I feel kindof like the mean mom- trying to force my kids to write half a dozen thank you notes. But I am going to keep doing it until they don't live here any more. I think it's still important. I hope somewhere along the line they will feel the same way.
In the past I've written them out for the little ones and then had them scribble or sign their name. I still think this is a really great approach. For Indie, I let her "color" on the pages.
This year, Bear was old enough to write some key words but it's still a work in progress. It can take a while and he can get easily frustrated. Here is how I made it a little more accessible:
write out the words on a separate paper so they can copy and don't have to worry so so much about spelling.
use stamps (i.e. "thank you")
use stickers for some extra fun
do them slowly. I put it all on a tray and let him work on them throughout the week.
I also let him lick the envelopes, put on the stamps and the return address label. In the end he was actually really excited to write them out. We even had to write a separate card for Santa. We still have a few to go, but I know he'll be able to finish them soon.