Thank you, Emily Post

I am a HUGE fan of Emily Post.  Huge.  As in defer to her for every social conundrum one could ever dream up.

So, as my thank you writing time draws to a close {showers, wedding, Christmas, and birthday} I thought that I would revisit EP’s guidelines for writing thank yous.

From Emily, verbatim.

Who needs a note?

All gifts should be acknowledged with a note, unless the goodies were opened in front of the giver—then you have the chance to thank them in person. An important exception: many of an older generation expect a hand-written note. Providing them with one is an appropriate gesture of respect and consideration.

Who should write the note?

The person who received the gift should write the note. Group notes are acceptable for Aunt Patty who sent the household a group present—just ask each recipient to sign. For couples, it’s perfectly fine to split up the notes for gifts you received together. For the kids, check our section entitled “Mom, Let’s Write Thank-You Notes!”

When should thank-you notes be written?

Write your notes as soon as possible, and don’t hesitate if you feel you’re late: a late note is always better than no note at all.

Can a thank-you note be creative?

Absolutely. Incorporating photos, children’s drawings—anything at all that compliments the sentiment is appropriate. Just remember to include a short written thank-you as well.

What about e-mail?

The reality of email thank-you’s, much like email itself, is a degree of emotional distance: an email to your grandmother is simply not as personal as a note written in your own hand. So if you have a casual relationship with the gift giver and you correspond via email regularly, an email thank-you may be appropriate. For most other people, the written thank-you is your best bet for an expression of warm, heartfelt thanks. The last thing you want is for someone to be disappointed when her hand-knit scarf is acknowledged with a loud, animated e-card.


Do you send Thank You notes for gifts received?


5 thoughts on “Thank you, Emily Post

  1. i am psycho about it. my tradition is to combine xmas and bday thank you notes and write them all christmas day afternoon. that way i get them all out of the way early 😉

  2. for some unexplained reason exclusive to my subconscious I do not write thank you notes for holidays like Christmas. Perhaps because we open our gifts in front of our families, thank them in person and they receive gifts from us as well it has always seemed unnecessary to me. For everything else I am a nazi about it. And just wait, you think your wedding generated a lot of notes…just wait til you have a kid. I have been writing multiple thank you notes a week for the past 6 months. (that doesn’t include my shower). yeesh.

  3. i only receive gifts for xmas, and their all from my mom. like any decent 6 year old, i scream excitedly and run off to play/watch/dance with my new stuff… at some point i do shout a thank you at her lol

    i definitely believe thank you cards are a must for weddings and babies, even if the same person sends multiple gifts (shower gift, event gift, etc). i’m already scoping thank you cards for the wedding of my dreams 🙂

  4. Thank you letter writing has always been mandatory in the Derr house as my mother would force us to sit at the dining room table after every major holiday and write thank you’s to everyone. I hated it when I was 10, but now at 25, I realize the sincerity of a TY note and know how nice it is to receive one in return. It’s a habit now that I enjoy in my young adulthood days, rather than loathe as I did as a little girl.

    On another note, I absolutely LOVE that book. I almost bought it 2 weeks ago in a moment of weakness but couldn’t bring myself to throw down $40-$50. Maybe one day…..

  5. I adore Emily Post! I also use her (and all the Post books) as a life guide! So nice to know someone else appreciates her amazing “etiquette” talent! On a side note I recently purchased “Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners” and I am completely head over heels!

    Thanks for Sharing!
    Tina, Being Wife

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