A 5-Star Thank You Note

I am a little bit of a thank you note snob. When we give a gift at a children’s birthday party, I want to get a thank you note because I want confirmation that my gift made it to the birthday girl or boy. I am never sure what happens to our gift after I drop my child at the mega bounce house party and leave the present in the big wagon-o-gifts that is supposed to make it out to the birthday child’s car. The thank you note is the only way I know our friend has the gift in his/her possession.

After my kids receive gifts at their birthday party, I work really hard to make sure my children write thank you notes in a timely manner. When they were littler, I wrote the notes on their behalf and had them draw a picture, sign their name, or add some sort of scribble.

After the party is over, getting my children to write these thank you notes is a chore. One fab friend allowed her daughter to only open 2-3 gifts after her birthday party. The child could not open any more gifts until she completed thank you notes for the first few gifts. My friend said it worked like a charm until they got to the last few gifts. At that point, almost all of the thank you notes were complete, so it was not such a monumental task.

Since we just hosted a Star Wars birthday sleepover, my son has a few thank you notes to write. I started thinking a little about the whole thank you note process and developed a 5-star thank you note classification system. Now, depending on the situation, a 2-star thank you might be totally appropriate. Ultimately, I don’t care if I get a 1-star thank you– I just like knowing that the gift was received and acknowledged.

It would make me feel better to know that someone out there takes their thank you note writing as seriously as I do. Is it important for you to get a thank you note after giving a gift, and do you have any tips for making the thank you note writing process a little easier?

5-Star Rating

A handwritten note that is delivered via snail mail. It has personal comments and explains why the person who received the gift appreciates it. The thank you note is completed within 2-3 weeks. If you have personalized stationery, you just bumped your thank you note into a whole separate thank you note domain.

4-Star Rating

A partially handwritten note that is delivered via snail mail. It may be one of those fill in the blank kind of cards that are great for younger children who are just learning to write. It specifically names the gift that was given. The thank you note is completed within 2-3 weeks.

3-Star Rating

An e-mail or phone call to the person who gave the gift. The gift receiver names the gift and why he/she liked it. The thank you e-mail or call is completed within 2-3 weeks.

2-Star Rating

You thank the person who gave you the gift in person the next time you see them.

1-Star Rating

A generic letter or e-mail that says thank you to a whole group for the gift(s). It does not name the specific gift given or a specific person who gave the gift. I am guilty of sending one of these thank you notes to my students after receiving a very nice gift card. It was a particularly hectic holiday, and I wanted the whole class to know I received the gift.

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15 thoughts on “A 5-Star Thank You Note

  1. Especially if it is an older relative or out of town, YES. I did not let my kids cash checks until a note was sent – sweet and simple. Means a lot to all, not to mention good etiquette.

  2. We have always spent a lot of time making sure the girls write thank you notes too. Last Christmas our creative cousin gave each of the girls a thank you note kit that she put together. It was adorable and has been very motivating for them. It includes a collection of lots of different stationery, stickers, stamps and even their own return address labels. She put it together in one of those clear letter-sized envelopes. She just bought a few packs of note cards and divided them up so that each girl has an assortment. It would make a great teacher gift too.

  3. What happens to the rating when the letter is sent/received after the 2-3 week time period (as is my unfortunate habit!) Would you rather receive a hand-written note on personalized stationery a month late, or an email/text/phone call immediately upon receipt? And which one to impress upon our kids–timeliness or thoughtfulness, if you had to choose?

    • Hmmm. I think if you do any of those things you get credit. I love the letter in the mail (even if takes awhile to arrive). I just want to know the person received and liked the gift. As long as I get some sort of confirmation, I am happy. BTW, got your note for the baby gift, so you earned 5 stars for that!

  4. I always strive for the 5-star thank you note, but alas lately I am lucky if I hit a 1 or 2 star. I think a big part of it lies in inviting too many friends to birthday parties and being overwhelmed by needing to write dozens of cards. We need to scale back and focus on quality not quantity, but the kids don’t seem to agree.

    • I am so glad Mr. Star Wars only invited 3 friends this year! Yeah– 3 thank you notes, plus grandparents, plus cousins. It adds up fast. I do like the fill in the blank cards for little people (like the little people you have).

  5. So thrilled that my 9-year-old scores a 5 on your thank-you note scale! She just recently had to write 23 of them! We spread it out over a week (about five a day) so that she wasn’t stuck doing them all at once. I too am a stickler for thank-you notes. I always give my girls a gift of stationery for Christmas and birthdays and try to get creative with the stationery. I pick stamp sets, stickers, or special papers, so it seems more like an art project than a writing project. My favorite were the origami notes we made one year. My 5-year-old dictates hers to me and she signs them, although she has done the cute fill-in ones too. My favorite fill-in cards are from Tiny Prints. These really show kids how to write a proper thank-you note: http://www.tinyprints.com/product/3491/thank_you_cards_grateful_girl.html

  6. i had some personalized stationary made: THANK YOU across the top and my kid’s name across the bottom. it’s “manly” because he’s in 8th grade. we use them for everything: bday and holiday gifts, but also for teachers and coaches.

    theroommom knows that i am “old school” and love handwritten notes. i like to keep the postal service in service.

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