I have found that there is never a shortage of questions when it comes to the dreaded “Thank You Note”. I have compiled a few questions that we have received lately and a few tips to make the task a bit easier.
Your Thank You Note Etiquette Questions Answered:
1. In your opinion, is the traditional thank you note outdated?
When asked this question I like to ask in return, “Is gift giving outdated?” – the answer is no, a thank you note is alive and well and as long as the gifts keep coming, the receiver should send a thoughtful and timely thank you note.
2. How do I know when I need to write a thank you note?
If you are ever in the position to wonder if you need to write a thank you note, the answer is most likely a resounding yes! A good rule of thumb is when you receive a gift or someone extends a gesture that is above-and-beyond the call of duty, a thank you for their thoughtfulness is always an appropriate effort.
3. Is it true that if you are “looking them in the eye when you say thank you”, you do not have to send a thank you?
Generally speaking, if you live in the same house or share the same bathroom, you are likely immediate family so a verbal thank you is all that is warranted. However, it all depends on the gift, gesture, and effort. Even your mother or husband would appreciate an unexpected and heartfelt thank you note for their gesture of kindness.
4. What about the pre-printed “Thank You” notes?
I encourage you to skip them and opt for some pretty, tasteful fold over cards that will work for all occasions. Sit down with your favorite writing pen, a hot cup of tea and proceed to write your brief but meaningful message inside.
5. How long do I have before a thank you note is no longer appropriate?
It’s always best to send out a thank you note within the first 48 hours but a tardy thank you note is better than no thank you note at all. Even if it is a year later, believe me, the giver still remembers and will be relieved to know you used the gift or appreciated the money.
6. I attended my friend’s house warming party and bought her a $100 gift certificate. A few weeks went by and I didn’t receive a thank you card; I asked a few of our friends and they said that she sent out a mass “thank you” e-mail; I must have missed it. I live in Washington DC and everything here is so technical and go, go, go; but am I wrong to think that you should send a thank you card when given a gift?
A mass thank you e-mail does not cut the mustard! DC, New York or Chattanooga Tennessee, “Go, go, go” is no excuse for “Rude, rude, rude!” An individually handwritten thank you note was required from your friend.
A Few More Thank You Note Tips:
- Handwritten is best but e-mail or chicken scratch is better than nothing
- Always check the spelling of the person’s name – my personal pet peeve!
- Black or blue/black ink is always best for legibility but don’t pass up colored ink for festive stationery and cards
- Thank the giver and specifically mention the gift by name unless you are given money, using the word “generous gift” instead
- Mention something positive about the gift and state how you plan to use it (or how their gesture benefited you)
- Indicate that you plan to stay in touch by saying something like “I look forward to seeing you soon”
- Add one more “thank you”, “Thank you again for your thoughtfulness”
- Close with “Sincerely”, “Love”, “Best”, or “Fondly”, using “Love” for close friends and family, never your boss or client!
For more Thank You Note tips, check out Thank You Note Etiquette on SA Living (@SALiving) with host Shelly Miles (@ShellyMiles).