In our high tech
world, it is still our personal relationships with others that add
special meaning to our lives. As a part of these relationships, gifts
are often exchanged. Whether the gift is a tangible item or an
intangible, such as time, saying thank you is an important part of
everyday etiquette not to be forgotten. Knowing when and how to say
thank you is an important way to express appreciation for the
thoughtfulness of others.
Etiquette – The Basics
acknowledge a gift, especially when the sender has no other way of
knowing you received it. Strangely enough, this might involve sending
a thank you note for a thank you gift, but it does let the sender
know you received it.
- Be gracious
when you receive a gift, even if you don't like it.
- If a gift is
from a group, one written thank-you note is acceptable: be sure to
thank each one in the group verbally, too.
notes and letters are a rarity. Be generous with how often you choose
a written note as the appropriate form of thank you.
thanks, make sure your expression of "thank you" balances
why and what you are saying “thank you” for. There are many
creative ways to express thanks to another.
drawing. For a child too young to write, encourage him/her to
draw a picture. This is a creative way for young people to say thank
Expressing a sincere thank you to family and friends for small favors
will let them know that you appreciate all that they do for you.
handwritten note. Sending a note when someone sends a gift or
makes a contribution is a thoughtful and memorable gesture.
- A food
specialty. If you are “known for” your apple pie, chocolate
chip cookies, homemade preserves, etc., be sure to send that along as
a special thank you.
contribution. An excellent way to say thank you is through
contributions to a cause that is meaningful to the recipient.
- A gift.
A gift is a tangible symbol of thanks. When a gift is tailored to the
recipient it will be memorable and appreciated long after it is
Notes – A Very Special Communication
- Send a
handwritten note as a personal expression of gratitude. Handwritten
notes are less common and convey special appreciation.
- When a
written note is appropriate, write and send it as soon as possible.
Timely thank you notes seem more sincere and are easier to write.
- Use good
penmanship. The time and energy you spend handwriting it is of little
value if the receiver cannot read your writing. Resist the temptation
of using your word processor; a handwritten note is much more
expressions most natural to you. It is important to sound natural,
sincere and unscripted. Saying your thank you message out loud, then
writing it down, may help you to say something that is uniquely
- Use paper or
stationery that expresses your personality. The first thing the
recipient will notice is not what you wrote, but what the note is
the generosity or thoughtfulness of the giver. Make specific
reference to the gift or contribution that you received.
- Thank you
notes for a gift of money should indicate the exact amount given and
how the money will be used.
ways to close a personal thank you note include: most sincerely,
affectionately, warm regards, fondly, love, thinking of you, and much
sending thank you expressions by e-mail. The point of a thank you
note is that it is personal. E-mail has many virtues, but
graciousness and formality are not among them.
when “thank you” is appropriate.
A thank you note should be
- A gift is
received. Any time.
- Someone does
a favor. Any time someone does a huge favor for you, such as house
sitting, mowing your lawn when you are not able, picking up your mail
while you are on vacation, etc.
- After being
a houseguest in someone’s home for one or more nights.
- For dinner parties or special
outings where you have been entertained.