Post Holiday Etiquette

During the holidays, did a neighbor surprise you with homemade pastries and preserves? Did you receive any unexpected social invitations from friends or distant relatives? The holiday season is a time of numerous dinner invitations, parties, gift giving, and showing others that you care through good deeds and acts of kindness. This timeof the year can be so exuberating to people who find joy in giving. How uplifting it was to find that perfect gift for a sister or friend, finally make time to invite neighbors over for cookies and hot cocoa, or impress guests with your newly acquired culinary skills.

Post holiday etiquette often involves the acknowledgement of others’ generosity. The tangible process of showing gratitude through thank you cards and notes completes the circle of giving and receiving. A handwritten thank you note is one of the kindest ways to express your appreciation. Failure to acknowledge gifts and good deeds can soil your reputation and wreck relationships.

For those of you that dread writing (especially men), a proper thank you response is not required to be long and elaborate. It’s the thought that counts. Your note can contain as few as four sentences. Be sure, however, to be specific and personable. Content elements could include: acknowledgement of the gift or deed; appreciation of the gift or deed; your thoughts on how the deed made you feel, or share how the gift will be used. Also included within your note should be some mention of something other than gratitude for the gift. Lastly, a final remark of greeting and affection should conclude your note. Remember to use your best penmanship when writing and try and mail your card within a week.

The following is an example of a note written in appreciation for a dinner hosted by a friend:

Dear Cheryl,

I was so surprised and delighted to receive your dinner invitation. It has been a while since we’ve seen each other. You outdid yourself on the meal. I enjoyed every dish; however my favorite was the crab cakes with Cajon sauce. Your culinary schooling really paid off. So many of your friends and I are anxiously awaiting the opening of your restaurant. My fondest appreciation for a wonderful evening with great food and friends.

Gratefully yours,

Tina Hayes


Finalize your holiday season on a “positive note” and be assured that your gratitude is acknowledged. Let someone know that their time, effort, good deed or generosity was appreciated.

Have a question or comment for Tina, email her at

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Tina Hayes is the founder and owner of The School of Etiquette and Decorum in Antioch, CA. As a passionate instructor dedicated to providing quality and professional etiquette training to her clients, Mrs. Tina Hayes promotes the awareness that social presentation and behaviors are important to be successful in today's society for all ages.