Ladylike Laws: The Magic of Thank You Notes

Ladylike Laws: The Magic of Thank You Notes
Call me old fashioned, but I believe thank you notes are a must. I cannot emphasize it enough. Whether or not you were raised to do this, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of sending your thank yous in hand-written form. Whether it’s a gift, an interview, or simply a note to show your gratitude for a lovely evening, there’s something to be said about taking the time to write a kind word or two. And I don’t mean via text.

Let’s face it—we live in a digital world where people communicate in 140-characters or less and are constantly emailing and texting. The stream for communication is non-stop and instant, which is why discovering a hand-written note in your mailbox is such a refreshing surprise. When it comes to sending a hand-written letter of thanks, there are a few things you should know:
Ladylike Laws: The Magic of Thank You Notes<

Crafting the Perfect Thank You Note

  1. Use a nice pen. Forget pencil, or a run-of-the-mill ballpoint—instead, use a luxurious fountain pen or felt point pen when sending thanks.
  2. Pick the right paper. It’s been said that the weight of the paper is reflective of how important something is… Now I’m not telling you to send a stone tablet, but a card or piece of stationery that has some weight to it is a very nice touch. If you’re looking to send thank yous without breaking the bank, remember that you can always make your own using some watercolor paper, glitter, and a nice stamp.
  3. Writing the letter. If you don’t have a lot to say—increase your font size—you don’t want it to look like you have nothing to say. Also, always reference what you are giving thanks for and how it will be used or appreciated. And if someone sends you money, do not say “Thanks for the cash!” Rather you should tell them what you are going to use the funds for such as a big ticket item like a new computer or a trip.

To Send or Not to Send

  • Gift: A gift should always be acknowledged in a hand-written note. The only exception is if a close family member or friend gives you a gift in-person and you thank them on the spot, then a thank you note isn’t necessary—although it is a nice touch!
  • Interview: If you’ve read my blog on interview etiquette then you might already know this: Always, always send a thank you note after an interview. Pop it in the mail the second your interview is over. This is an easy way to show you are an on-the-ball candidate with excellent manners.
  • Host: If you were invited to a lovely dinner party, it’s best to show your appreciation before you leave by saying thank you or you can bring a small hostess gift to the gathering as well. However, if you are a houseguest, I suggest dropping a note in the mail to say thank you to your host for opening up their home to you.

According to Emily Post, in most cases, it’s best to send a thank you note within two to three months of receipt of the gift…or the sooner the better.

Do you send thank you notes? Also, what other etiquette questions do you have for me? Leave them in the comments below.

XO Lauren

Photos: Christopher Patey for
Categories: Contributors, Etiquette, Grow, Ladylike Laws, Lauren Conrad
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  • Emma Kreus

    It’s such a good idea! Love it! I think it’s better and more personel than sent an e-mail.. :-) I will definitely try it.

    PS: Love your hair Lauren!! 😉

  • Melissa Panici

    Great post! Thank you notes are so important. I definately send them:)

  • Amy Breckenridge

    i always try to send thank you notes, especially in a professional setting! but it’s nice to send them to your friends too! :)

  • Tiffani Stuart

    This is why I love Lauren! I do this too! She’s a girl after my own heart. If I am a guest in someone’s home,I usually send a Thank you Note. On several occasions, I’ve added flowers to the equation, especially if I’ve stayed a long weekend or a week or more… I think it’s classy- and since most people don’t do it in these technological days, us classy girls stand out! :)

  • Bev

    Totes true story!! We email and FB so often, that when something comes in the mail that is NOT a bill, makes my heart smile!! I keep a box of Thank You cards in my office at all times!!

    AND… love your natural locks and the new length you’re rockin!! GORG :)

  • Ashley Ward

    It really is so important to go back to basics on things like these. I always appreciate it when I receive a card in the mail, verses an email in my inbox.

  • Deanne Castro

    So cute! Great idea Lauren!

    For your ultimate style guide, check out my blog:
    Today’s post: Look Of The Day: Edgy Class…

    Follow me on Twitter: @MyFashAvenue


  • Ashley Rizzardo

    I have definitely started to get into the habit of sending thank you notes. I think it is a nice gesture to take time out of the day to sit down and handwrite a beautiful note to someone.

