To Thank or Not to Thank

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Thanks to modern day communication (and by thanks, boy do I mean it!), properly thanking friends and family who generously shower our families with gifts is sort of getting canned. Is an e-mail saying how much you love the monogrammed cocktail napkins okay? What about a text showing how adorable JR looks using his lamb-hooded bath towel? These are nice gestures, but surely an old-school, handwritten note sent via snail mail must follow this up, right?

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The good news? Not always. (Save that stamp, people!) The bad news? It’s a little tricky to know when to thank and when not to thank via personal letter. Fortunately for you, we’ve broken the rules down thanks to a little assistance from Emily Post.

While it is lovely to send a thank you note for any gift, an e-mail or phone call is perfectly acceptable to thank a close friend or relative. (Whew! My list just got much shorter.) If the gift-giver is present when receiving a gift for you to thank in person, no note is needed.

Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute—So we don’t have to write to show our appreciation for wedding gifts when we thank the givers in person? Not so fast—shower and wedding gifts are an exception. It’s ALWAYS appropriate to send a note of gratitude for shower and wedding gifts. Whether thanked in person or not, these gifts must be acknowledged via snail mail.

Should a gift include a handwritten note of congratulations or any personally written message, send a note.


In the event of a death, all notes, flowers and donations should be recognized with a note. However, a close friend or relative may write the notes on the recipients behalf in this circumstance.

Similarly, thank you notes must be sent for gifts received while ill. One may wait until feeling better to send these or have a friend or relative send them in their stead so the gift-giver is thanked in a timely fashion.

So when should you send them? As soon as possible. BUT, if you’re a bit behind, don’t hide behind your stationary. A late note is better than no note at all.



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