Etiquette for Sending Thank You Cards

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Throughout the years I have found it very rewarding, and still is, to send and receive words of appreciation and/or gratitude in thank you cards. I have often been asked when it is appropriate to send thank you cards and would like to share the following suggestions with you.

A thank you card is an expression of appreciation for a thoughtful act, gift or gesture and should be sent as quickly as possible, generally within a week of receipt of a gift or gesture. In the case of a gift, always make a specific reference to the gift received, such as, “Thank you so much for the blue sweater. How did you know blue was my favorite color?”

A thank you card is appropriate in the following situations:

• After being hosted as a house guest
• After receiving gifts/visits during a hospital stay
• Gifts that were received by mail
• Wedding gifts
• Baby shower gifts
• After receiving sympathy letters, flowers or mass cards
• Notes or gifts of congratulations
• Having been given a party in your honor
• Having accomplished a commendable task
• Having received a job referral
• Volunteered services
• That special teacher
• A helpful co-worker

Select thank you cards that reflect your personality and keep a supply on hand. It is important to personalize your thank you cards with a hand written message.

If you receive a gift you dislike you should still show appreciation for the thought that went into selecting it for you. You might say, “Thank you for the gift. I will always think of you whenever I use/wear it.”

I’m hoping this has been helpful to those of you who care enough to send thank you cards.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

MarGee August 12, 2009 at 7:03 am

You say to make specific reference to the gift received, but what if it is a check or a savings bond? My son received, in addition to tons of toys, a few checks and a few bonds. Is it tacky to say, “Thank you for the $50.”? Or should the Thank you card say what the cash was used for or will be used for? Also, I lost track of who gave what so I might have to leave it at…Thank you for the gift. Now you are making me feel really guilty!!

luckysmom September 16, 2009 at 7:21 am

Whenever one of my kids or I receive a monetary gift, I write the thank you saying “Thank you for your generous gift”. I don’t think you need to mention the amount of cash received or what it was used for. But you can say what it was used for if you want to, something like “Thank you for your generous gift. Can’t wait to go shopping for clothes!” or “Thank you for your generous gift. This will come in handy when I go away to school.” And if you forgot what they gave you that’s ok. Saying “Thank you for your gift. It was so kind of you to think of me” or something like that will suffice. Remember, it’s the thought that counts.

MarGee October 11, 2009 at 8:02 am

Funny you should say that. We just got a thank you card from one of our 19 nieces and nephews. The card said: Thanks for the money. I will use it to buy cool stuff. Oh what we can learn from children. Here I am worrying about how to phrase a thank you card and this is simplicity at its best.

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