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Making Time for Thank-You Notes

One of the most important things to teach children about the holidays is how to express their thanks for what they have received. Plan to set aside a few hours to have fun and give thanks.

Tips for Timely Thank-You's

Santa shouldn't be the only one making lists. In the excitement of opening presents, cards have a tendency to get lost very quickly. Have a sheet of paper and pen handy to jot down the givers, the gifts, and the receivers. No need to make a production of it, but this list will come in so very handy later on.

Choose a time soon after the holiday for writing the notes and stick to it. You may need to be a bit firm, but a special snack, music, a relaxed atmosphere and your own enthusiasm and patience can go a long way toward making the experience more fun for everyone.

Each note should mention the gift by name, tell how it will be used, and, of course, thank the giver. If you have a digital camera handy, you may wish to enclose a snapshot of your child wearing or playing with her gift.

Writing by hand is the most personal way to give thanks, but it can be tiring for those who are not used to it. You all can take a quick breather from writers' cramp by playing string games with leftover ribbon, listening to a story, or making keepsake ornaments for next year with this year's Christmas cards. Whatever you choose, have the materials nearby and ready to go. Plan on having your break activity last no more than 10 to 15 minutes.

Once you're done, gather the cards together for mailing in a special bag, perhaps one left over from the holiday rush, so the writers can crow over their magnificent achievement.

For kids, teens, and craft-loving adults, try a dose of creativity to take the boredom out of the chore. See our list of books and Web sites below to find fun ways to personalize greeting cards.

In the Library
Any of these books may be reserved by our patrons for pick up at their favorite branches. You may need to simplify some of the designs or be prepared to help younger children.

Glorious Greetings by Kate Twelvetrees.Cover to Glorious Greetings
These cards are as much a gift as a thoughtful greeting. Use collage and embellishments to create a memorable greeting with ribbons, botanicals, rubber stamps, handmade papers, lace, and more.

Handcrafted Cards: From Elegant to Whimsical: 60 Distinctive Designs to Make by Paige Gilchrist.
Make a keepsake card with designs from 22 talented crafters.

Kirigami Greeting Cards and Gift Wrap by Florence Temko.
Kirigami, the Japanese art of paper cut-outs, can be used for pop-up greeting cards, paper dolls, and more. The author uses simple instructions to make the craft fun for all.

Lettering: Make Your Own Cards, Signs, Gifts and More by Amanda Lewis.
An introduction for young people in the art of fine lettering in several different styles.

Make cards! by Kim Solga.
Students can learn how to make cards for many different occasions. Part of the Grolier KidsCrafts series.

Making Greeting Cards With Creative Materials by MaryJo McGraw.
"A wide array of papers from around the world, amazing fabrics, ribbons, mica chips, foils, feathers, yarns, wax, embossing powders, store-bought tags, and many household and hardware store items comprise the list of interesting and unusual materials McGraw adopts for card-making purposes. Readers will also find: * An overview of basic folds and sizes of greeting cards * Information on weights, grains and varieties of paper and suitable adhesives * 8 basic card-making techniques demonstrated with corresponding step-by-step projects * Projects suitable for beginners and experienced crafters alike * Projects that can be completed in under an hour, some in ten minutes * A resource guide full of stores, magazines and web sites to help locate the materials used in the book."

Making Greeting Cards With Rubber Stamps by MaryJo McGraw.
A good choice for the rubber stamp novice. Clear and inspiring advice whether you like your designs simple and cute or breathtakingly artistic.

Messages in the Mailbox: How to Write a Letter by Loreen Leedy.
Children will learn the basics of writing different kinds of letters and what happens to them once they are put in the mailbox.

The Paper Card Book by Lisa Kerr.
"Card-crazy artist Lisa Kerr demonstrates how to make more than fifteen different card designs. Cards made with gift wrap, ticket stubs, and maps; cards that holds photos, mementos, and dried flowers; cards that fold-out, pop-up, and close with a button, are all featured plus many more designs. These cards are easy to make: just follow the step-by-step instructions shown in each chapter, or use the techniques to create designs of your own."

Stamping Made Easy by Nancy Ward.
An insider's guide to the popular craft. Includes a section on tips and tricks to make your projects more beautiful and enjoyable.

On the Web

Holiday Thank You Greeting Cards from 123greetings.com
http://www.123greetings.com/events/holiday_thanx/
Sometimes it's just easier to send an email. These cute cards are perfect for kids to send to computer savvy friends and relatives.

Home and Garden Television: Cards/Stationery
http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/cr_paper_crafts_cards/0,1788,HGTV_3290,00.html
Dozens of creative ideas, including Etched Greeting Cards and cards made with textured wallpaper, painted silk, or shaving cream.

How to Write a Thank-You Note
http://www.themorningnews.org/archives/how_to/how_to_write_a_thankyou_no...
A witty lesson on the basics of a virtuous but quick thank-you-note.

How to Get Your Kids to Write Thank-You Notes
http://www.ehow.com/how_11521_kids-write-thank.html
Tips to make this important lesson go more smoothly for little ones.

Martha Stewart Crafts: Cards, Tags and Invitations
http://www.marthastewart.com/card-making-center?lnc=72dddfc3832ee010VgnV...
Instructions for interesting projects that could work well as thank-you cards: Button Snowman Cards, Snowflake Cards, Sun Print Cards, and others.

Rubber Stamping Resource Page
http://www.bydonovan.com/
Excellent introduction to the world of rubber stamping from an enthusiast. Delightful projects, information on types and sources of paper, definitions, templates, sayings, templates, tricks and tips.