Everyone knows it's proper to say thank you after receiving a gift or good deed, but many people don't realize that there's a proper way to thank people. When it comes to expressing gratitude and letting someone know you really appreciate the thoughtfulness, it's all in the delivery. It's best to send a brief, personal note as soon as possible.
- Don't hesitate. Never wait more than 30 days to send a thank you note, unless you are on a honeymoon. In that event, you should send the card within two months. Waiting too long to send a note tells the gift giver you really don't appreciate her generosity.
- Make it personal. Rather than sign your name to an amusing card purchased at the gift shop, use stationery or plain note cards instead. Never type a thank you — write it in ink. The recipient will appreciate your taking the time to express yourself.
- Get to the point right away. Thank you cards should be short and sweet:
Thank you ever so much for the charming vase. I'm sure it will add a touch of class to whichever room I choose to use for its display.
As you can see, the writer of the note thanked the gift giver immediately and let her know how the gift would be used, all in the first paragraph. You also cannot tell by this paragraph whether the recipient loved or hated the gift. This is key, because no matter how you felt about the gift, you should always be gracious and acknowledge the thought.
- Acknowledge gifts of money without actually mentioning the amount.
Thank you so much for your generous gift. We're going to deposit it in an account to save for a down payment for a new home.
Here, the writer lets the giver know the gift was appreciated no matter what the amount and that it will go to a good cause.
- Give thanks for hospitality. If you've been a guest in someone's home, especially for a weekend or longer, a thank you note is in order as well. It should follow the same guidelines as if one received a gift; however, the opening paragraph should be about the visit.
John and I had a wonderful time at your beach house last week. We especially enjoyed touring the area's lighthouses. You were right when you said the best seafood in the country could be found on your tiny little island.
This note expresses gratitude for the host's hospitality but also lets her know that the trip was enjoyable and enlightening. End the thank you note by letting the host know you'd like to offer the same hospitality one day in the future.
- Remember, this is not about you. Thank you notes are not the time to add humorous anecdotes or job updates. When writing the card, express gratitude to the generous party, jot down a line or two about the gift's purpose, and close with a short paragraph about hoping to speak or visit with the gift giver soon. That's all there is to it.
Thank yous aren't difficult to write, and they don't take much time. By so doing, you let someone special know that you appreciated the time and care spent in doing something nice for you. This will only encourage them to think of you more in the future.