Sending a thank you card is just good etiquette. However, I'm terrible at writing and sending them in a timely manner! I'll go ahead and confess that I only made it through a fraction of the wedding thank you cards. I regret having not finished them. I was so overwhelmed at the time, and card writing just wasn't helping the matter. So, when it came to thank you cards for baby gifts I was determined to be on top of them and get them done. (Granted, with his unexpected arrival and multiple hospital stays it took me about two months to get them done, but I did it!).
Even though it is common practice to send thank you cards, the specifics of writing them had become lost to me. I'm sure I learned the proper form as a kid in school, but my adult self needed some reminding. The following is a brief lesson in writing thank you cards. At the bottom of the post is a quick reference guide that you can print (and keep stored with your stash of thank you cards).
First, if you are attending a shower or other such party, then you'll want to have someone to write down the gifted item and who gave it. If you keep a single list for several events, then I also suggest somehow designating attendance so that you can mention that in the card. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember who did or did not attend and where, especially if you were not able to have much of a conversation with him/her.
Second, while there are many convenient methods of communication nowadays (email, Facebook, text messaging etc.) the best way to convey thanks is still a handwritten note. You can use photo cards, but you must still hand-write a note somewhere on them. It took time and effort for someone to shop/make, wrap and offer you a gift, and so it should take your time and effort to write a personal note of appreciation.
A thank you card is appropriate for anyone who has given you a gift, planned an event for you, or has done a favor or other kind gesture for you. It is also favorable to send a thank you note after having been a guest in someone's home. We had a family over for dinner once and then soon after received a thank you card made by the children. Little touches like this make a difference!
Now you're ready to compose the message. I'll admit that this is the part I dread because I always struggle for the right words to say. I, therefore, find it helpful to use a guide and then varying the wording so that I don't sound robotic.
1) Begin with a greeting like Dear ____
2) Express your gratitude Thank you so much for the _____. (Try to include the specific item)
3) Add details of item's use or a personal story I can't wait to use the money/gift card etc. to decorate our new home (baby's room etc)!
4) Mention anticipation for next meeting (or express regret if unable to meet) I look forward to seeing you at the next family gathering. Or, I'll miss seeing you at the next family gathering.
5) Restate thanks a little differently Again, thank you for your generosity. I'm so excited for __[whatever the occasion is]___.
6) End with closing like Sincerely, or Love,
*If you're like me and don't get the cards out within a month of the occasion, then begin with an apology. Please forgive me for the delay. Or, I've been meaning to tell you...
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