Thank You Note Etiquette

In today’s fast-paced world, the art of the thank you note seems to be frequently overlooked, particularly with younger generations who grew up using mostly electronic communication. For the same reason, taking the time to send an old-fashioned thank you card speaks volumes for your appreciation of both the gift and the person who gave it to you. Here is some etiquette to consider as you begin your post-holiday thank you notes.

The Do’s

Remember that it’s better late than never: while it’s best to send out your thank you note within a couple weeks of receiving the gift, don’t be too embarrassed to send one after that timeframe.

Handwrite your thank you note: while emailing, texting or typing out a thank you is certainly faster and easier, the thought and time that are put into a handwritten card will always be more meaningful and sincere.

Use stationary or cards: there are numerous stores where you can find inexpensive, beautiful stationary and cards for your thank you notes. Or, get creative and make your own using stamps or stencils!

Be specific: try to avoid generalized sentiments such as, “Thank you for the gift.” Instead, specifically mention the item and how you intend to use the gift.

The Don’ts

Don’t exaggerate or lie: remember that sincerity is key. Don’t make sweeping statements like, “This is the best gift I’ve ever gotten!” because they often seem disingenuous and over-the-top.

Don’t be overly formal: the best thank you notes are authentic in both sentiment and tone. Don’t feel like you need to be stiff or overly formal. It’s preferable to show your personality and maintain the same tone you would use in person.

Don’t ramble on: try to keep your note to the point. Focus on the gift and your gratitude for the giver’s time, energy and generosity.

Don’t mention amounts of monetary gifts: while it’s important to specifically acknowledge the gift in your note, avoid stating the amount of monetary gifts. Instead, simply thank them for their generosity and say what you intend to use the money for (also be sure they’ll support your plans for the money).

Thank you cards may seem like a tradition from a bygone era, but the gratitude and sincerity you’ll display to your loved ones by sending handwritten notes simply cannot be duplicated by electronic means. Remember these do’s and don’ts and your thank you card will be a true gift in itself!