Etiquette: Thank You Notes

Thank You Notes -- oh the dreaded task after you've been celebrated.  You're swimming in tissue paper and ribbon, day dreaming of where you'll put all your new goods. And then it hits you -- the list! You know the one.  On the left it says "4 piece place setting" and on the right it says "from aunt suzy."  It's the gift list and you're expected to send thank you notes to each person on it. Well, you best get going girly.  Thank you notes should be sent as soon as possible, though the saying "better late than never" very much applies.

Do I have to?...Yes, you do!  Unless you opened the gift in front of the giver and were able to personally thank them in person. Then you get a pass and a formal thank you note isn't required.  Just make sure you really, truly did thank them and they know you're grateful.  If your response sounded something like, "oh, thanks, um, friend" in front of 20 other friends and you quickly moved on to the next gift, then you should write a note.

When to send...the sooner the better.  Ideally you should write the note on the day you received the gift, but there are a few exceptions to the rule.  If you've just had a baby no one expects a prompt note of gratitude.  Get the notes in the mail within two months.  If you just got married send a note within three months of receiving the gift.  For showers and other parties with a lot of guests, get the notes in the mail within two weeks after the event.

What should I write?  Always mention the gift specifically (the tea set from William-Sonoma).  What you like about it (the color matches my dishes perfectly) and how you plan to use it (I've already invited my neighbors over for afternoon tea). 

Be never know when you'll need to send a thank you note.  Keep a drawer or box filled with stationary and stamps.  I keep fill-in-the-blank cards for notes from my daughter, personalized elegant notecards for my husband, and cute, decorative cards for me.  I find flat cards are the best for quick thank you notes and a hostess essential, but there are great folded cards too.

Stock Up on Inexpensive, Personalized Notecards

Or buy favorites at your local stationer or online retailer, like or