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Thank you, Thank you very much

Every time I hear that sending thank you notes today will set one apart I'm a little shocked, I know plenty of people who send thank you notes. But I also probably know a few who do not and just don't want to admit it. If you're ever in doubt about when to send a thank you note or need some ideas to get you in the habit than fear not, I am here to offer you some advise. Most of this I feel is common (apparently semi common) knowledge I've gathered over the years but I'll also offer you some special practices I have developed. I've also got some pictures of the type of card that might be appropriate. All examples are available at Tiny Prints.
 

Job Interviews

Seriously, it really shocks me that people don't do this. If you want the job, send a thank you note. I usually keep some in my car and will write it and take to the post office as soon as the interview is over. In fact, if you know the decision is going to be made the next day write it in the parking lot and then go take it back to the receptionist. Make sure you are using professional looking stationary, I usually use my normal monogrammed stationary.

MandySue tip

 Send a note to EVERYONE you interacted with - especially if the hiring manager has assistant. This is smart on so many levels 1. These people are usually influencers to the decision maker 2. If / when you get the job being in with these people will help you out a lot 3. Don't be a suck up, be nice to everyone. Also, remember to thank references for taking the time to make you look good.
 
 

 

Gifts

Someone gave you a gift, you thank them - This is not rocket science. Unless your family is super formal you do not need to do this for immediate family but do note that older relatives tend to enjoy them - my grandma still gets a thank you note from me after Christmas and my birthday. I think the important part to remember here is no one has to give you a gift, even if they were invited to your wedding / baby shower / whatever party. An invitation is not an obligation to provide a gift. If someone gives you a little fun token of love type of gift then I think a verbal appreciation is fine but all "true gifts" should be properly thanked.

MandySue Tip

The  best thank you notes are personalized. Dear X, thank you for Y. Love Z  . . . boring! I once had a bride write to me how 3 generations of her family had the same silver pattern and she was excited to use hers at her next thanksgiving. Now obviously it was something she registered for but she was specific in her thanks and personalized why the gift was special to her. (that wedding was over 5 years ago and I still remember the note). I prefer to make very little mention of the gift and instead focus on how much I enjoyed the person's company or how much their thoughtfulness means to me. If there's a special event their gift will be used at I mention that too.
 
 

 

Entertainment

If you have been invited into someones home, they deserve your thanks. It's usually nice "not to arrive empty handed" but I feel if you are attending a potluck that makes it ok just to bring your dish. If your host / hostess is providing the food and beverage for you than a nice hostess gift would be a bottle or wine, or something small for their kitchen. Avoid flowers that have not be prearranged as it will obligate your hostess to stop and arrange them.

MandySue Tip

I'd just love to be an an economic position to send flowers after every visit to someones home but that's just not realistic. I  do try to make sure that people who have hosted me multiple times do get flowers at one point and I usually ask the florist to keep it at $50. If this is too much I recommend getting flowers from the store, nicely arranging and leaving on their doorstep while at work - half the cost of delivered flowers but just as thoughtful.
 
 

 

Helping you Out / Supporting

If your friend provided you a ride when your car was in the shop, watched your kids when a last minute situation came up, or helped you moved into your new place they should get a note. I don't care if you have known this person since you were 5, thank them verbally, thank them in writing and if you can afford it thank them with a token of appreciation. Also, if someone came out to support an event important to you thank them for that as well. They probably got something for their support so no gift is necessary.

MandySue Tip

When my mother died I was obsessed with sending out the acknowledgement cards. I was raised writing thank you notes and this reflected upon her - I HAD to send them. At some point I got exhausted and just couldn't keep up. I'm sure I missed someone who deserved my thanks. Just remember it's never too late to thank someone. You can acknowledge your tardiness but let them know how much the support has meant to you. Use this for any situation in your life as appropriate.
 
 

 

Just Because

Honestly, who doesn't like to get REAL mail that isn't bills? These are the best notes because they are unexpected. If I go to your bridal shower and a few weeks later I have a card with your return address I don't have to open it to know what's up. Oh, but if a card appears for no reason than it's suddenly a pleasant surprise. You can thank people for being a good friend, for being a mentor, send a note to your significant other just to say I love you and I'm happy to have you in my life or whatever. I started doing this in June 2012 and Its been a really positive experience.  
 
 
 
So those are just a few situations when it's appropriate but really I don't think there's ever a time when a thank you note is inappropriate. My personal opinion is that if you don't send a thank you note for gifts at the very least you have the potential to come off an an entitled jerk. And to be honest, you might not receive a gift from me in the future. So here's some rules on sending notes:
 
1. Wedding gift thanks need to be sent within a year. This is a few cards a day max even if you had a huge wedding. You can do it!
2. Send a thank you for one event / gift before asking / inviting to another. So if you get preggers right away than sorry but you better move up your wedding gift timeline. Don't be the jerk sending a baby shower invite when the wedding present was never acknowledged. Ditto if you invite people to support your special causes
3. Acknowledgment cards after a family members death should also go out within a year. But honestly if you miss it, it's more of a you'll feel guilty thing. Only jerks really expect these cards and timely
4. I'm not sure of specific rules on post baby thanks but think of it this way, if you can grow and entire person in 9 months than you can your notes out too.
5. Try really hard to send an invite within a week of being entertained by a friend. TRY. Life gets in the way. I'm terrible at this myself, but its a nice goal to have.
6. Keep bright, busy, glittery, fun stationary for more informal thanks and keep the serious stuff for the serious occasions
7. Generic thank you. DON'T DO IT.! It's totally cool to have a picture from your wedding on your card. What's not cool is getting the card pre-printed to see than you for attending and then not write an acknowledgement of the gift. So not cool.
8. Don't make excuses for yourself. Everyone is busy. If you write one note a day , which takes 5 minutes, until they are all done you will get all your notes out much faster than waiting for that 3 hour window to write them all
9. Involve your husband if applicapble - it's ya'lls wedding, y'alls baby and you were invited to dinner together so why shouldn't he help?
10. Keep a list, sending thank you notes twice could be super awkward.

Comments

  1. L-O-V-E!! I am a stickler for thank you cards. I've pretty much accepted that most people don't send them and I don't get easily offended anymore for not receiving one....but I write them and my kids write them. My 7 and 8 year olds wrote their own cards for Christmas gifts this year and they were hilarious! Very short and to the point - "thanks for the ____" - but they took time to write them and color the picture I had printed on the front! I got more response from people getting their cards than ever!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I love hearing about kids wirtting cards, they're so cute! Something like that would totally make it onto my fridge.

      Delete

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