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Dear Abby | Well-written thank-yous don’t have to be long compositions

Dear Abby: You have mentioned in the past that you have a booklet on writing letters, including thank-you notes. Where do I send for it? I’ll need four because my grandkids are lacking in that area.

It’s truly a shame that younger generations haven’t been taught about the importance of such notes. A simple “thank you” can not only open doors of opportunity both socially and in employment, but also help grandparents feel appreciated after their heartfelt gift-giving. – Nancy In Nevada

Dear Nancy: If there is one subject that crops up repeatedly in my mail, it’s thank-you notes – or rather, the lack of them. I print letters about it because of the number of complaints I receive. When a gift or a check isn’t acknowledged, the (unwritten) message it sends is that the item wasn’t appreciated, which is insulting and hurtful.

Chief among the reasons that thank-you notes are unwritten is that many people don’t know what to say. They think the message has to be long and flowery when, in fact, keeping it short and to the point is more effective. My booklet, “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” contains samples of thank-you letters for birthday gifts, shower gifts and wedding gifts, as well as those 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, 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.) With the holiday season approaching, this is the perfect time to reply with a handwritten letter, note or well-written email.

Because the composition of letters is not always effectively taught in the schools, my booklet can serve as a helpful tutorial, one that is valuable for parents as a way to teach their children to write using proper etiquette.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.