Thank You Letter, Thank You Notes, Thank You Cards… & When You Need to Send Them

Probably one of the first things to know about the “proper” way of sending thank you letters, notes or cards is knowing when you need to send them.

So, although it is apparently never wrong to send a written thank you letter or note, there are some occasions when it is compulsory:

  • For engagement and wedding gifts
  • For sympathy or bereavement cards, gifts, flowers & assistance
  • For hostesses
  • For bridal/baby shower gifts
  • After being entertained by your boss
  • For hospitality
  • For congratulatory letters or gifts
  • For gifts of particular value

Engagement and Wedding Gifts

Thank you notes or cards should be sent out within 3 months of the engagement or wedding day. For wedding gifts in particular, a written thank you should be sent to everybody, including close friends and family.

Sympathy/bereavement letters, flowers, gifts, cards and assistance

Even though it will be a difficult time, and the niceties of etiquette may not be high up the priority list, it is still important that the thoughtfulness, care and acts of kindness people have shown during a bereavement period is acknowledged. If it is too difficult for the closest family members to carry out the job of writing the thank you notes, it may be delegated to others (although  often the actual act of reading through sympathy cards and recalling other peoples kindness and how much they care can be positive & healing experience).

Hostess duties

Anybody who has hosted, or helped host, an occasion for you (such as a baby shower) should be sent a written thank you letter and perhaps even a thank you gift.

Bridal shower and baby shower gifts

It is a good idea to send written thank you’s for these gifts as soon as possible. They will be the easiest things in the world to put off once you become busy with a newborn baby or are involved in the last minute wedding preparation fuss.

Being entertained by your boss

For obvious reasons it is important to show your boss that you understand essential good etiquette and have good manners, so send a written thank you note after being entertained by your boss or other work superiors.


Thank you notes should be sent after staying overnight at someone’s home (unless they are a a close friend or family member).

Congratulation gifts or notes

Written thank you notes are appropriate after receiving graduation gifts, or cards congratulating you on a new job etc.

Valuable or expensive gifts

It is important to send written thank you notes after receiving gifts of particular value, even if these have been received, opened and appreciated in person.

In the following instances, written thank you’s would be thought nice, but not compulsory:

  • When you have been a guest at a dinner party
  • After a job interview
  • For birthday or Christmas gifts received and opened in person
  • For personal favours (such a meals cooked or children picked up from kindy – in these cases a reciprocal helpful act of favour can be more appropriate)

Well that’s good then…  we’re all clear on when to send thank you letters, thank you notes and thank you cards, now we just need to know how to write them! Stay tuned for another fascinating post for tips on this:)


Thank You Letters, Notes and Cards – Your Essential Guide

Thank You Cards

Rifle Paper Co. French Boxed Set Of Cards

Although fashions and trends may come and go there is always one thing that will not go out of style and that is good manners.

But do we all know what good manners requires in different situations?

I absolutely do not claim to be an expert, but I have tried to research some of the social conventions that involve gift giving situations. And up first, here are some of the in’s and out’s, and do’s and dont’s I have discovered about Thank You Letters

The proper way to display good manners and courtesy after being the recipient of a gift, an act of generosity or a little kindness is to write a thank you letter, note or card.

Nothing else shows your appreciation and gratitude with as much sincerity, warmth or charm. It is also very courteous to let a gift giver know that their present was received safely

This series of posts will provide a short, but essential,  guide to thank you letters, thank you notes & thank you cards.

With this information at your fingertips you will be able to glide through this particular social minefield with your head held high!

Part One : When do I need to send a written thank you?

Part two: How do I craft the perfect thank you letter?

Part three: Thank you letter samples + samples for thank you notes and cards

Food, Food, Food (3 things about food)


What’s Really in our Food?

One article doing the rounds on the internet yesterday listed the “The 10 dirtiest foods you’re eating”. I’m such a sucker for these kinds of “top 10” lists, and I really like food, so… had to have a look really.

Bearing in mind that this is an American article, so at least one of the foods they’ve listed is probably not high on NZ’s grocery list, the rest of the list were (scarily!) pretty common foods, and while I think everyone will be aware of the problems with most of them – there were a couple of surprises.

In case you wanted to know… these are the dirtiest foods you’re eating…

Photos via "The 10 Dirtiest Foods You're Eating" Men's Health 6 June 2011

Ewwww! No not really, they don’t look that bad do they (apart from the raw chicken).

The whole list was:

  1. Chicken
  2. Mince
  3. Ground turkey
  4. Oysters
  5. Eggs
  6. Rock melon
  7. Peaches
  8. Lettuce
  9. Salami & cold processed meats
  10. Spring onions

The surprises for me were the rock melon, peaches, lettuce and spring onions. You don’t normally associate fresh fruit & veg with food poisoning etc, do you?  Or maybe you do.  I should probably have been paying more attention, because it turns out that the recent deadly outbreak of e-coli in Germany has been traced to an organic farm’s bean sprouts!

I couldn’t find any similar list for NZ foods, so don’t know whether our oysters, eggs etc are a problem, but the whole article is worth a look if you’re interested in minimising the risk of being one of the up to 200 000 cases of food borne illness occuring in NZ each year (3x the rate of Australia & 2x the rate of the UK 😦 )

Have you ever heard of Baked Potato Soup?

