Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thank you card etiquette

Just curious, but what is everyone's thank you card etiquette....you know, what do you send them for, how long is *too* long to wait, is the wait time more acceptable for things like babies (since the receiver is obviously very busy and probably sleep deprived) verses a wedding?

Is there a general rule for thank you cards (besides personal ones)? Should you send them for events that presents are usually assumed such as birthdays or Christmas? I only ask this because I received a thank you card from my nieces (of course written by my SIL) for their Christmas gifts and my one nieces birthday (it's Dec. 26th), and it made me go "hmmm, is this something a lot of people do?" because I for one have never really done the thank you card for Christmas since mainly I am physically there to say thank you and I never thought it was expected. I also will admit that I'm not sure I have ever done thank you cards for birthday gifts either, again because I can usually say it when the person gives it to me (well, at least not as an adult, I do remember my mom having me do thank you cards when we actually had a PARTY and such when I was younger). Is this bad etiquette of me? Does it depend on your age or how far away the person is or even the monetary value of the gift itself?

So, I am curious about everyone else's habits...let's put it into a poll (answers in the comment section please)

1.) What are the events you give out thank you cards for?
2.) How long is acceptable to wait to get them out?
3.) Does the event matter in the time referred to in question 2?
4.) If one waits *too* long, is it better to just forget about it or send them out very late?
5.) What are the events you feel thank you cards are not needed?
6.) Regarding question 5, if you received something of great monetary or sentimental value would you feel obligated to give a thank you card even though you normally wouldn't?
7.) And lastly....have you ever felt jilted by not receiving a thank you card when you thought you should have?

7 comments:

Kelly said...

I was taught to write a thank you card for any gift I was given. This includes b-day, Christmas, when Lily died, showers, wedding, ect. I've just always done it. I think it's better late than never. If I'm just given a card, then I don't write a thank you but if it's a gift or $$ then I always do.

I was MOH at my BF's wedding and did a ton of work for it plus got them a fabulous gift, threw her a shower, ect and never received a thank you. Now this was almost 10 years ago so obviously it hurt me to not even have her acknowledge the fact that she appreciated it.

Chuck, Sarah and Emily said...

1.) What are the events you give out thank you cards for? I give out thank you cards anytime I recieve a gift that i can't thank the person in person (ie if the present comes in the mail). Also for really big events like wedding, baby shower, etc. Even if I did see the person.
2.) How long is acceptable to wait to get them out? I say as long as you get them out you are good--I shoot for within a month.
3.) Does the event matter in the time referred to in question 2? I would think people would be understanding after a baby or death or such--i would say they would appreciate it regardless of the time.
4.) If one waits *too* long, is it better to just forget about it or send them out very late? I'd send it out late.
5.) What are the events you feel thank you cards are not needed? Small gatherings or family gatherings when you can thank the person on the spot.
6.) Regarding question 5, if you received something of great monetary or sentimental value would you feel obligated to give a thank you card even though you normally wouldn't? Haven't really thought about it--but it would be nice I would think.
7.) And lastly....have you ever felt jilted by not receiving a thank you card when you thought you should have? Not that I can think of....

Jewels said...

1.) What are the events you give out thank you cards for?
• What I’ve seen in my family (but not always) are Weddings – Graduation – baptism (if any gifts are given) - house warming's, baby shower and bridal shower.

2.) How long is acceptable to wait to get them out?
• Weddings – within a month (I guess), Graduation, bridal showers, baby showers, House warming, probably the same (If you give them out). After baby is born – 1 week ::wink:: j/k, I say when/if you get around to it. I’ve never been offended not getting a Thank You

3.) Does the event matter in the time referred to in question 2?
• Yeah, I think it’s probably most appropriate to send thank you cards out in a timely manner when gifts are given at a Wedding, the rest, like you say, people are there to say “thank you” when the present is given or even open.

4.) If one waits *too* long, is it better to just forget about it or send them out very late?
• I think if you feel you want to send them out, then a little too long is still appreciated, but years? Ahhh, forget about it. I –for one- hate it when I get a thank you card after a baby is born, I know how much work it was just to get the cards written, I feel guilty knowing the mother strained herself to send it (I feel that way anyway)

5.) What are the events you feel thank you cards are not needed?
• I’m on the fence with Baby showers, Wedding Showers and house warming parties, but no on Birthdays- Christmas – The heck of it – Easter – Valentine’s Day – Unless someone goes all out for me, then I send them a special thanks. Again I feel Wedding gifts are most appropriate for Thank you Cards because you often don’t open the gift until after guests leave and people spend quite a bit of money on wedding gifts.

6.) Regarding question 5, if you received something of great monetary or sentimental value would you feel obligated to give a thank you card even though you normally wouldn't?
• I think I would just want to give special thanks.

7.) And lastly....have you ever felt jilted by not receiving a thank you card when you thought you should have?
• Nope – Never. Well… but I’ve always received some acknowledgement of appreciation, if I went all out and just got a cold shoulder, I’d feel bad. But it doesn’t have to be a Thank You card.

Anonymous said...

My personal view is that thank you notes should be written whenever you are not able to thank the giver in person (when he/she gave you the gift). I don't write them for gifts that I or my kids receive at Christmas family gatherings, but I do write them for gifts that come in the mail. Ditto for birthday stuff. And always for showers, even if the giver was thanked in person.

I think the time frame depends somewhat on the individual....but I think a month is usually enough time to get one out for most things. Longer for a wedding. But I agree with Kelly that it's better late than never.

I felt jilted at a wedding once when I didn't receive a thank you note. I actually worried that maybe they didn't receive my gift and thought that I had jilted them by attending the wedding without getting them anything.

--Kristin

Jen said...

I write a thank you note for every gift I am given. Well, I try to, sometimes I don't manage it. But, I don't always expect to get a thank you card back for things like baby presents when someone is busy. However, I expect some acknowledgment that they got the gift, so I know it made it. But I am fine with just an email.

jenn said...

I would send thank you's for anything I didn't say thank you for in person. Weddings, showers, etc (the big stuff!) always falls into this. Housewarmings are a gray area for me.
I would think sending them out late- within 6 months- is still preferable to not sending at all. If i feel really badly about being late I try to make each card a little more personal to make up for it.

Megan said...

I started responding to this, but all the other commenters make my answers look really bad. The short story is this: I hate thank you cards. Hate 'em. And I would never, ever feel jilted for not getting one; I gave the gift because I wanted to, not because I wanted anything in return. In fact, I would be glad if people didn't send me thank you cards because that's one step closer we are as a society to being rid of them. I prefer to say thank you as a matter of normal interactions.