With a picture of your baby, Little One Prints can personalise your thank you card on the outside. Why not try injecting some of your personality into the inside...
Stuck for words?
It’s easy to play it safe when writing thank you cards, particularly if trying to compose a message in a hurry, or, if it’s been an embarrassingly long time since the gift was received. Everyone has their own fixed formulas, which they fall back on now and again, mostly, when they’ve put themselves under immense pressure to ‘come up with something good to write.’ By good, I mean original, maybe even funny. In most cases the standard message tends to open with thank you, closely followed by a polite comment about the recieved present. And then, particularly if writing to a distant relative, there’s a fair amount of padding out, maybe a brief family-news-related comment or two, a we’ve been up to this or, we’ve been up to that. The message usually closes with a polite hope all is well with you or a hope to see you soon. I’ve definitely written a thank you card or two of a similar ilk, but I’m sure there’s potential to move away from the more formal message writing and write a card that’s not only more original but more personal.
Find something worth saying
In order to make thank you cards seem less mass-produced, place more emphasis on who you are sending the card to. The chances are you’re sending cards to a lot of people though, so realistically you do need to be able to duplicate the message. A way to get around this is to make what you are saying interesting, even better make it relevant...
Tell a short story about baby
You don’t have to be a whizz with words, a poet or a comedian. Just tell a simple a story. There is such a phenomenon as ‘flash fiction’, which is essentially a micro-story, just a very short story. There’s bound to have been a moment within your first few weeks as new parents that is worth sharing! Just keep in mind - write the highlights and cut the waffle. Think of the story as more of an anecdote, a short account of an interesting or humorous incident. It might be an idea to write a quick, rough draft to begin with, give yourself a chance to run the story over in your head, before putting pen to paper on the actual card.
An example of a short story:
When Isaac met Henry...
By Henry, I mean the hoover. Forget musical mobiles, when Jake starts crying, Henry's switched on and (sigh) silence is upon us once more. Only downside is we do have to keep the hoover running for a while, which isn't ideal for the neighbours at 2 in the morning!
Include a quotation or anecdote
There are quite a lot of unconvincing, overused quotes and sayings flying around. For every one of these, I can assure you, there is a gem. The trick is finding these rare beauties, which can take a bit of looking around, but once you have found one that you like, you can include it in every card. Voila. Quotations and anecdotes are a matter of personal taste, here are a couple that I managed to find...
Kindness in words, creates confidence
Kindness in thinking, creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving, creates love.
Mud puddles and Dandelions
When I look at a patch of dandelions, I see a bunch of weeds that are going to take over my yard. My kids see flowers for Mum and blowing white fluff you can wish on.
When I feel the wind on my face, I brace myself against it. I feel it messing up my hair and pulling me back when I walk. My kids close their eyes, spread their arms and fly with it, until they fall to the ground laughing.
When I see a mud puddle, I step around it. I see muddy shoes and dirty carpets. My kids sit in it. They see dams to build, rivers to cross and worms to play with.
There is a lot of decent, contemporary poetry that is accessible to all readers. The key with selecting or writing a poem for a card is, again, to keep it short.
Here's a quick acrostic poem I came up with, thanking friends for their gift to baby Jake:
How are you?
Ahhh – is Isaac,
No sleep – is us,
Kind of chaotic – is life.
Your gift is great, thank you,
Our translation – Isaac’s noise!
Until he can say ‘thank you’ himself.
The wild card
Just one final and rather modern-technology focused idea. You could record a short video message, upload it to YouTube (It’s possible do this for private viewing, so the whole world cannot see it) and finally, write the link address in your card.
Some other useful resources
Visit a card, gift shop or WHSmiths. They often have small books of sayings and quotes.
- Go online, there’s tons of quotes, anecdotes and poems available
- There are specifically labelled collections of ‘short poems.’ Have a look in your local bookshop, library or go online. The poets.org website might be a good place to start.
- Sometimes, just looking at the messages on the front or inside of bought cards can give you ideas or inspiration.
The core message is – allow yourself to be open minded, adventurous and have more trust in your creative instinct. Whether or not you find a message or write one yourself, these suggestions will hopefully result in a card that you’re really pleased with, and one that hasn’t actually taken you any longer to write.
If you’re wary of being more experimental, then you can keep it simple and just write what you feel comfortable with in the main section of the card. But, there is definitely nothing to stop you from including a separate message on the other side of the card, the side that’s usually, rather disappointingly, left blank!
Photo credit - Pen and Print - David Herbers Hammer Photography