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20-40-60 Etiquette Does a get well gift require a thank-you note?
By Callie Gordon, Helen Ford Wallace and Lillie-Beth Brinkman | Published: June 3, 2012
QUESTION: Am I obligated to write a thank-you note after getting a gift when I was in the hospital? I thanked the person who brought it by and I have not had time since I have been home to write one. Would an email suffice? It has been a month now. How should I handle this one? Thank you.
CALLIE'S ANSWER: Due to you being in the hospital I do not think you need to write a thank-you note. If you feel like you need to thank them again, send a quick email explaining how nice it was for them to come see you.
LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: This is a question that I know the answer to but often fall short with this in the rush of life. People are so thoughtful and kind and I was raised to thank them, with a note, for gifts and kind gestures. An email is not the same, but perhaps it is better than not writing a note at all.
The length of time I feel guilty about not thanking people properly, with the right sentiment and long, well-thought-out notes is far longer than the amount of time it would have taken to actually write a thank-you note.
Even though my perfectionism slows me down, don't let yours or anything else delay you in getting one out. Since you were in the hospital, I think people will understand why it took a month to write back.
HELEN'S ANSWER: Yes, take time to write a thank-you note, even if it is a little late. Let your friend know that you feel better now and that you certainly appreciated the gift and good thoughts while you were in the hospital. It is important. Thank you note writing is still a wonderful tradition.
GUEST'S ANSWER: Mary McReynolds, book author: Yes, you are obligated. All gifts are to be acknowledged with a handwritten note or thank-you card. The person who gave you the gift took the time and care to give you a gift. You can take the time and care to acknowledge it with gratitude. Sorry if this sounds like a “must do,” but it is a “must do.”
Keep thank-you cards on hand for such occasions.
Signed, Mary McReynolds, whose mother raised her to write thank-you notes, always.
To ask an etiquette question, email email@example.com. For more 20-40-60 etiquette, go to blog.newsok.com/partiesextra.