Party planning 5 – thank-you notes

I have a thing about thank-you notes.

As in, I really believe strongly about being grateful and showing your gratitude to others.

I’m also super-fussy (!) about the format in that I like real thank-you notes written out by hand.

I think it’s because my love languages are words of affirmation and acts of service, and when I receive some lovely words in a card that someone has taken the time to write out, I feel so, SO appreciated.

Pure love!

I want others to feel that way too. I just don’t think a quickly-fired off text message/ email is enough to show our gratitude.

(if you’re bristling, please tell me why and remember this is MY opinion)


Strangely for things given to me, I don’t mind sending an email. Hmmm…


I know this is not always possible but I will do my best for as long as possible, and then the babies will have to take over and do their own cards.

As an aside, a work friend gave the kids some hand-me-down tools that her boys didn’t want anymore.

When I brought these tools home for the kids, they were over the moon.

That evening, I phoned my friend and had the kids say, “thank you, Aunty Annelize, for the tools” – she LOVED getting the message.

And then I handed a pencil to each of them and told them to “write thank-you to Aunty Annelize” on a blank card.

They made a few scribbles, I labelled them with their names, and then wrote in a thank-you note around their “words”.

Very cute and the next day she loved it.

It’s still displayed on her desk. Actually, would you like to see a pic?

Back to the party.

So of course, after our party, I had to write out about 13 or so notes.

Most from the party but we also had gifts sent from family and people who couldn’t make the party.

These were all part of the same printables set from the PaperGlitter etsy store.

This is how I do mass thank-yous. I’m sharing lots of detail because I like detail. Skim over it if it’s not your thing.

  1. On the night of the party, I take pics of each present with the card. This is for my memory so I don’t thank Susan for a puzzle she didn’t gift us! Also, the act of positioning and taking the photos seals it in my mind and I’ve rarely had to look back and check on things. But still, it’s there if I need it.
  2. I then count up how many cards I need to write out.
  3. I take out all the cards and envelopes and address the envelopes.
  4. If we’re seeing any of those people in the next week, I’ll keep it back to go by hand.
  5. Otherwise, I put the postal addresses on the envelope, with stamps, ready for my note.

And then the writing starts.

I like to be really specific. I learnt years and years ago on some management training that to say “great, well done” is not as meaningful as “well done for remembering to phone and give the client feedback”, for example.

And so my cards are quite specific, not just a “thank you for the present”.

Also, for me, it’s not just about the gift, it’s more about how people took time out of their busy lives and came to celebrate the birthday with us.

You may have guessed I’m quite passionate about time!

Over to you.

Do you do thank-you cards, text messages, FB messages, email, or nothing? Do you have a specific preference?

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  1. Thanks for the reminder, I still haven’t gotten around to buying a thank you card from the boys for my grandma, she sent them money for their birthdays adding it to my to-do list now so it can get done on my next shopping trip. Hugs Crystal xx

  2. Nice touch!
    I don’t have a preference but something handwritten is always lovely. If and when I send a thank you card/ note, then I usually make Lance write it out. His handwriting is award-winning compared to mine!

  3. I really try hard to write thank-you notes for gifts and other acts of kindness. Like you, I try to be specific about what was given, note how much the girls like it / how they play with it / and even include a picture if I can (maybe them wearing the outfit they were gifted, for example).

    If the gift is something we really enjoy…like a favorite book, for example…I usually try to send an email follow-up at some point. I might say, “Just want you to know that we think about you every time we read XXX book. It’s one of the girls’ favorites.”

    I don’t think this is the “norm”, exactly, but it’s how I was raised, and I hope to instill this discipline in my girls, too.

    I will say I give all sorts of leniency to new moms…the last thing I expect is a hand-written thank-you from someone who just had a baby! 🙂

    But..,what drives me BATTY is no acknowledgement of a gift I mailed, whatsoever!!! I seriously wonder if it was even received. That’s just unacceptable in my book!

    Great post, Marcia! And I love the way those cards look…AND that they coordinate with all your party goods! 🙂 🙂

  4. Am beginning to realise that you and I are *a lot* alike!

    Yes, i also do thank you notes. I quite like handwriting them and will also print/make something along the same theme as the party. I just think that it is such a nice touch to receive something from a party that ou have been to!

  5. I once saw something that said a good guide to writing thank you notes is the rule of 3 – something along the lines of send it within 3 days of your party, write no more than 3 lines and don’t spend more than 3 minutes writing a card, and if you stick to those guidelines then apparently it is more achievable.

    For me, my general rule of thumb is that if I think to myself it would be nice to send or receive a thank you card or special note, then I do it. Sometimes when I’m feeling a bit pressured with too many things going on, I put the stationery on my kitchen counter which is something that annoys me (unnecessary clutter), which then forces me to do it. And one thing is for sure, your friends will always appreciate the time you’ve taken to send them that note. In fact, sometimes it’s just the thing that they need to make their day.

  6. Yes! Yes! Yes! Write the thank you notes. They don’t have to be eloquent, only sincere. Just because there is technology that makes sending a quick note to someone easy, doesn’t mean that rules of etiquette are thrown out the window.

    For my girls, I have some preprinted thank yous. They read something like, ” Dear ___________. Thank you for the ___________________. I like it a lot. Love, ___________. ” They then color it, or draw pictures on it. They are little still. They will be required to write their own notes in a couple years. 🙂
    And we ALWAYS send them!!!

  7. Thank you notes aren’t the norm here in France, and I regret that very much because it’s a lovely habit. That being said, even though I love a handwritten note of any kind, an e-mail, phone call or text message from someone I sent a gift too is great for me, I don’t mind the form as long as I know that my gift was well chosen and appreciated.


  1. […] people don’t even say thank you, even when the gesture wasn’t anonymous! We all know how I feel about saying thank you. But I’m not stopping though; it’s their lives and their choice to be grateful or […]

  2. […] all know my feelings on the subject of thank-you notes, but in case you don’t want to go read this post and this one, here is the highlights […]

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