Everyone has forgetful moments. But forgetting to say “thank you” can be perceived as rude. Although they won’t likely say it aloud, those who have given you gifts may feel offended if you do not acknowledge their gesture. Thankfully, it’s never too late to show your gratitude. The following tips can help you say “thank you” with tact and meaning, even if you’re a little late.
If your thank-you notes are overdue, stop procrastinating. Every day that you wait makes it seem like you’re less grateful. Pick up some thank-you cards from the store. Or better yet, make your own. Set aside some quiet time to fill them out.
Don’t write around the fact that your thank-you note is later than it should be. Be honest and apologize for the delay. For example, you might say, “Please forgive my delay in sending this note. I truly appreciate your gift and the thought you put behind it.” Don’t make excuses unless you have a genuine reason for sending your notes late, such as being ill or dealing with a personal crisis.
Refer directly to the gift that was given and how you used it or plan to use it. For example, “I really enjoyed the silverware set you gave me. Last week, I used it to serve a special dinner to my friends. My friend Jane commented on how beautiful it was.” If you receive a gift card or a gift of cash, let the recipient know what you purchased or what you are saving it for. Feel free to embellish a little, if you’d like.
Make your belated thank-you notes more valuable by including something personal. For weddings or birthdays, a photo of you and the gift-giver is a nice gesture. Or include a photo of you and the gift you received. You could also send a personal letter, a signature recipe or an article or clipping you think the recipient would find interesting. Making the effort to personalize your note shows that you put thought into it and appreciate the person you’re sending it to.
Learn Your Lesson
As you’ve probably learned, it’s easier to send thank-you notes on time. Next time you think you may receive gifts, plan ahead. Have some thank-you notes on hand and set aside some time in the days immediately following the occasion to fill them out.