YOU ARE NEVER too young to learn good manners. Many of you have been celebrating holidays with your families, and all of them, from Christmas to Kwanzaa to Hanukkah, celebrate with an exchange of gifts. Now would be a great time to think about ways to say "thank you" to all those people who think you are special enough to deserve a present.

Probably the biggest reason people don't like to send thank-you notes is that it can be difficult to put feelings into words. There are a few rules to follow, such as making sure you mention the gift in the note. Writing "thank you for the Christmas present" just won't do.

Stumped and can't think of what to say? Here is a list of questions you might ask yourself before you begin:

What do I like most about the gift? Perhaps the color is your favorite thing about it. Say so in your note.

Can you use the gift right away, or will you have to wait a while to use it? "I can't wait for warm weather to use my new in-line skates" is an example.

Tell the sender how you will use the gift - especially important for money gifts.

A homemade thank-you card with a handwritten note is the best way to express your appreciation for a thoughtful gift. Gather a few simple supplies and spend an afternoon making cards of your own.

Supplies you will need

* A holiday-theme rubber stamp, stickers or other forms to trace shapes

* A "thank you" rubber stamp or individual alphabet stickers

* Construction paper

* Blank white note cards

* Glue

* Yarn

* Foam dots

* Three-dimensional paint

How to make it

Stamp or stick on the words "Thank You" on each note-card front. Decorate around the words with stickers, stars or shapes cut from construction paper. Make them stand out from the paper by gluing foam dots under one or more of the shapes on each note card.

Add interest by using yarn, as I did with these mittens, or three-dimensional paint, as I did for the exclamation point and star centers.

Remember to write your thank-you notes as soon as possible. No more than a week should lapse between the time the gift arrives and a note is sent.