The party’s over, cakes eaten, gifts are opened. Now what’s next? You are not finished. Proper etiquette requires “thank you” cards. Yes they are a pain, but until your kids are old enough to write their own, it is up to you.

Your guests want to know that you like the gift they bought. Even if you hate it, a little white lie won’t hurt anyone, and it will make them feel good about the time and effort that went into choosing the gift.

I am still old fashioned and like to send out handwritten thank you cards by mail or hand delivery. You can buy thank you cards or notecards from most stationary stores. I usually design my own card and then write a little message from the birthday boy on the back.

Sample Thank You Messages:

Opening: “I am so glad you were able to come to my birthday party. I hope you had as much fun as I did.”  “Thanks for helping me celebrate my 3rd Birthday.”  “Sorry you were not able to come to my Birthday party, I wish you were there.”

Middle:  “Thank you for your awesome Bob The Builder Tool Kit I love using the tools to help my daddy fix things.” “Thank you so much for the vouchers for Toys ‘R’ Us.  My mommy bought me a really cool red fire truck that I like to push around.”

Closing: “Let’s meet up again soon.” “Let’s have our mommies plan a play-date soon”.  “See you at the school.” “Hope we can play again soon.”

Signed: “xoxo”, “Your Friend”, “Love”

Sometimes if the present is really popular with my boys, I go out of my way to also call or text the person (in addition to the thank you card). I sometimes even take pictures of them playing with the toy and text it to them.

One mom told me that she had been to ton of birthday parties and had never received an actual thank you card before.  Her kids liked the card so much that it was now hanging on their fridge.  It made the writer’s cramp I got from writing over 50 cards almost worth it!

Non-Traditional Thank Yous
You and I both know it is important to teach your kids to say thank you and be appreciative of the gifts they receive.  If you don’t have time to send out a traditional thank you card, don’t worry.  The point is to say Thank You – any method will suffice.  Here are some other non-traditional ways that still get the same message across:

  • Email: A personalized email thank you, with a similar message as the traditional card.  To make it extra special, you can attach either a generic picture of the birthday boy, or a picture of the guest at the party.
  • E-Card:  Many websites like 1-2-3 Greetings, Yahoo Greetings, Hallmark, etc. have free thank you e-cards.
  • Personalized Text, Phone Call or Personal Conversation:  “Just wanted to call/text/tell you personally and say thanks for coming to the party and thanks so much for your gift.  Mary really loves the pink princess outfit you bought her, she even wants to sleep in it!”

Generic Email or Text
If you are still really strapped for time, one generic email or text to all the party guests is still passable. It doesn’t matter how you say thank you, but a thank you after a party is a must.  One way to still somewhat personalize a generic message is to take a picture of birthday boy/girl opening all the presents or blowing out the candles on the cake.  Then attach that picture to the generic email/text.

Congratulations, now that the Thank Yous are all done, you can finally rest – this year’s birthday party is officially over!

Extra “Super” Tip:  When you receive a thank you card show your kids the card and read it to them. This will hopefully teach them the importance of saying “Thank You” when they receive something.  Also, when they are old enough, make them write out the cards themselves and/or do a personalized drawing on each card.