Thank You Etiquette

Etiquette requires sending a thank you card after receiving a gift. Phoning, thanking the gift giver in person, or even e-mailing your thanks is usually not the proper way to thank someone. Three important aspects of a thank you card:

First, write your thank you promptly after a gift or service has been received. The cards should be mailed within a few days of receiving the gift.

Second, the message should reflect your sincere gratefulness. Try to thank the person in the same tone you would use if you were talking to them face-to-face.

And third, personally write your message of thanks to give them a personal touch. A handwritten mesage is also like a gift in itself.

Preprinted thank you cards let guests know the gift has been received. However, you should follow-up with a handwritten, personal message. The outline of a typical thank-you note is as follows:

Salutation: “Dear Mrs. Smith”, “Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith”, “Dear Uncle Dan” and “Dear Sue” are all ways of starting the note.

The first sentence begins with yourself (and/or spouse or baby): “I would like to thank you” or “Dan and I would like to thank you” to let the recipient know who is thanking them.

Mention the gift: Be as specific about it as possible. Tell the person how nice it is and why. A few descriptive words you can use when they fit the situation are: appropriate, beautiful, charming, elegant, generous, lovely, perfect, special, unique and useful.

Tell them how you plan to use the gift: In the case of money gifts, you should not mention that it is a check, cash or even the exact amount of the gift. An example would be, “Your generous gift is highly appreciated. We have it earmarked for our house fund.”

Thank the person again: Maybe include a personal thought about your relationship with the giver or a special memory of the event.

Close the note: Give a heartfelt closing with something like “Fondly,” “Best regards,” “Sincerely,” “Love” or “Cordially” and sign your name.

What not to write in a thank you card

Writing thank you notes can be fun, but you need to be careful not to step on any toes in the process. Do not mention you are going to return a gift for any reason. Also, you should not say that you received the same gift from someone else.

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