ASK THE GIFT CONCIERGE:
HOW TO WRITE A THANK YOU NOTE
Our goal is to make the gift giving process as seamless as possible to ensure both the giver and receiver enjoy every moment. But what do you do after you've received a gift? In this edition of Ask the Gift Concierge, we answer all your thank you note etiquette questions, including when you should send a thank you card, how late is too late to send a thank you, and what you should say in your message.
ARE THANK YOU NOTES OUTDATED?
A handwritten card may seem like a thing of the past, but in the digital age, a physical note is actually more important than ever. A text or email may suffice for small favors - like a neighbor picking up your newspaper while you're out of town for a few days. But if someone gives you a gift or goes out of their way to do something nice, a thank you note is appropriate.
"Handwritten notes take communication to a more elevated, thoughtful place. It shows that you put the effort in to pick a special piece of paper, to pen a personal note, and to pop it in the mail," says stationery guru Marcie Pantzer, founder of Dear Annabelle.
Traditional thank you notes can also be saved and looked back on as treasured memories - something you can't do with a text or email.
HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE TO SEND A THANK YOU NOTE?
It's best to send your thank you notes right away, in part because the longer you wait, the more likely you are to get busy (or forget). It's also important to send your thank you note while the event or favor is still fresh in your mind so you can write a truly sincere message.
That said, you could reasonably send thank you cards within one to two weeks of an event. There are also some exceptions, such as weddings. Contrary to popular belief, newlyweds do not have up to a year to send a thank you note for wedding gifts. Rather, they should send thank you cards within three months of receiving the gift. You also have more leeway when sending thank you notes for bereavement gifts and baby gifts (especially baby gifts received after the newborn has arrived).
IS IT TOO LATE TO SEND A THANK YOU NOTE?
It is never too late to send a thank you note - better late than never! While it is best to get notes out as soon you can, you can still send a thank you card even if months have passed. If you've exceeded the recommended window for sending thank you notes, simply apologize for the tardy response and thank them for their generosity.
WHAT SHOULD I SAY IN A THANK YOU NOTE?
Thank you messages should always come from the heart, but we do have a couple tips for writing a sincere thank you note every time.
KEEP IT SHORT AND SWEET
The ideal thank you card gets straight to the point. The beauty of a thank you note is in its simplicity - you don't need to write a novel to express your gratitude.
When sending thank you notes for a gift, make sure you mention the item specifically and tell them how you plan to use it (if applicable). If you're sending a thank you note for money, saying thank you for "your generosity" is a great alternative. When expressing thanks for a gesture or event, let them know you appreciate their time or tell them how much fun you had.
CHOOSE AN APPROPRIATE CLOSING SALUTATION
How you close your thank you note will depend on the formality of your relationship with the person. If you're writing a thank you note to a boss or colleague, signing with "Sincerely" or "Best" will do the trick. For a thank you note to a close friend or family member, go for "Love," "Yours truly," or even "XOXO."
With these tips in mind, we like to use a three-sentence structure when writing a thank you note: thank the person for the gift or gesture, tell them how you plan to use it (or how much the gesture meant to you), then reiterate your thanks.
THANK YOU NOTE EXAMPLES
While our tips and tricks can help you write a meaningful thank you note, we put together a few sample messages for different occasions that you can use as a guide.
GENERAL GIFT THANK YOU NOTE EXAMPLE
Thank you for the beautiful photo frame! I love the picture of us you picked and it looks great displayed on the mantle - you definitely know my style. Thank you again and I can't wait to see you at the next trivia night!
WEDDING GIFT THANK YOU NOTE EXAMPLE
Dear Aunt Emma and Uncle Jack,
Thank you so much for your generous gift. We had a wonderful time celebrating with you at the wedding and were so happy you were able to come! We're looking forward to seeing you again at the family reunion this summer.
All our love,
Alex and Cameron
BABY GIFT THANK YOU NOTE EXAMPLE
We are so thankful for your thoughtful gift! Baby Catherine is going to love watching the adorable mobile you got for above her crib. We appreciate all your love and support during this exciting time and can't wait for you to meet her!
Isabelle and Noah
PROFESSIONAL THANK YOU NOTE EXAMPLE
I sincerely appreciate the guidance and advice you've shared with me during my internship. You have been a great manager and I have learned so much this summer. It has been a pleasure working with and I look forward to keeping in touch!
THANK YOU NOTE FOR A FAVOR
Thank you so much for dogsitting for me while I was out of town. I wouldn't trust Bella with anyone else and I know she had a great time with you! Thanks again for doing me such a huge favor - I really appreciate it.
Do you need help picking out the perfect present? Send your gift giving etiquette questions to the Gift Concierge for expert advice!