Thank You Note Etiquette

Hand written thank you notes represent a time-honored, tremendously important art, and one of my favorite etiquette traditions. So you can master this custom, here is everything you need to know about thank you notes!

Occasions for Sending
Pray tell, why send a thank you note? Aside from practicing your penmanship and having a spectacular excuse to purchase luxurious paper goods (my vice!), sending a thank you note shows gratitude and appreciation for whatever lovely gesture someone has done for you. It signifies more than putting pen to paper – it’s taking that extra thoughtful step. Also, while better later than never, strive to send it within two weeks of receiving the gift, gesture, etc. So, the million-dollar question: When do you need to send a thank you note?

  • If someone has so generously given you a gift (e.g. wedding, birthday, Christmas, etc.)
  • If someone has interviewed you for a job
  • If someone has graciously done you a favor
  • If someone has hosted you in their home
  • If someone has invited you to an event (i.e., they treated you to a concert or play)

Foolproof Thank You Note Formula
Follow this formula for a foolproof thank you:

  • Line 1: Address the person with “Dear”, i.e., “Dear Paige,”
  • Line 2: Open the note by thanking them for the gift, gesture, etc. “Thank you for the wonderful cookbook, it was so thoughtful of you.”
  • Line 3: Let them know that you are enjoying the gift and what it means to you. “I adore the Barefoot Contessa, and have loved learning new recipes from this amazing cookbook. I recently made the roasted chicken and it was delicious!”
  • Line 4: Close the note with a final thank you. “Thank you so much again for the beautiful gift, and I look forward to seeing you soon.”
  • Line 5: Sign the note with a salutation and your name, with the salutation depending upon your closeness with the recipient. If it’s a dear friend or family member, most sign it “Love,” where as if it’s a work colleague or acquaintance it’s recommended to sign it “Fondly,” “Best,” or “Warmest Wishes.”
Addressing ABC’s
Here’s a quick guide to follow:
  • The recipient’s name and address need to be written as follows:
    • Recipients Full Name
    • Street Address
    • City, State, and zip code
  • Recipient’s name:
    • Unmarried woman: Ms. Holly Golightly
    • Unmarried man: Mr. Doc Golightly
    • Married woman: Mrs. Holly Golightly or Mrs. Doc Golightly
    • Married man: Mr. Doc Golightly
    • Divorced woman: Mrs. Holly Golightly or Ms. Holly Golightly
    • Divorced Man: Mr. Doc Golightly
    • Widowed woman: Mrs. Doc Golightly or Mrs. Holly Golightly
    • Widowed man: Mr. Doc Golightly
    • Married Couple: Mr. And Mrs. Doc Golightly
    • Married Couple, husband is a doctor: Dr. Doc Golightly and Mrs. Holly Golightly
    • Married Couple, wife is a doctor: Dr. Holly Golightly and Mr. Doc Golightly
    • Married Couple, both are doctors: The Doctors Golightly or Drs. Doc and Holly Golightly
  • Don’t forget to write your return address. You can hand write it in the top left corner of the envelope, affix a return address label in this same place, or use a return address stamp on the back of the envelope above the seal.

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