Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Thank You Card Etiquette After The Holidays
Once the holidays are over and all of the sparkling decorations are put away, there may still be one task left to do. Sending out thank you cards to those you were thoughtful enough to give you and your family gift’s is surely something that should be done. It is a major part of the holidays that should not be neglected.
When is the last time you sent a thank you card for a gift you received? Do you even know under what conditions you should send a thank you card? Should you send a thank-you card if you received the gift in person and thanked the gift-giver on the spot? What about sending thank you cards via e-cards? Is that ever appropriate?
There are many questions when it comes to thank you card etiquette after the holidays. Fortunately, the answers are not too complicated. Here are some of the answers to those questions and a few others.
What should a thank you card be written on?
A simple note card that reflects your personality is fine for your holiday thank you cards. They do not particularly need to have a holiday theme. Chances are by the time you send this card the holidays will be over. The cards can be personalized with your name or maybe an initial; or they can be general cards bought from any stationery store. Do not simply tear a page out of a notebook to write the thank you. A note card, either casual or formal, is completely appropriate.
Thank you cards should be sent out no later than two weeks after the first of the year. Most people consider New Year’s the end of the holiday season, and with the end of the season comes the beginning of the thank you card writing.
Do I need to send a thank you card when I’ve already thanked the giver in person?
It is not necessary to send a thank you card if you received the gift in person and gave your thanks at that time. However, it is certainly not in poor taste to send a thank you card.
What should I say in the thank you card?
Always start with a simple “Thank you for the (gift name).” It is always important to mention the gift specifically. You can add how much you like the gift, when you think you will use it, or mention that you already have used it. If you didn’t like the gift, do not say so. This is very poor etiquette. A simple, “Thank you for the (gift name), It was very thoughtful of you to remember me (us) during the holidays” will suffice.
Yes, children should write their own thank you cards. If all a child can do is write his or her own name, then the parent should write the card and let the child sign it. It does not matter how poor the handwriting is, children’s handwriting is cute. The gift giver will be delighted that the child signed it, even if it’s illegible. Children who are capable of writing their own, however, should write simple thank you cards for the gifts they receive.
How should I say thank you for a monetary gift?
There are special etiquette rules for monetary gifts, but they are not too complicated. It is customary to thank the giver for his “generous gift” but to not mention the amount specifically. It is also appropriate to mention what you are planning on putting the gift towards. For example, if a relative gave a monetary gift to the whole family, you could say, “Thank you for your generous Christmas gift. We will be using it to purchase a family membership to the local zoo this year. We’ll think of you every time we head to the zoo.”
Are sending thank you e-cards appropriate?
E-cards are still not considered proper etiquette when sending thank you notes. When someone has taken the time to select, wrap, and give you a personal gift, it is appropriate to thank them with a personal note. Many people send e-cards instead of paper cards for environmental reasons. That is understandable, but when it comes to thank you cards, it may be better to buy stationery on recycled paper. That way, the environment is still taken into consideration, but your thank you is personal.
The card should be written to whoever signed the card that accompanied your gift. If the card said the “Smith family” the envelope should be addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and the inside card can name each member of the family by name. Be sure to include any children’s names if the gift came from the children, too.
There is one last personal touch to include, use a stamp that you placed on the envelope. A post office stamp is very impersonal.
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