For as long as I can remember, it has always been considered common courtesy to send a thank you note to someone who gives you a gift, attends your event, or does something especially kind or thoughtful for you. My mom taught this social skill to me from a very young age and I do try to continue with this to this nicety to this day. I know that modern life seem to move along at ultra high speed, I’d like to think that telling someone “thank you” with a special hand written note is still in fashion.
The tradition of hand written notes dates as far back to when the Egyptian and Chinese cultures used papyrus. The people of these ancient cultures were the first known to exchange messages of goodwill and good fortune on these pieces of papyrus.
Later, in the 1400’s, Europeans typically sent hand written letters to express their gratitude for gifts or kind gestures. These letters would have been the precursor to our modern day thank you notes.
With the advent of mass production, in the 19th century, manufacturing technology made large scale production of notecards possible and more cost effective. As the availability increased, using thank you notes for attending weddings, showers, parties, and to acknowledge the receipt of a gift also became popular.
Sending a hand-written thank you note, rather than a letter, became an accepted and even preferred custom in the mid-1900’s. Letters are still used today but generally, a thank you note has become the norm.
Thank You Etiquette : A General Guide
- Keep multiple gift-givers straight: If you are writing thank you notes for an event, you will likely have multiple gift-givers to thank. Make sure you keep track of all your gifts and thank the correct person. Do keep a list of who gives you what or who did what so you.
- Be specific: When writing thank you cards, thank your giver specifically for what they gave you and how you’re looking forward to using the gift. Saying thank you for your “gift” is too generic and impersonal. If someone gave you cash or a cheque, saying thank you for the “generous gift” is appropriate and specific enough.
- Make it personal: Using a template is okay if you have a large number of thank you’s to write. Typically, we already have a general outline in our heads when writing thank you’s. Do make sure you add specific details and personalize it. Always add a personal touch to your thank you note so it does not appear generic.
- Be timely: Following a major event like a wedding, you have approximately two months to send out thank you cards; and certainly smaller events like baby showers, the thank you cards should be done quickly. One would not want to be trying to do the notes along with dealing with a newborn. If you receive a stand-alone gift, you should send a thank you card as soon as possible.
- Email & thank you’s: Most of the time, etiquette rules dictate that a handwritten thank you note is most appropriate. If the gift was given at an event, handwritten thank you cards are required. That said letting someone know over a text or email that you received their gift is a good idea. it is always much nicer to follow it up with a handwritten thank you card within a few weeks. Emailed thank you’s should only be used in a pinch, and I would think, an emailed thank you is better than no thank you at all … but that would be just my 2 cents; I’m not the the writer of the Miss Manners column. LOL!
I have an assortment of single Thank You cards in my online studio. As time permits, I was thinking that I should create a 5 pack of greeting cards which will also include a thank you card or two, plus some birthday cards. In the comments below, tell me what kind of 5 packs you’ll would like to see… all birthday; all thank you; all general with out sentiments, or ?
Thanks for joining me today. I hope that one of my thank you cards will be chosen to express your heartfelt gratitude for a gift or an act of kindness you have receive. Hand made kindness totally rocks!