Red Letter Days: Teaching Kids to Say Thank You

Christy Anderson is the founder of Red Letter Days, a local party invitation company that focuses on teaching kids proper behavior and manners. She shares a few things to keep in mind, as you help your child write the perfect thank you note.


The holidays are a great time to teach kids about gratitude. While kids are enjoying gifts, take a few minutes to recognize the giver. In conversation, ask who gave them the gift—this brings some attention back to the person, not just the toy.

The season of giving goes two ways. It’s a great feeling to give gifts. Hearing “thank you” increases that feeling of good will. It’s also a great feeling to give thanks. Saying “thank you” gives you a greater appreciation for both the present and the person who gave it. Kids who make an effort to say thanks for a gift are more likely to remember who gave them that item and think of that person when they use that gift.

It’s always the right time to say “thanks.” If someone gives you a gift in person, it’s okay to thank them verbally at that time. Write a thank you note if you didn’t receive the gift face to face, if it was sent from a loved one who lives far away, or if it’s something especially thoughtful (even if you’ve already said thanks in person). People want to know you received a gift—they love to know that you’re enjoying it. It’s best to send thank you notes within a week, but it’s never too late. When you’re enjoying a gift later in the year, the person who sent it would love to know (Santa loves to get thank you notes, too!).

The perfect thank you note has 3 simple elements:

Dear name:

1) Thank that person for the gift (and say what it is)

2) Say something specific you like about it

3) Make a comment that refers to the giver

For example:

Dear Santa, Thank you for the beautiful ballet doll! Her clothes are so sparkly.
I will think of the snow at the North Pole when I play with her.

Love, Kate

Writing thank you notes can really be fun! Remember to keep it simple—a short note with the 3 essential elements is just fine. Make it personal by adding a photo of the child with his or her gift. Finally, be sure to involve the kids. Thank you notes can be a fun, easy craft project.

At, you can find simple blank thank you cards as well as creative photo cards and projects like “Build Your Own Snowman” cards.

Gratitude is the best habit you can give a child for the New Year. Saying thank you is a sign of civility and courtesy that tells a lot about a person’s character. It’s a simple skill children (and adults) can use throughout their lives.


Get these and other tips in the Good Manners Guide, available at


Red Letter Days is a specialty party invitation company—although the concept of invitations alone belies the purpose and focus of our company mission: to teach proper behavior and good manners that make the people around you simply feel good.

Our goal as a company is to deliver through our products the classic fun that belongs with a traditional child’s birthday party, elevate it to engage a child’s imagination, and most importantly, instill the child with a positive sense of etiquette.

Beyond just birthday parties, Red Letter Days helps create celebrations that make hosts burst their buttons and guests chatter on and on about “that incredible party.” Through atypical details, ultimate personalization and an underscoring of etiquette, we make the events more creative, make the guests feel more welcome, and make the host the focal point of the delight that comes from properly done party fun.

Red Letter Days is owned by Christy Anderson, a marketing professional who believes that nothing makes a day better than polite people and a slice of birthday cake. Ms. Anderson has been hosting over-the-top celebrations for her two sons and giddy neighborhood kids for more than 10 years. She has since channeled this passion for zany-yet-politeness-packed celebrations into Red Letter Days which launched in 2007.

Red Letter Days (found at sells uniquely themed thank you notes and celebration invitations. Cards are sold individually as pre-designed sheets with all the materials to “make it yourself.” For party hosts, full “Eti-Kits” include matching party invitations, name or goody bag tags, and (of course) thank you cards with room for a photo. Also included, the Good Manners Guide shares simple, unfussy tips that help prepare for a party, ensure guests have a good time, and make every person glad for coming by receiving a word of thanks.

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