You could send a thank you note to everyone who gave you a Christmas gift, but it’s not necessary for those you thanked in person. However, there are some people you really should write an after-Christmas thank you note to. Here, you’ll discover who they are!
Christmas has passed.
The parties are over. You’ve unwrapped all the gifts.
And whether the party was memorable or something you’d rather forget, and whether the gift made you sigh with an audible “Ahhh! It’s perfect!” or a silent “Why in the world?”, the other person deserves a thank you.
Sometimes it’s easy to gush over the party or gift we’re writing about. Sometimes we have to think hard to come up with what to write because we’re nicely giving the person an A for effort rather than for results.
A lot of us already have thanked everyone in person or through text, email, voice-mail, or a phone call.
So who’s left to thank with a snail-mail card?
There are certain persons you want to thank with a note before you let too many days in the New Year pass. Doing so builds and maintains your relationships, is a tangible reminder of your gratefulness, and is a crucial component of living your life by the Gold Standard of actively respecting and honoring others instead of the cultural standard of merely interacting with them.
Why Write a Handwritten Christmas Thank You Note?
Before I list the three people, please know that for me a life not lived from a place of gratitude is half-lived at best.
John Milton wrote, “Gratitude bestows reverence…changing forever how we experience life and the world.”
Gratitude takes whatever we have and makes it enough.
For the author of your card (you), writing your thankfulness on paper cements it in your mind.
And for the recipient of your card, holding and reading it cements your sentiments in the person’s heart and mind.
Sure, handwritten cards take some extra effort. But everything good takes effort. And being grateful and expressing it is worth far more than the ten minutes of time it takes to hand-write a note.
When we’re grateful, we feel full. Content.
We stop looking outward for this or that — for things that will never make us feel complete no matter how much we find of whatever we’re looking for.
With all that said, you probably can imagine that I had a hard time limiting my list to three. In fact, the three aren’t three individuals. They’re three groups of people.
However, don’t let my post title number limit you. If it’s on your heart to write others, DO IT!
It’s impossible to be too thankful. I can’t imagine anyone ever received a heartfelt thank you card and thought, “Would you look at this! Emilie’s a nut. She wrote me a note to let me know she appreciates me and is thankful for what I did.”
On the contrary.
The recipient’s inner dialogue goes more like, “Look at this! I didn’t know Emilie thought anything special about what I did. Wow! She’s great.”
If you want help expressing gratitude so that it doesn’t read like one of those notes written by people in a hurry to check “Write thank you notes” off their to-do list, here’s a post I wrote with the easy formula for writing heartfelt thank you cards.
The Persons You Really Should Write a Christmas Thank You Note to
Write a Christmas Thank You Note to Persons Who’ve Made a Positive Impact in Your Life or Shown You Special Favor This Year:
In this case, you’re thanking them for being part of your life, not merely for a gift or party (but be sure to mention any that you shared over the holidays). What better way to end or begin the year than by letting people know they had a positive impact on you?
They can be persons you’re close with (friend or family member) or even someone you’ve never met but who nevertheless makes a difference.
Think along the lines of “Who has made my life better by being part of it this year?” Your list might be long, or it might be short. Regardless, write those people a note.
I recently took out my stationery to write to two authors. I’ve never met either of them, and neither of them has written bestsellers, but both are mentors because I learn so much from what they write.
Not long after, out of the blue, I experienced the positive effects of gratitude expressed when I received a kind note from a reader. A post appeared on the Etiquette School of America’s Facebook wall from a stranger. (Her wall post isn’t technically a thank you note in the form we’re talking about, but she didn’t have my address, so she wrote to me the only way she could.)
In her Facebook post, she shared how much she enjoyed and learned from reading my book for moms who want to raise kind, confident, gracious children. And she shared how she now would be able to pass along the skills she learned in the book to her children so they wouldn’t need to experience some of the feelings she had felt while growing up.
Her words reached my soul.
After I read her wall post, I cried. I cried a lot. They were tears of relief and happiness.
Then my husband came home, read her wall post, and he cried.
Reading her words of gratitude made the seven months of 70-hour workweeks, the extra money spent on take-out food, the two weeks I had to spend away from my children for distraction-free writing sessions, and everything else I did to birth the book worth it.
This precious stranger said, “You made a difference in my life, Maralee.” That day I took it to heart for the first time even though the book came out several years ago. Thank you notes are more powerful than 99 percent of people realize.
Write a Christmas Thank You Note to Persons You Work with Personally and Professionally:
Maybe you work with them in an office Monday through Friday or volunteer with them in a neighborhood group or a committee at church. You like what you do, and you know you couldn’t do it successfully without them. Let them know how much you appreciate them in writing.
If you know their mailing address, send the card there. If not, leave it on their desk at work, or hand it to them after the next committee meeting and ask them to read it later.
When hand-delivering cards, try to be discreet. You don’t want to leave someone feeling left out while you’re trying to thank another.
If your boss hosted a party during the holidays, make sure to send a thank you note to your boss. If it was a big affair, and you know that the assistant did a lot of the planning, send one along to the assistant, too.
You’ll stand out as a person who doesn’t take the kindness of others for granted. And that’s a great trait in an associate — or friend.
