After a Bar Mitzvah come the onerous and inevitable tasks, eating leftovers and writing thank-you notes. In 1971, I did the latter in the traditional way, in my own dear hand, using my best penmanship, without spelling or punctuation errors, and submitted them for parental approval.
Modern times call for modern measures. I have given Hart and Jeff a shortcut. Using their choice of computer-imprintable stationery, they dictate and I type. This way we can promptly thank the gift-givers without tears or bloodshed.
There are a few guidelines. Each gift must be acknowledged with appropriate gratitude and a mention of plans for the gift. Those who came to the event are thanked for their attendance. Those who could not attend are told they were missed. Beyond that, I do not edit or censor.
It may be unorthodox to inquire about the weather or request a play date in a thank-you note, but surely a "friendly letter" is meant to be friendly. I can only hope that Jeff’s great-aunt was tickled to read, "I really like your furry coat, because I love soft things." That's better than a scripted sentiment any day.