And speaking of food, I saw someone on a reality tv show the other night making “baked potato soup”, which I’d never heard of. Then yesterday I randomly saw this photo on the web – and it looked so good that we’re definitely trying it this weekend (I might just leave off the spring onion though & replace with chives or something seeing they were just on the list of the 10 dirtiest foods:)).

It’s going to be hard for this soup to beat actual baked potatoes on a chilly Sunday night – but we’ll give a go and see.

Photo via The Curly Carrot

If anyone else is tempted to try, you can find the recipe here at The Curly Carrot.

Like Gingerbread Men? Like Ninja’s? LOVE these!

On a final food related matter I also found these on the web yesterday (I really need to get off my computer and do some work!!) and just thought they were so cool… NINJABREAD CUTTERS to make NINJABREAD MEN!!

Photos via Fred and Friends

Awesome! Just when you thought the world had run out of big ideas!

Being a gift shop owner, I immediately thought of their gift giving potential – and rated it as High. They would make a great gift idea for guys or kids that like cooking (or might even be enough of an encouragement to get a non-domesticated male or child cooking).

We don’t sell any of these at The Paper Package, but wouldn’t a gift made up of things like these ninja cutters, a cook’s blow torch (what guy wouldn’t like to play around with a little blow torch!) and a book like Esquire’s “Eat like a Man” (to be released here in July I think) be a great food-related gift idea for guys?

Photo via Amazon

Anniversary Gifts : Will Anybody Even Need Them?

As a business we’ve only been operating 6 months now, but probably our single best-selling range of gifts so far have been Anniversary Gifts. And now I wake up this morning to hear on TV 1’s Breakfast that the marriage rate in NZ has reached an all-time low. Great.

photo via

Apparently the marriage rate in NZ last year was 12.5 marriages per 1,000 unmarried adults, which is less than one-third of the peak recorded in 1971 and half the 1987 rate. (Statistics NZ Media Release)

So why aren’t we so keen on getting married then? Stats NZ cites the increasing numbers of de facto unions, a general trend towards delayed marriage, and more New Zealanders remaining single (whether this is by choice or by lack of choice who knows??)

You would have to imagine too, that finances must be a bit of an issue here, especially if couples are having children before they get married. Then, the big expense of a wedding must come pretty low down the priority list compared to things such as a warm house in a nice neighbourhood & providing your kids with everything they need.

It seems a bit of a shame though… the whole tradition of marriage & the wedding ceremony itself is such a huge part of our culture and heritage. You know that a wedding isn’t a measure of how much a couple loves each other, but it is an open declaration of their commitment to each other AND it’s a great chance for a family/friends to celebrate a happy occasion together.

So maybe if finance is part of the reason why people aren’t marrying, wouldn’t it be great if we could all start to focus more on how fabulous lower budget, low key, creative weddings can be compared to a Bridezilla type occasion costing tens of thousands of dollars.

photo via

I am such a fan of the online crafty marketplace Etsy, and absolutely love their “handmade weddings” showcases. Granted that most of these couples are extremely creative & crafty, but it’s so great to see their individuality shine through (usually on a budget) while still celebrating the best of the wedding traditions.

But back of the subject of anniversary gifts – I would be really interested in knowing if couples that have been together in a de facto relationship for many years share an anniversary? And if you do… how do you choose which day to celebrate? And do you exchange gifts?


On the positive side of the stats the divorce rate is now the lowest since 1980. So it seems that the longer waiting times for marriage, and increased age of the bride & groom may lead to less unhappy marriages, and you have to celebrate that!

Hi There!

Welcome to The Paper Package’s first ever blog post!

In this post we’re going to try to outline for our readers (assuming there are any! :))

  1. who is writing this blog? and
  2. what’s it all about?

First, to start with, who is writing this? Well, my name is Therese Zimmerman and I am the founder & owner of online gift shop, The Paper Package. Some of my favourite things (which will probably feature heavily in this blog) are looking at photos of gorgeous things, designing & wrapping vintage-style gifts, cooking & eating yummy food, reading detective fiction, watching dumb TV, spending heaps of time with my family & our fluffy dog, social occasions involving wine and running a small business.

Gorgeous Things (via Selena Lake)


If you have arrived at our blog through our website you might be interested in how The Paper Package started. Well, to make a long story shorter,  I started thinking about beginning a new business while I was looking for a job in early 2010. I had just finished a Grad Dip in Business through Massey University, and was looking to restart a full-time career after 17 years of working part-time and staying home looking after our 4 children.

After failing my way through my first-for-20-years super-scary job interview (which so reminds me that although it’s beyond annoying to hear that “everything works out for the best in the end”, it really can be TRUE ) I starting imagining that maybe it would be possible for me to start a small business myself. Possible to find something that would be challenging and creative while also utilising my new-found business skills.

After weeks spent browsing the internet and stalking various internet blogs and niche e-commerce websites I decided I wanted to start an online gift shop selling gorgeously wrapped gifts and “brown paper packages tied up with strings’.  And, that’s exactly what happened. After a further 6 months or so of planning, The Paper Package website was launched in December 2010.

One of the very first products we added to our website, Little Paper Package No. 1


So, that’s who’s doing the talking… now onto our second point:

What is this blog to be about? Well, it’s a funny thing – but I’m not really sure!! I have this idea that I can give a bit more background and story to our business, can showcase things I like that I think our customers might like too, can have a bit of a gossip, and  can talk a bit about gifts and gift wrapping. But let’s just say that at this stage it’s a work in progress…