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Modern Etiquette: How to say Thank-you for a Gift

Updated on June 22, 2013

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 Zoya | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
Zoya | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos | Source

Saying Thank-you for a Gift

There are so many ways to communicate now. E-mail, social networking sites, twitter and texts are all wonderful ways to pass a quick message or catch up with friends, and they are taking over from letters and telephone calls for every day communication. In these modern times, it can be difficult to know quite what one ought to do, to thank someone for a Christmas, birthday or other gift. However, some communication is special and precious. Thanking a relative or friend for a gift is one of these precious communications. Good manners dictate that one takes special effort to thank someone for a gift.

No one is entitled to a gift. The person sending the gift chose to send or give you a gift. The person, who gave the gift, took time to think about the gift. They thought about you and your needs, likes, and pleasure. They took time out of their lives to think about and choose the gift, to wrap it and to get it to you. It is only right that you show gratitude and respect for them by thanking them properly. Thanking someone is special, a text or tweet is not a suitable way to do so, even in this modern age. It is only right and respectful that you also take time and thought to thanking someone, who took time and thought to please you.

Texts, tweets and e-mails are not suitable ways to thank someone for a gift, they could however, be a good way to let someone know that a gift arrived safely. The correct way to thank someone for a gift is a hand written thank-you note. Whether you write that note in a card or on writing paper is completely your choice, but your note should be in the form of a letter, “Dear Auntie Maud, Thank-you for the lovely gift, Melanie” is insufficient. You should indicate that you know which gift Auntie Maud sent and why you will appreciate it.

For example, "Dear Auntie Maud, thank-you very much for the lovely hand-knitted purple scarf, which you sent me for Christmas. It must have taken you hours to knit such a super scarf. It will keep me toasty warm, when I take Henry, the dog, for his early morning walks on these cold winter mornings". Enquire about Auntie’s health, whether she passed a pleasant Christmas and tell her a little about your Christmas and your plans for the New Year, and wish her a Happy New Year. Thank her again and then sign off in the usual way. You should never make your thank-you note seem like a duty letter, it should seem as though you are writing to auntie for the sheer pleasure of doing so. Even if you hate the purple scarf, auntie took time, trouble, and thought to knit that scarf for you, be grateful that she cared enough to do so.

If you receive a present in the mail or by courier, you should always let the sender know as soon as possible by the fastest possible means, telephone, e-mail, text, whatever, that it has arrived safely, even if you have not yet opened it. This communication does not replace a thank-you letter, it is as well as a thank-you letter.

Bring children up to thank those, who are kind enough to give them gifts. Learning to be grateful and considerate will do them no harm whatsoever. A few minutes spent writing a note to thank Granny for a present is a valuable life lesson and Granny will treasure that little note always. Little ones who cannot yet write could draw a thank-you picture of them wearing or using the gift, to which Mummy or Daddy can add a little note and post to the gift giver. Children, whose parents bring them up to appreciate gifts and the thought behind them, will not grow up like the spoiled brats, who took their foul mouthed complaints to twitter on Christmas Day.

A gift, at any time of the year, is not an entitlement; no one must give you a gift. They put time, trouble, effort, and thought into that gift, it is only right that you also take a little time, trouble, effort and thought into showing your appreciation and gratitude for that gift. Writing a letter and posting it is the very least you can do.


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  • Mercia Collins profile image

    Mercia Collins 4 years ago from United Kingdom

    Twilight, you are quite right. on all counts. Thank-you for your kind comment.

  • Twilight Lawns profile image

    Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

    A charming hub.

    All the way through I see boxes that have been carefully ticked to say, "This is an English person."

    Auntie Maude, or Great Aunt Maude seems to have spent her life knitting purple scarves for all the Home Counties and every one of her relative in them.

    I thought you had an axe to grind when yo wrote this.

  • Mercia Collins profile image

    Mercia Collins 5 years ago from United Kingdom

    I am glad that you find my hub useful rmcleve. Thank-you for your kind comment. I wrote my hub in response to a television news item, where some people asked in the street did not seem to know how to thank someone for a gift.

  • rmcleve profile image

    Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

    Very useful hub, especially this time of year! So I guess I better start sending out those Thank Yous, huh? :)