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Thank you notes should be written as soon as possible after receiving a gift. Holiday and birthday gifts should be acknowledged within 2 weeks and wedding gifts should be acknowledged within two months. A handwritten note is considered the only correct way; email, texting or a phone call are all inadequate methods.

Let the person know how the gift will enhance your life. You are not only thanking them for remembering you, but for their willingness to go the extra distance to track down something special. In even the shortest note, a line about the appropriateness of the gift is always much appreciated.

If you help your children write these notes now, they will grow up as thank-you note writers who generate such messages automatically. Help the child collect his or her thoughts but don't press spelling and punctuation too hard and let them come up with what the gift means to them (with a little coaching, if needed); the most charming notes are those in which a child's personality shows through.

  • Handwritten notes only
  • ASAP after receiving gifts (2 weeks for birthdays etc. / 2 months for weddings)
  • Let them know why gift is special to you
  • Teach your children to be note writers now and they'll do it all their lives