Write a Christmas Thank You Note for Any Gift You Received or a Party You Attended but Haven’t Thanked the Person Yet:
If you opened a gift in front of the giver and said thank you, technically a thank you note for a Christmas gift isn’t required. That’s because holiday gifts are usually given to people we are close to like our best friends and members of our family. However, it’s never incorrect to send a note, a text message, or a voice message, or to mention the gift again the next time you’re together in person. People don’t mind hearing more than once that you appreciate them and the gift they gave you!
You’ll want to send a thank you card to the host(s) of any holiday parties or meals you attended even if you said thank you when you were leaving. However, the same etiquette as with gifts applies to parties and meals. Thank you notes are not required for holiday events hosted by family members and friends who are so close that you consider them family. That’s because your mom is probably fine with you not sending her a thank you note after Christmas lunch. But you know what? Receiving one would probably make her day!
Grace Note: All gifts are of value. However, if you’ve received an especially high-value gift either because of its price tag, or the hours spent making the gift, or its sentimental value to the givers (for example, they passed along to you a silver serving dish, or a piece of jewelry, or even a “small” thing that means a lot to them), writing the givers a handwritten thank you note even after a verbal thank you is gracious and kind.
Do You Need to Send Thank You Notes for Gifts from Your Boss or Co-workers?
You need to acknowledge gifts, including Christmas bonuses from your boss, and also gifts from co-workers. You certainly can mail or hand them a handwritten thank you note, but if you’ve thanked them in person, a thank you note isn’t required.
If you enjoy your job and your boss Martha is great to work with, it would be kind to write a thank you note letting her know how you appreciate your job and the work atmosphere along with thanking her for any gift or holiday bonus you received.
Do You Need to Send Thank You Notes for Secret Santa Gifts?
Since Secret Santa gifts are usually opened in front of the giver, as long as you say thank you at that time, no thank you note is required.
Do You Need to Send Thank You Notes for Small Gifts from Neighbors?
As long as you’ve thanked your neighbors in person, a thank you note isn’t required. However, make sure that if you aren’t home when they bring by the gift, even if it’s home-baked goodies, you call, text, or email your gratitude ASAP. This accomplishes two things: they know you received the gift that they left on your doorstep, and you’ve expressed your gratitude.
When Is It Too Late to Send a Christmas Thank You Note?
You want to write thank you notes ASAP. Even giving the note to the person the next day isn’t too soon. However, if you send a Christmas thank you note after the second week of January, it’s still not too late. In fact, it’s never too late! You can just write in your note, “You are so kind, and I can’t believe that it’s taken me this long to let you know how much I appreciate….”
Again, I’ll link to this post that shares the easy, gracious five-part formula for writing heartfelt thank you notes. Please check it out if you haven’t done so. There are over 200 posts on this blog, and it’s the most important one.
If I’m Not Sure That a Thank You Note Is Needed, What Should I Do?
When in doubt whether a thank you note is “required,” go ahead and write one. A thank you note is NEVER bad manners or “coming on too strong,” and one always brightens the day of the recipient.
Do I Need to Send a Thank You Note In Return for One I Receive?
A thank you note is not sent in return for one received. However, if the note was especially kind or uplifting, you can mention how it made your day via text, call, email, or the next time you see the sender in person.
Have You Heard About the Gratitude Challenge?
The Gratitude Challenge helps us express gratitude because of or in spite of our current circumstances, and it blesses the recipients. You can choose to participate in one of three ways.
1.) Send a thank you note to a different person each month for the next 12 months. That’s 12 people you’ll impact in a positive way.
2.) Send a thank you note to a different person each week for the next 52 weeks. That’s 52 people you’ll impact in a positive way.
3.) Send a thank you note to a different person each day for the next 365 days. You’ll have to dig deep to come up with that many people, but you can hand-deliver the thank you cards to people when it’s not possible to get their home addresses.
You can also write general notes of encouragement for strangers and leave them on the windshields of cars at work, in your neighborhood, the parking lots where you shop, or anywhere your day takes you. You can leave them on random park benches, or the shelves or carts inside stores addressed to “If You Find This Card, Please Open.” Cards can be written in advance, and more than one can be given out per day.
At first, you might think this idea seems over the top. However, your acts of kindness will have positive ripple effects in the lives of the recipients too far-reaching even to imagine.
The Special Benefit of Writing Thank You Notes While Your Children Are Watching:
If you have young children or teens, write thank you notes at a time and place where they can see you writing them (and enjoying it!). The best way to teach is to lead by example, and if you want them to be adults who express gratitude easily, authentically, and often, they need to see you model it.
When they ask, “Whatcha doing, Mom?”, you can answer: “Honey, I’m writing a thank you note to Mrs. Derrick. She’s been so kind to treat us like family this year. I wanted her to have something she could hold in her hand to let her how much I appreciate her.”
The reply from your children might be nothing more than a half-hearted “Oh.”
But they’ve noticed. They’ve watched. They’ve stored it away in their memory bank. And they’ve heard your reasons.
If you do it enough, when your children grow up, they’ll do it just like Mom or Dad did!
Of course, we also know the hard truth of being parents: If we don’t do it, then when our children are adults, they’ll not do it, just like Mom or Dad didn’t do it.
And expressing gratitude in a tangible and permanent way is too important of a thing for them not to experience the benefits of doing.
Until next time, do what you were put on Earth to do! Bless others by being you…at your authentic best!
XOXO and blessings,