How Do YOU Say Thank You?


With the 2019 graduation season in full swing, it’s a great time to share thoughts regarding acceptable ways of expressing thanks to those who generously give, either in person or by sending gifts, to graduating family and friends.  I was taught that it was not only appropriate, but necessary to send a handwritten thank you note for gifts, even to close family members (outside of those living in your home where a personal thank you and a hug are even better).  I realize there are many, even of my generation, who don’t share my view, and have passed their nonchalance for this tradition on to their children (now Millennials). Granted, sending a “thank you” email or text can sometimes be perfectly acceptable, particularly for a casual gesture.  However, sending a card, letter, or note of thanks is an investment of time and energy, in contrast to the hurried, instant process that technology affords.

The 19th edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette – Manners for Today was released last year. Emily Post’s great-great-grandchildren, Lizzie Post & Daniel Post Senning, have picked up the mantle of the “First Lady of Etiquette”, tackling the latest issues and demands of the twenty-first century—from texting and tweeting to iPhones, Facebook, and all forms of social media. I truly enjoyed reading (okay skimming) the 674 page book, with its rich combination of traditional etiquette, and promoting the best practices of current society.  While it’s a great guide to keep around the house, I think the real target of this edition is “Millennials”.

One of my most used “text speak” other than “thumbs up” is “Thx”. It’s a suitable response in many instances, but for a gift?  Personally, I think not!

Here’s an excerpt from the Emily Post Website on the topic of thank yous:

It’s never wrong to send a written thank you, and people always appreciate getting “thanks” in writing.

Why? Handwritten notes are warmer and more special than other forms of thank yous. The rule of thumb is that you should send a written note any time you receive a gift (even a ‘thank you’ gift) and the giver wasn’t there to be thanked in person. But notes are not always necessary. If, for example, the gift is from a close friend or relative (and it’s not a wedding gift) you can email or call instead if you prefer. Below are some other note-writing guidelines:

Shower gifts

Even though the gift giver attended the shower in your honor and you had a chance to say thanks for her gift, you should still send a written note.

Wedding gifts

Each wedding gift should be acknowledged with a written note within three months of receipt of the gift. It’s best to write the notes as soon as possible after gifts arrive, however. Write a note even if you have thanked the giver in person.

Congratulatory gifts or cards

Anyone who sends a present, or a card with a personally written message, should receive a note in return…..

So there you have it, thank you note guidelines from the Emily Post’s etiquette guide.  Of course, today’s world requires flexibility, but I consider the Emily Post guide to be a good rule of thumb.  I would love to hear your thoughts, Millennials, Gen X’ers, and my fellow Boomers!

 Do you write thank you notes?

 Boomers, what kind of “thank you” advice did you pass along to your Millennial children?

3 Replies to “How Do YOU Say Thank You?”

  1. Yes, I send written thank you notes for all gifts, even from close friends and extended family. I was taught that’s the proper way to say thank you for a gift. I’m a boomer as you might have imagined from my response. I always remind my Gen X’ers and Millennium nieces and nephews of the importance of continuing this timeless etiquette tradition although, I don’t often feel as if they get it. Kudos to Emily Post’s grandchildren for writing a new edition for Millenniums!


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