I remember both loving and hating birthdays and Christmas’ as a child. Loving them, obviously, because of the presents, special foods, and celebration. But hating them because my mom always made me sit down at the kitchen table and write out thank you cards to everyone. Yup, even my six-year-old peers. Everyone. She also made me personally call family members that I barely knew, thus making me deathly afraid of the phone to this day, but that’s a story for another time.
Ah, the thank you card. Writing so many of them was more than a little annoying to six-year-old me, but thirty-one-year-old me sincerely appreciates it. Why?
How can you justify not thanking someone when they’ve done something for you?
Here I’ve compiled a list of reasons to send thank you cards. I put an asterisk next to the times in which sending a thank you card is NOT optional. This is, of course, a HAND WRITTEN, snail mailed thank you card on nice or professional stationary. The other times listed are a nice touch, but you can certainly get away with not sending one.
*The thank you card pictures contain affiliate links. These are all things I have bought, or would totally buy… How cute are they?! Thanks for supporting my blog by purchasing!*
*When someone gives you a gift. And that means everyone. Even if it’s your friend who could care less about receiving a thank you card, still send her one. Are you a teacher who received end-of-the-year gifts? Snail mail a note to every single person who gave you something. Got married? Had a baby? Did your kid have a birthday party but can’t write yet? Send a generic thank you card, and have your kid “write” on it (chicken scratch works). No matter what, if someone gives you a gift you canNOT justify not thanking them. End of story. Mic drop.
When someone does something for you that they should be paid for. Did a neighbor water your plants when you were on vacation? Or babysit your dog? Or pick up your kids from the school bus because you were running late? Either be willing to tic for tac, or properly thank them. A souvenir is a nice touch too.
When you stay at someone’s house. While I, and many others, certainly love playing hostess, it’s not always the most convenient thing. A small hostess gift (wine, candle, basil plant) upon arrival, and a thank you card after departure are a very nice touch. This is even more true is someone invites you to their vacation home. I did not put an asterisk here mainly because I don’t want people who have stayed with me to think I expected a thank you card! I don’t! But, especially if I’m staying with someone who’s older than me, I try to send a thank you card and bring a hostess gift.
When someone invites you to an outing and pays for you. My dad got Indians tickets for some friends of mine and me when I was in college. I was so touched when one of my friends sent my dad a thank you card. While it certainly wasn’t expected (a vocal, “thank you” would have been sufficient), it was a sweet touch.
*When someone supports your cause. This is a big one for me. A very, very big one, and I know I’m not alone. If you are soliciting donations for something, whether it be a race, a mission trip, or anything of the sort, you must must MUST send a hand-written thank you card. Truth be told, if you are running a race that requires fundraising (I ran a race to support Special Olympics Florida, for example), bear in mind that many of the people you are soliciting are not necessarily enthusiastic about your charity. YOU MUST thank them. Email does not suffice. Texts do not suffice. Hand written. Snail mail. Not optional.
*You had a job interview. Yup, super old school, but do it. Time is a very valuable asset. Always thank every person who is involved in the interview process. Trust me, it will make you stand out.
When someone hosts a party. This is, again, very old school. I admit I did not even know that this was a thing until a few years ago, when one of my southern belle friends sent a very nice note to me after my annual Christmas Cookie Exchange.
*You use a “perk” that someone else pays for. Does one of your pals belong to an awesome country club and invite you along to play a few holes? Same goes for a swim club. Even more true if they treat you to lunch. Odds are that you can’t pay them (everything is on “credit” at a country club), so be sure to thank them.
I get very fired up about etiquette, not because I’m an elitist (I’m so not), but because etiquette is showing respect for another person. Plain and simple. Show respect for your fellow human, and get in the habit of sending thank you cards. You won’t be sorry!