It’s been exactly 21 days since Christmas, and I have yet to receive a verbal, written, or even implied “thank you” from one of my relatives (I can’t risk saying her name), to whom I sent a gift for Christmas. In fact, I am not even sure if it arrived because I haven’t heard a word.
Saying “thank you” for a gift shows that you appreciate it, or at least, you appreciate the person’s effort to give you something they think you will like. It’s also important to show your gratitude when someone does something that helps you in some way. When you do, it makes the other person feel appreciated, and it shows that you are a person worthy of their time, money and/or effort.
Below are some tips on when you really need to send a handwritten thank-you note, or when you (and your children) can get away with simply calling the person or sending them an email or text.
Even though the gift giver attended the shower in your honor and you had a chance to say thanks for her gift, you should still send a written note.
What is NOT okay to do is to send a generic “thank you” for the gift! I received one that was a lovely picture of the bride and groom, but on the back they just printed, “Thank you for the gift.” When people spend a lot of time and money purchasing and sending a gift, the bride and groom need to take the time to hand-write a personal note to each guest acknowledging exactly what they gave them within three months if possible.
See the image below for a great example of a wedding thank-you note.
Congratulatory gifts or cards
Anyone who sends a present, or a card with a personally written message, should receive a note in return. However, you can also take a picture of yourself with the gift and email or text it to the person thanking them more immediately. Something fun that you can do also is videotape yourself opening the gift and then thanking them personally so they can see your excitement during this congratulatory time.
Gifts received during an illness
The important thing is to thank the person for the gift, but because the person is sick, they may choose to send a text or email or even call the person if they would rather do that instead of writing a note.
Condolence notes or gifts
Everyone who has sent a personal note, flowers, or a donation should get a written thank-you. A close friend or relative can write the notes on the recipient’s behalf.
A Favor or nice deed
When someone at work, or a friend/family member/neighbor, does something nice for you it’s great to show them that you really appreciate it. If you feel that a quick response would be best, then go ahead and send them a text, email or quick call. However, if you really want to show your sincere gratitude, send them a handwritten thank-you note. Going through the effort of writing something, putting a stamp on the envelop, and walking it all the way out to the mailbox, really shows that extra effort and appreciation.
Teaching Kids to Say “Thanks”
It’s essential to teach children to show gratitude to people when they do something for them. So, even if it’s like pulling teach, take the time to have your children write thank-you notes for gifts they receive. At what age should they start? As soon as your child can write his/her name, have them at least do that on the note. As they get older have them progress from notes that are “fill in the blank” to ones that they personally write.
Kids should send a thank you note for any gift they receive. It is especially important to write one immediately if the gift was sent by mail to let the person know it was received and appreciated. In addition to the note, people (grandparents especially) like to see children with their gift so you can take a picture of the child with the gift and text/email that to the person, or even videotape the child opening up the gift and sending that. However, it’s still a nice idea for the child to write a note and send that as well.
Format and style matter. This is a great time to teach your kids how to address an envelope and properly write a letter. Encourage them to write neatly and to ask you if they don’t know how to spell something. If your child is under the age of 6 and cannot write the whole note herself, you can buy the thank you cards where the child just needs to fill in the blanks. Below is an example of a nice thank you note that would be appropriate from an eight year old.
January 15, 2018
I am so glad that you were able to come to my birthday party. It was really great playing games with you and having dinner together.
Thank you so much for the new Star Wars Lego set! I have already started to build it and am having so much fun. I’ll send you a picture of it when it’s all put together.
I love you,
Have cards and stamps ready! I have bought each of my children their own stationary (cheap at Target) and a book of stamps. So, when they need to write a thank you note there are no excuses like, “What do I use?”
For more information on children’s etiquette and cotillion classes, tips, and videos on manners please go to http://finesseworldwide.com/. Have an etiquette question? Please email me at [email protected] and I’ll be happy to answer your question or even feature it in my next blog.