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Thanks are not just for Thanksgiving

Suzanne Pollak

Unless you live under a rock it is most likely that over the weekend someone did something for you that deserves a thank you. Not surprisingly, knowing the Deans as you do, we are passionate about thank you notes. Some of our friends are so good at writing notes, we do favors for them just in anticipation of their delightful missives. Each thank you note should be like a snow flake, individual and unique to the experience, so we have selected a few  that stand out so that they may inspire you. 

As you brave the South Carolina highways, we bathe in the warm glow of Friday night.  For some reason my mind keeps leaping back to that first view of the round table.  All the amazing silver goblets nestled between green fronds, glass upon glass, the promise of magic from your kitchen cauldron.  How do you do it? xx 
Of course, I never feel that I've had enough time with you.  It feels like we are old friends and really need days to catch up.  You are such an extraordinary host, and so graceful in every situation.  Thank you for your lovely lunch. xx

Or you can always fall back on one of the Deans favorites:

Thank you so much!!= I loved it and love you for giving it to me. xx

Below we have included an over the top favorite, from Celeste.  Heer notes are always of the highest caliber and make the Deans smile.  Enjoy!

From the desk of Celeste B.


How many times have we been faced with the task of writing a thank you note for a dinner party? May I suggest hundreds if not thousands in a lifetime of respectable dining? Though it may have been ghastly in every way there must be some salvageable terms to describe one’s, and a companion’s, experience. Here are a few guidelines that have served me well:

Don’t begin with “thank you”. Strain to be a little creative and launch directly into a description of the experience. “Your dinner was a delight...”, “We were so pleased to be included...” or “From the moment we arrived.., etc.” I offer these as exemplars for you to craft a less boring and slightly more personal note.

If the flowers were beautiful say so. Use your excellent powers of recall and of observation to describe the surroundings. No occasion is meat and potatoes only. Your hostess has gone to considerable difficulty to obtain horticultural exotica and other precious out-of- season twiggy bits. Even if she hasn’t, you must always make her feel as if she had considered and weighed every design choice with mighty concentration. If she winds up with limp petunias then remark on how heavenly their colors complemented the table cloth. Find something.

Observation is the key. Pick a conversation you may have had and express it as an anecdote without revealing anything too personal, unless of course it is to your advantage. “The President was telling me...” is permitted on that occasion but try to remain neutral on details so that the tone of your observation is not misunderstood. “Your brother told me that his bail may be revoked,” is a bit too revealing but “Your brother certainly was animated,” is approved. In some cases you may choose a neutral speaker to hide identity altogether: “The conversation was spirited and the anecdote about the judge and the donkey was most amusing.”

When music is provided as accompaniment be sure to ask for the playlist or to complement the performer. It proves you were paying attention after all.

Mention the courses but not in a litany of the menu. Pick a couple of dishes you may even have enjoyed and mention them. Do not ask for the recipe. It just gets awkward after that especially if they come to your house and get a better version of the same dish. Say how marvelous the preparation, sauce, condiments, or something surrounding the dish was. Again be a keen observer but don’t go overboard and praise the ordinary as something it is not: “The parsley was so green.”

Don’t fail to give credit to the setting. She may have brought out her grandmother’s Depression glass service because it is special to her, not that it is retro or à la mode. Distinguish the setting in some way to show appreciation: “So many perfect forks,” “The salt spoons were an inspiration,” or “The table cloth was exquisite” are handy expressions if you mean them.

Be sure to close with the lingering glow which the entire event has forever emblazoned in your memory and you will be assured of sincere and gracious invitations for the rest of your life and maybe make friends in the bargain.