  • Cesie Alvarez

    Great post! I think thank you notes are under-used but they are such a lovely way to show your appreciation. I sent one to my professors after they wrote me recommendations for law school.
    I also love receiving letters. It’s such a shrinking form of communication that getting one is very special.

    (happy monday)

  • Leanne

    I was taught by my mom and my gran from an early age to write thank you notes. We have the prettiest writing paper and envelopes used especially for them.

    Love from South Africa

  • La La

    My Mom impressed on us at an early age to write thank you notes. One thing that I found that helps me is to do a rough draft so that I can get my thoughts and words in order. Almost always I find that there is a better way to express my appreciation than what came off the top of my head.

  • Tere Mestas

    How long after the receiving of the gift is proper to send the thank you note??

  • My Style Diary

    Great post! I think thank you notes are definitely necessary and just a lovely gesture.

  • Kayla Fisher

    I had baby showers and wedding showers this past year, and I can’t tell you how many thank you notes I sent out!

  • Blaggy

    it’s always lovely to receive a little note in the post it makes you feel like all the effort was worth while xo

  • Amie Cherie

    A must read: A Simple Act of Gratitude- How Saying Thank You Changed My Life by John Kralik. Very inspiring. True story about the importance of writing Thank You notes.

  • Amanda

    I don’t send thank-you notes but it sounds like a great idea! I will definitely start doing this! :)

    – Amanda

  • BRDiaz4

    Thank you for covering this topic! I have always sent thank you notes and was taught that they are one of life’s necessary gestures. It honestly drives me crazy when I spend my hard earned money and time picking out a nice baby shower or wedding gift for someone and they can’t take five minutes to drop a thank you note in the mail to show their appreciation. I have even sent them to seminar speakers in the past for taking time out of their busy schedules to come and talk to my group. It just seems right.

    Thanks again! -Bethany

  • amy

    I was taught to send thank-yous, even for the smallest gift. I especially mail them to my relatives who are out of state that I do not get to talk to or see often. A simple thank-you goes a long way! I wish more people did it – who wouldn’t love to get a hand written thank you?!

  • Amanda Chan

    Totally right! I’ll start sending hand written thank-you cards now :)

  • Cluny Grey

    I would say instead of sending within 2 or 3 months, that 2 or 3 weeks would be more on point!

  • Mariella
    This book is great and talks a lot about lady laws too!!

  • Lena Ameri

    Thank you notes are SOOOO important! I am in charge of hiring at my job and out of all the interviews I’ve done, I’ve only ever received one thank you note. It makes a huge difference and no one does it anymore!! Be one of the few!

    For more helpful tips, check out my magazine:

  • Taanjaa

    I think this should be a New Year resolution!

  • Christine Rosko

    I love these. Written notes are always best in my opinion. I’ve actually decided to do A Year of Gratitude writing notes to a different person every week for the whole year. If you have a second, I would love for you check out my blog post all about it!

  • With Love, Mairi <3

    Just a quick question Lauren, do you think sending the letter in the mail is better than giving it in person because I usually feel awkward when people open a card from me, in front of me.

  • saffy bt

    never fail to say thank U,letter or message,small or big cause just always remember the word THANK U.coz it makes a big difference and a lot means to someone who apreciate and hear of what u say THANK U. ;D

  • Nikki

    I really enjoy writing thank you notes. I like the gesture behind it and the actual act of sitting down and writing a letter to express gratitude. I think if someone is going to take the time to give me a gift or do something nice/ generous, it’s only right to send a thank you note to them.

  • AnselSf

    In my country it’s not that usual to send thank you notes. Also, the mail doesn’t have quite a good service, so things could be easily stuck there for a month.
    However, muy aunt thaught me to write thank you notes and give them in person. Otherwise (if I won’t be able to see the person soon enough) I’ll just write a thoughtful medium-length e-mail.

    It’s amazing how great responses I get every time I send one. People always end up being thankful themselves, for receiving the notes. :)

    Thank you, Lauren!
    Love the etiquette posts! :))

  • oa

    Looking for advice! I received a bracelet as a college graduation gift from my boyfriend’s parents in person. I of course thanked them in person when I got it. I’d like to give them a thank you note, but am wondering if that’s too much…it will probably say exactly what I was going to say in person. I just got back from vacation so I was going to write it on a pretty post card I got. Thoughts??


    so cute!!! i have a long time not to receive thank-you notes since i grow up,nowadays we all email to express our thanks.Lauren, do you think which is best ,sending hand written thank-you cards or email.

