letter, or a well-written email. For anyone who has wondered where to begin when expressing gratitude, congratulations, condolences, composing a love letter or announcing a broken engagement or a divorce -- "How To Write Letters" is a handy guide.