“Thanks for the Crocheted Knight’s Helmet!”

A thank-you note primer.

To ensure smooth passage through the end of this season of giving, let us turn to the experts of proper deportment for three surefire ways to say “thank you” with sincerity.

1. No Thought & Little Effort Thanks

Children often complain that they don’t know what to say in notes and letters, so be ready to assist. Ask your child what he would like to say. Suggest ideas and wording if he is really stuck.

Emily Post’s The Gift of Good Manners

Pre-printed fill-in-the-blank thank-you notes are designed to coach children through expressing their gratitude, but are likely not quite what Miss Post envisioned. If you must choose this route, try a modified format to allow at least a smidgeon of personality to show through.

Dear ______________,

I can’t believe you sent me ______________. I think it is ______________. You sure know how to choose ______________ presents!

Thanks so much,

2. Heartfelt, Off-the-Cuff Thanks

The best thank-you letter of all is the spontaneous one that comes from the heart and tells why the present means so much.

The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette

The key word in Ms. Vanderbilt’s advice is “spontaneous.” Let that be your guiding muse.

Dear Lady Vivian,

I will be wearing my new crocheted knight’s helmet every single day this winter and possibly straight through until next winter. It warms my head and my heart. I love it. I love you. Marry me?

Your knight in shining amore,

Jessica the Gorgeous,

I can hardly believe you got me pony ears and Pegasus wings! How did you know?! They’re absolutely exactly what I wanted. Seriously, it’s the perfect present. You know me soooo well. Thanks.

The guys are going to be jealous!

Friendship IS magic.
Love & Pony Power,

3. Indeterminately Worded Thanks

Phrases such as “unique,” “interesting,” and “quite out of the ordinary” should do the gift justice and make the sender quite happy with your appreciation.

Etiquette: Charlotte Ford’s Guide to Modern Manners

When writing your thank-yous, Ms. Ford’s recommended vocabulary will stand you in good stead if faced with gifts that leave you at a loss for words.

Dear Martha,

Thank you so much for the unquestionably unique raccoon bag. It is quite out of the ordinary and unlike anything I have ever seen before. I can always count on you to give interesting gifts and know this one will be a conversation piece whenever I use it!


Darling Raymond,

You have outdone yourself this year! However did you happen to come across the remarkable giant metal chicken you sent? (Incidentally, the bicycle courier who delivered it wondered the same thing.) It is truly astonishing.

Thank you for your generosity and ongoing friendship.


Write with honesty and temper with tact, but never neglect to acknowledge the gesture of a gift.

P.S.: Delivery via moth mail or pigeon post is optional, but recommended when you require an extra touch of class.

Article © 2012 by Annie Woodall