Jane Winkworth

With not so much as a Thank You! January 09th 2012

I am old fashioned in my belief that if someone has the kindness of heart and generosity of spirit ( and wallet) to give me a gift, then it should be rewarded with a handwritten note of thanks. I like writing notes - I love my Smythson pink embossed cream correspondence card, with pink tissue lined matching envelopes. I love my Smythson personal little contact detail cards that accompany these….. in a nutshell….. I am a snob when it comes to stationery.

For me, a correspondence card should have only one’s name clearly embossed at the top in centre position. I would assume the recipient of my card to know where I live and my telephone number.
However, should this not be the case, I have a small matching card with relevant contact details - my London address only, never the country and just my main numbers and email address.
I have tried other printing companies and have certainly paid far less for cards over the years than the prices that Smythsons charge - but they are far and away the best in both card and print quality.

And so it is with quiet delight that I embark on my after Christmas “thank you fest”.....“Thank you so much for the completely unsuitable teapot (of which I have many), that you so kindly and generously sent me - despite the small chipped lid…. it will always be a much treasured item in my china cupboard ” etc etc etc. It is boring and it is certainly repetitive, but it is essential in gratitude and good manners to thank for a gift….which brings me, swiftly to my Number One New Year’s Resolution for 2012.

In future, if I give a gift and do not receive some small token of thanks (even an email would suffice), then I am no longer giving to that person again .....end of ! Armies of grandchildren, Godchildren, nieces, nephews, friends, relations, employees, staff etc. are the recipients of my kindness and generosity. Not to mention the time I spend in wrapping every gift, always using gorgeous Caroline Gardner wrapping paper and reams of 2inch wide matching satin Berrisford ribbon - presents are always exactly what I have been asked to give. Often hugely expensive….global gifting is sent way ahead of time to beat the postal problems and the other more local gifts are delivered either by me, my driver or by post…. always days in advance to insure safe delivery and in plenty of time!

I am happy to do all this - actually I love it. I have a generous nature, I love giving - I love the feeling of making someone happy and it is my greatest pleasure to see the faces of my grandchildren when they open their gifts. I send large cheques too - I support several charities and various good causes - I never forget my hairdressers or my manicurist - my doctor, my dentist, my gardener, my two housekeepers, my staff in Portugal - everyone including most of my closest girlfriends always receive a gift from me at Christmas…... But how many people actually bother to thank me - very few.

All the charities and causes write immediately, my granddaughter and her mother are also exceptional in their thank you letters. My superb PA Lucy Whitby and her children take poll position as the best thank you letter writers ( also the most genuine) and the children I help through my Starlight work are also very prolific writers of thanks. Sadly though, those closest to me often fail to bother with even a text - most of my London staff at French Sole thank instantly, usually with sweet little printed Thankyou cards - my Portuguese staff always respond on Christmas Day with messages of thanks - always texts. Friends usually text or email.

So what about next year ? I must be strong and stick by my resolution and must not waiver. When next Christmas approaches, I will look through my list of no-shows on the thank you front and they will be cruelly culled (although, I am tempted to buy for all those people a small box of printed thank you cards with matching envelopes as their Christmas gift from me !). I anticipate a far less expensive Christmas this year, with at least 50% of the people on my gift list being removed - yippee !



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Charities Jane supports:

The Royal ballet school English National Ballet Starlight ACCA The Royal Marsden Havens Hospice