Thank You Note Etiquette–Do You Know What’s Acceptable?
In a world where technology rules and handwritten notes are practically extinct, there is one handwritten note that will never go out of style or become obsolete–the handwritten thank you note. There is absolutely no acceptable replacement to writing a thank you note to show your appreciation for a gift you received or a kind gesture someone extended to you in a time of need. A phone call is nice but just isn’t enough, an email is lazy, and a text message is simply offensive. If you were recently married or hosted a party in which you received gifts, you better settle in and start writing those thank you notes, but before you do, here are some thank you note etiquette tips to keep in mind.
When to Send a Thank You Note:
- Wedding gifts
- Birthday gifts
- Shower gifts
- Bar/Bat mitzvah gifts
- Graduation gifts
- First communion/Confirmation gifts (yes, even kids must write thank you notes)
- Housewarming gifts
- Baby gifts
- When someone sends you a sympathy letter, mass card, or a donation in the deceased’s name
A Nice Gesture
Thank-you notes are not absolutely necessary, but are a nice gesture in the following situations:
- After a job interview
- When a host has treated you to a dinner or cocktail party
- Anytime you feel indebted to someone who went out of their way for you
What to Write
Thank you note etiquette dictates that should you include these components in your thank you note:
- Address the gift giver with “Dear” rather than just starting the first sentence.
- Express your gratitude by specifically describing the gift. Instead of “thank you for the picture frame,” you could write, “Thank you very much for the beautifully hand-crafted silver picture frame that will match our master bedroom decor perfectly.” This shows you truly remember the gift and appreciate its value.
- Discuss briefly how the gift will be used. For example, “The photo album you gave us will be the perfect place to keep all our honeymoon pictures…”
- If you were given money, do not say “Thank you for the cash.” Instead, say something like, “Thank you very much for your generosity. It will really come in handy when we build the nursery.”
- Go the extra mile by including something personal that shows your relationship to the gift giver. For example, “It was so nice seeing you at the wedding, and we’re looking forward to seeing you and the kids again at the family reunion this fall.”
- End by reiterating your gratitude with a simple, “Thank you again for your kindness.”
- Sign it with “Sincerely” or something similar.
Thank you notes need not be lengthy. You can write a gracious thank you note in just a few sentences.
A common question is how soon must we send a thank you note? The answer is that you must send the thank you note within a week of receiving the gift (or attending the event).
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