Each time I entertain, do I anxiously await a thank you note from my guests? No.

When I receive a “thank you” in the mail, or even a phone call or an email the next day, it always comes as a surprise, because I’m not expecting it. I savor the words and it’s so nice to read or hear these words because it brings back great memories of a fantastic time shared with friends.

While growing up, my mother read Good Housekeeping* regularly. I remember as a child thumbing through the magazine and reading Emily Post’s column. So now I ask myself, “What would Emily say?”

I looked up the etiquette for sending a “thank you note” after a dinner party. Peggy Post (Emily’s daughter) says:

Neither a gift sent later nor a note is necessary for a dinner-party invitation; your verbal thanks when you leave is enough. A phone call the next day – or even a note – to say how much you enjoyed the evening is always welcome.

I have several stacks of notes that I have saved. A few years ago I purchased a ring to hole punch each one and keep as a reminder of the importance of entertaining. It’s wonderful to read back through what people write, how they were touched, and what specifically meant a lot to them. Some day one of these friends will be gone, and it’s my little way of having a personal keepsake from that person.

A reader wrote me this week about kids and thank you notes:

How do you handle thank-you notes? That is my biggest challenge with kids!

My daughter recently had 14 girls over for her birthday. What I have done in the past is taken a group picture at each party. As soon as I download the pictures on to my computer I pick the best group picture and copy it right away on colored paper, 14 times! Then Abby will write her own personal note, sign and send (or hand deliver to save a stamp).

Boys are a little harder. I stock up on Dollar Store thank you notes and sometimes it takes a little extra nudging for them to complete the task – but it gets done!

My friend Hoppi is going to help me teach my Balcony Girls about letter/note writing. She is so gifted with words and even though most of my girls have already learned this ‘art’ from their mothers, it never hurts to have some fun with it on a wintry, cold Balcony Girls day! With email, cell phones and just the hurriedness that we all feel in daily living, I believe that thank you notes are an essential touch to gratitude.

Do I expect them? No. But I sure love it when I get one.

* Speaking of Good Housekeeping, check out the article on pg. 243 in October’s edition by blogger, Shannon, from Rocks In My Dryer.

(Top photo: I couldn’t help but post another beautiful picture from a few weeks ago – Golden Delicious apples cooking down before the applesauce process! Bottom photo: a few of my keepsake thank you notes)

If you get a minute, tune in to Family Life Radio tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 12) and you’ll hear Paul talking about his new release, No More Jellyfish, Chickens, or Wimps! It’s a great interview with Dennis Rainey!

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