A Guide to Thank You Notes

thank you dog Ahh, the after glow of Christmas is upon us. All the craziness of the past few months is finally over. No more gifts to buy or trees to decorate or turkeys to cook. But there is one last thing you need to do (not including packing up all the Christmas decorations). That is writing a thank you note for all the nice gifts you received.

Thank you notes are a dying trend. I remember as a child, I would barely have the wrapping paper off the present before my mother would have a thank you card and a pen in my hand. It was unthinkable in the 60′s and 70′s when I grew up not to write a thank you note.

Somewhere over the last few decades, things have gotten murky as to when and if you should send a thank you note. And how about a thank you email or phone call? Or a thank you text? Do those count?

Ideally, a thank you note sent through the postal mail is the proper thing to do. Specially if the recipient of the thank you is an older person, someone who is somewhat formal in their ways or in a business situation. Also for wedding gifts, and baby shower gifts, it is still the proper thing to do.

If your best pal sent you a gift, you can get away with sending a thank you email or even a text message. Also most of the kids in the younger generation are fine with a text thank you. Still though, wouldn’t a real thank you card sent in the mail be a nice surprise? We all so seldom get “real” mail anymore.

So what should you write in your thank you note? Well first, if you are going to send a card, make sure you hand write the message.

Send it as soon as possible after you receive the gift while everything is still fresh in your mind.

Technically you have up to a year after a wedding to send a thank you card for the gift but I know the few times I received a card almost a year after I sent the gift, it felt almost like an insult.

Thank you notes give people the opportunity to sit down and write out thoughts on paper to guests and when hand writing letters, people typically are able to express feelings that cannot be conveyed simply by a verbal thank you or a phone call.

Thank you notes don’t have to be long. Just thank the person for their gift and maybe tell them how you plan to use it or used it.

What if you don’t like the gift? Or worse yet (this happened to me) can’t remember what they gave you (another reason for writing the card quickly)? Just thank them for their thoughtfulness and tell them how much you appreciate them and the gift.

The important thing is that you acknowledged the gift and the giver and took the time out of your day to send a personal thank you. That means a lot in today’s world.

Oh, and one last tip for anyone looking for a job. After an interview, send a thank you card to the person who interviewed you. It will do wonders for your image and make a great impression.

Cathy