Writing a thank you notes seems like it would be such a simple thing. A thank you shows appreciation for some kind of gift or action. Having to write a thank you can cause people unnecessary stress as they think that the wording of the thank you needs to be absolutely perfect and looking beautiful before being signed, sealed and delivered (in the words of Stevie Wonder). In this post we will cover the anatomy of the thank you and when/where to use proper etiquette.
Before digging into this, there is one thing to remember. An imperfect letter that comes with improper etiquette, but has the thankful sentiment is better than the imagined perfect note that was never written or sent. So hopefully this advice will help you hone in your writting skils and help you to get those thank you notes out, but with our help your etiquette will be spot on!
Some things should always be included in a thank-you, while other things should be avoided at all costs. However, there are many different situations that call for thank-you note, and each situation calls for different etiquette. We've put together a list of 'Thank-you DO's' and 'Thank-you DO NOT'S'. This is a helpful place to start when you're beginning to write, regardless of the situation.
THANK YOU DO'S
1. Send your thank you notes out as soon as possible
It is helpful to write the thank-you as close to the event as your schedule allows as you will remember specific details about the event that you can write in the thank-you. Your guests will definitely appreciate that touch of personalization so they know you didn't write the same mass note for everyone.
2. Thank-you's may be sent on informal stationary EXCEPT for wedding thank you's which are typically sent on formal stationary.
3. You should always send thank-you's in the following situation:
After receiving a birthday gift
After receiving a sympathy gift (flowers, cards, etc.)
Gifts received in the mail
Gifts received during a stay in the hospital
After receiving a gift from a bridal shower or baby shower
After a stay in someone's house for more than one night
After receiving wedding gifts
After receiving a note/gift for a congratulatory event (graduation, confirmation, communion, etc.)
After attending a dinner party
After a job interview - note that this is not required but definitely a good idea to help the interviewer remember you!
THANK YOU DO NOT'S
1. Put off writing or sending the thank you note. The thank you should typically be sent within a week of the event. The exception to this is wedding thank-you's. The timeline for those is within 3 months of the wedding.
2. Not show appreciation for a gift you've received that you don't like. When writing a thank-you for something that you don't like, this is the time to keep the thank you less specific. Say something along the lines of 'Thank you for the gift, it was very thoughtful. I appreciate that you thought of me!'
3. Find any old piece of paper to rip off and write a thank you on. Find notecards that are personal to your style and will make the recipient think of you as they see it. They will see that extra touch and know that you put all of your effort into thanking them for their act. Take a look at our Thank-You card selection here. You are sure to find something that will match your personal style!
Now we move on to a more detailed list of specific situations and some examples of wording and proper sentiment for each.
WEDDING GIFT THANK-YOU EXAMPLES
Thank you so much for helping us celebrate on our big day. It meant so much to us that you and Matthew could make it! We would also like to thank you for the towel set that you gave us. They will look so beautiful in our bathroom and we can't wait to use them.
Alexis and David
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Jackson,
Thank you so much for the beautiful china set you gave us as a wedding gift. This set is going to look so nice on our table.
Sophie and Finn
THANK YOU NOTE FOR BABY SHOWER GIFT EXAMPLE
Thank you for attending my shower last week. It was so wonderful of you to attend, and your gift was just lovely. The blanket and toy chest will look great in the nursery!
It’s never a wrong choice to send a written thank you note, and people always appreciate getting a handwritten sentiment opposed to any other form. Handwritten notes are warm and the most special form of gratitude. Hopefully this list has given you some insight to writing a thank you your recipient will always remember.