  • The nested turtle

    I love this post! I recently started a home based greeting card business and I hope to help to help bring back the written word with fun unique cards. I’d love to share this post with my followers!

  • Suzanne White

    When writing Thank you notes be sure to begin with Thank you for….. not I want to thank you. You are thanking the gifter with this letter not saying you will be thanking the gifter at a later date. I learned this from my 12th grade English teacher a long time ago.

  • jw

    This is a great post and manners and etiquette are so important.
    Even sending out birthday cards seems to be dying out due to social networking :(

    Now just one question, I got married in August and I haven’t sent any thank you’s out yet because I’m still waiting for my professional photos to be able to send out thank you cards with a photo from the wedding on it. I am still going to send them when I eventually receive the photos but does anyone think my guests may think its a bit late? Or is it better late than never? At this rate I’ll be posting them with my Christmas cards!

    I also received a thank you card from one of our guests for inviting them and having a lovely day, was such a lovely card to receive in the post :) especially amongst post wedding blues haha!

    • Bridget

      I actually did the same thing as you but I got married a few months before you (March). Unfortunately, life got in the way and I was unable to send out my wedding thank notes until this month along with our photo Christmas cards. So far only one person snubbed the idea, but thankfully everyone else is understanding and loved the idea because they received what they wanted…gratitude for their gift and a photo of the newlyweds. It’s a win, win! Remember, better late than never! Hope that helps! :)

  • Marcie Lynn Florance

    Wow! That makes complete sense! I used to always start with “”I want to thank you….”” I will always do this now!

  • Marcie Lynn Florance

    If you are going to write it on a post card from the vacation you could let them know you wore this on your trip, were thinking of them, etc… and reiterate how much you love it. It is never overbearing when it comes from your heart.

  • katie at Miss enchanting

    I have always sent handwritten thank you notes…I think it adds a sincere and graceful touch to your gratitude. It still amazes me how surprised some people are when they receive a thank you card- they really appreciate the thought and the effort.

    Katie x

  • csmerkt

    i am a HUGE believer in TY notes, so THANK YOU for including this on the site!
    ps love the shirt you are wearing, i adore it in my closet and on me at work :)

  • The Single Diaries

    I love sending handwritten notes and have a favorite card store that I always pick mine up from. There’s always a reason to be thankful and a well-written card is such a nice way to express your appreciation whether its to say “thanks for letting me stay with you” or “thanks for the great gift”. These are great tips to make sure your note has the perfect personal touch!

    Jen Hacker | The Single Diaries

  • Marissa Jokisch

    Hey there! Thanks for the tips!

    I am currently fundraising for the Arthritis Foundation, my daughter has juvenile arthritis and we made a team page for a walk we are participating in next Spring, and we have a donation goal. We have started to see a couple donations come in so I wanted to know: the money is going to the organization, but is a thank you note appropriate to send to the people that gave to the organization through our team page? It means a lot to me that they are supporting us even if the money isn’t going directly to us.

    I’ve seen posts online about organizations sending thank you notes for donations but nothing specific about individual fundraising like this. Thanks for any help you can give me!

    • Carey

      Marissa, I raised money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and sent handwritten thank you note to each of my donors. Many were surprised and extremely appreciative of my gesture.

  • Jessica

    I can be the first to tell you that thank you notes after an interview can go a long way and be very beneficial, it has helped me gain employment in a few places, so yes please pay attention, it really does help!

  • Betsy

    Love the tips! My mom always taught me to write handwritten thank you notes. Quick question, where is her top from?

  • Theresa Y.

    What great ideas – especially dropping a note in your host’s mailbox. How cute! I always send e-mails after an interview with a sentence about something we had in common.

  • Katie Chase

    I have always sent thank-you notes! It’s something my Grandmother taught me and I will continue to send them. Great advice :)

  • Brittney

    I have been invited to go to Lake Tahoe with my boyfriends family for the 4th of July. Should I send a thank you note to his family for inviting me, or is that weird?



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