We’ll be the first to admit it—when we are having an etiquette conundrum, one of the first things that we do is ask ourselves what would Jackie O do? From planning state dinner with panache, to always (and we mean always) looking pitch perfect, Jackie has come to symbolize the utmost in style.
How many people out there are renowned for writing the perfect thank you notes, for instance? Not many, but Jackie, naturally, is one of them. Her correspondence notably inspired French President Charles DeGaulle, moved Pakistan’s President Ayub Khan, and comforted Kathleen Graham after the suicide of her husband.
What made her thank you notes so special? She never started her notes with a thank you. First she would talk about the event or the gift and what was special about it for a few sentences before even saying thank you.
Another thing that made Jackie such a great thank you note writer? She sent thank you notes to practically everyone. When President Kennedy was killed a legion of mourners sent flowers and letters to the First Lady expressing their condolences. In return, many got back a small thank you card with Jackie’s signature at the bottom. She was also famous for writing thank you notes to people that had helped her, including the staff at Bergdorf Goodman, to express her appreciation.
There’s a lot to take away from Jackie’s letter writing. First, and foremost, in the age of email and texting, a handwritten letter still goes a long way. And when you are actually writing your thank you note, take a moment to write something personal. You might just be surprised how much the gesture is appreciated.
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