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Holidays prime time for thank-you notes

DEAR ABBY: You often respond to grandparents who are disappointed that their grandchildren have not written a note to express gratitude for a recent present. Personally, I think one of the main reasons they don’t is the simple fact that they lack thank-you cards and stamps. (Their parents may not be writing thank-you notes anymore.) When I’m at the post office, I rarely see 20-year-olds buying stamps.

I would like to offer a suggestion for my peers: If you want your grandchildren to send you a thank-you card, make it simple for them – include a small box of cards and some postage stamps when you send their present. They’ll get the message. And Abby, they could add a copy of your letter writing booklet if it’s still available. – Thankful in Texas

DEAR THANKFUL: Your suggestion is a clever one, and yes, my booklet, “How To Write Letters for All Occasions” is still available. People of every age tend to procrastinate when it comes to letter writing because they’re unsure how to express their feelings on paper and afraid they will say the wrong thing.

Thank-you notes do not have to be long or flowery. In fact, the opposite is true. Short and to the point is more effective. I advise readers to have a notebook handy when they open their gifts and jot down the first words that come to mind when they see what’s inside. Do they like the color? The style? Is it something they have been wanting? Write it down and use it for inspiration.

My booklet, “How to write Letters for All Occasions” contains samples of thank-you letters for birthday gifts, shower gifts, wedding gifts and those that arrive around holiday time. It also includes sample letters of congratulations, as well as ones on difficult subjects, such as the loss of a parent, spouse or a child. It can be ordered by sending your name and address, plus a check or money order for $8 to: Dear Abby Letters Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

With the holidays just around the corner, this is the perfect time to reply with a handwritten note or letter, or a well-written email. For anyone who has wondered where to begin when expressing gratitude, congratulations, condolences, composing a love letter or announcing a broken engagement or a divorce – “How To Write Letters” is a handy guide.

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 25-year-old man who has never had a girlfriend. Recently, a woman I work with seems to be showing an interest in me. She’s the same age as I am. I might feel the same way about her, but she mentioned that she’s going through a divorce. Is it worth asking for her number to see where things go? – Hoping in the Heartland

DEAR HOPING: Proceed with caution. You can ask for her number, but take things very slowly. She may need a friend right now more than a romance. Also, much depends upon the fraternization policies in your workplace. Sometimes these relationships are frowned upon, which could cost one or both of you your jobs.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.