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:)


4 thoughts on “Thank You Letter, Thank You Notes, Thank You Cards… & When You Need to Send Them

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