Phyllis’ Guide to Correct Living


This time every year I am inundated with questions concerning holiday thank-you notes.

Dear reader:

It’s not complicated, and you’ll be pleased to know that you needn’t write a note to everyone who gives you a gift. Here, dear hearts, are Phyllis’ rules for holiday thank-you not etiquette.

There is no need to write a note if the gift was given in person and you have verbally thanked the giver. Do write a note, however, if you are not able to thank the giver personally. This also is important for letting the person know you received the gift. Having to write a note has its bright side as it means one less holiday reveler you were forced to make merry with at a party where everyone is making too much noise and someone just spilled something that smells like nutmeg all over your dress.

The note can be something simple such as:

Thank you so much for your thoughtful gift! What a unique present: personalized socks with your cat’s picture on them! Now I can feel close to little Rumpum even when I can’t be there getting scratched and bitten by him as I was last spring. I hope the holidays have been joyous for you and that the year ahead brings nothing but happiness!

One should always do one’s best to send a note within one week of receiving a holiday gift. However, when one considers the busyness of the holidays, what with Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, St. Lucy’s Day and Boxing Day all being winter holidays, two weeks is permissible.

In addition, one should always send a thank-you note within one to two weeks after attending a dinner party.

Another question I hear is whether emails are appropriate in lieu of handwritten notes. No, no they are not, though there are some who will tell you otherwise. I will say this about that: An email is better than no reply at all. If you’ve broken both hands in a gift-opening accident but can tap out an email with your elbow, an email is better than nothing ­– but not much.

So, there you have it, my friends: Everything you need to know about holiday thank-you notes. May you receive many gifts this year is boxes, gift bags and, best of all, in the hearts of those who love you!

Appropriately yours,



Teece Aronin

Teece Aronin is a blogger and columnist. Teece writes a humor/health and wellness column for the Oakland Press and is the Featured Writer for October at Her artwork is available at the store, phylliswalter, and Teece seriously considers any request for workshops, coaching, and speaking engagements. Read her blog at, contact her at and follow her on Twitter @taronin

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