Thank You Notes Required?

Each time I entertain, do I anxiously await a thank you note from my guests? No.

When I receive a “thank you” in the mail, or even a phone call or an email the next day, it always comes as a surprise, because I’m not expecting it. I savor the words and it’s so nice to read or hear these words because it brings back great memories of a fantastic time shared with friends.

While growing up, my mother read Good Housekeeping* regularly. I remember as a child thumbing through the magazine and reading Emily Post’s column. So now I ask myself, “What would Emily say?”

I looked up the etiquette for sending a “thank you note” after a dinner party. Peggy Post (Emily’s daughter) says:

Neither a gift sent later nor a note is necessary for a dinner-party invitation; your verbal thanks when you leave is enough. A phone call the next day – or even a note – to say how much you enjoyed the evening is always welcome.

I have several stacks of notes that I have saved. A few years ago I purchased a ring to hole punch each one and keep as a reminder of the importance of entertaining. It’s wonderful to read back through what people write, how they were touched, and what specifically meant a lot to them. Some day one of these friends will be gone, and it’s my little way of having a personal keepsake from that person.

A reader wrote me this week about kids and thank you notes:

How do you handle thank-you notes? That is my biggest challenge with kids!

My daughter recently had 14 girls over for her birthday. What I have done in the past is taken a group picture at each party. As soon as I download the pictures on to my computer I pick the best group picture and copy it right away on colored paper, 14 times! Then Abby will write her own personal note, sign and send (or hand deliver to save a stamp).

Boys are a little harder. I stock up on Dollar Store thank you notes and sometimes it takes a little extra nudging for them to complete the task – but it gets done!

My friend Hoppi is going to help me teach my Balcony Girls about letter/note writing. She is so gifted with words and even though most of my girls have already learned this ‘art’ from their mothers, it never hurts to have some fun with it on a wintry, cold Balcony Girls day! With email, cell phones and just the hurriedness that we all feel in daily living, I believe that thank you notes are an essential touch to gratitude.

Do I expect them? No. But I sure love it when I get one.

* Speaking of Good Housekeeping, check out the article on pg. 243 in October’s edition by blogger, Shannon, from Rocks In My Dryer.

(Top photo: I couldn’t help but post another beautiful picture from a few weeks ago – Golden Delicious apples cooking down before the applesauce process! Bottom photo: a few of my keepsake thank you notes)

If you get a minute, tune in to Family Life Radio tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 12) and you’ll hear Paul talking about his new release, No More Jellyfish, Chickens, or Wimps! It’s a great interview with Dennis Rainey!

10 comments on “Thank You Notes Required?”

  1. What about when toddlers receive bday gifts? Should mom send a thank you note? Or should the child scribble with crayons and mom just write, “Thank you, love Child’s Name.” ???

  2. Great input for us! Thanks for giving us the “rules” on this stuff.

    You are such a blessing, your ministry is one that I love!

    Yes- it’s a ministry in my mind :)


  3. I am SO into thank you notes. I always told my kids that they were not allowed to enjoy the gift they received until they sent a note. If they got a check, they couldn’t spend/deposit it until the note was mailed.

    I know that wasn’t the topic here, but we have always sent thank you’s for over night stays, dinners, and whatever else someone does for us.

    I am giving away some hand made note cards on the bloggy giveaway. So, don’t miss coming by to register!

  4. I’m a huge believer in thank you cards and hostess gifts. I just think thank you notes (handwritten) are nice touches. I love getting them and be sure to send them often.

  5. We have a guest book that we always ask people to sign when they’ve been here. Mostly, it’s just proof they’ve been here, that I’ve had people over(!), but I agree, I always love it when they say they’ve had an awesome time and really enjoyed the food. I love looking through it and reading the comments from years gone by. I never really thought about it until now, but it actually does sort of inspire me to have people over again and make me thankful that I got over myself and made the effort to invite and entertain.

  6. Honestly, I’ve never thought about sending a thank you after a dinner party. I do always take a hostess gift with me to a dinner/party, and of course thank the hosts when we leave. I’m with your other readers, it would be nice to receive, and I will consider doing it next time.

  7. I’m with you. I don’t expect Thanks You notes, but when they come they always bless me and make me smile.

  8. If I were to be honest, this is an area I could stand to have some improvement in! I wasn’t taught as a child the ettiquette of “Thank you” notes… even for gifts.

    It is now something I am working to develop in myself but I am far from having it engrained.

    *sigh*… However, I am not giving up!! :-)

    Can I come when Hoppi speaks to your balcony girls?? This is a topic I could definitely learn more about!! ;-)

    Thanks for a reminder of their importance, not only because it is the polite thing to do, but also because it is something truly cherished!

  9. Thank you notes might not be required, but I must admit when I receive them it makes my day!

  10. Well…I’m in Texas. We do thank you notes, and hostess gifts and thank yous at the door. All of it.

    It’s a lot of work, but when in Rome…


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