Mastering Modern Thank You Card Etiquette: When To Write Thank You Notes in 2024

Remember when thank you cards were as common as a cup of morning coffee? For many, the days of handwritten thank you cards are long gone, replaced by the convenience and immediacy of electronic communications like text or email.

The etiquette for sending thank you notes is less clear than it used to be, so we set out to discover and share the new rules for when to write thank you notes.

So, what constitutes proper thank you card etiquette in 2024? Is it rude not to send thank you cards?

To get to the bottom of the thank you card conundrum, we surveyed our customers to find out how many still send thank you cards and when.

In this post, we’ll explore the new etiquette for sending thank you notes by diving into the do’s and don’ts of modern thank you card etiquette, navigating the fine line between tradition and today’s tech-savvy world. Stick around as we uncover the essence of gratitude in the digital age, reminding you that saying thank you never goes out of style.

Thank You Card Etiquette: Timing Matters

Before the internet revolutionized the way we communicate with each other, thank you cards were the norm for all sorts of occasions, from post-party pleasantries to job interview follow-ups. Nowadays, they’re mostly seen after weddings and baby showers—and even those sometimes slip through the cracks

Here’s the most important “rule” of thank you card etiquette to remember: It’s not about method, it’s about sentiment. In other words, it’s more important to say thank you in a timely manner than to prioritize how you say thank you. A handwritten card may be the most heartfelt, but a quick text or email is better than no card and no thank you at all.

Survey Says…

A personalized thank you is more than just a piece of paper, it’s a heartfelt gesture that reciprocates any kindness that’s been shown to you. Thank you cards also serve a practical purpose beyond sentimentality—they confirm that a gift or item was actually received, which is especially important for items that were purchased online and shipped directly to their intended recipient.

Throughout the month of March, The Paper Mill Store
asked our customers to share their opinions about today’s etiquette for sending thank you notes. We received over 100 responses to our survey. Here are the results:

Out of 109 respondents, 105 customers have recently sent or would send a thank you card in 2024.

We also asked our respondents when to write thank you cards. Unsurprisingly, weddings and other major events topped the list. But we were surprised that so many still send thank you cards after job interviews!


8 respondents claimed they only send thank you cards after weddings and other events, while 21 answered that they’d send a thank you card after every situation we listed (we see you, and we love you). Thank you cards prevail!

Why Handwritten Wins

Let’s get real—literally. There’s something special about receiving a physical thank you card. The sound of slicing open an envelope, the texture of the paper on your fingertips, and even the smell of fresh paper and envelope glue all help make receiving a handwritten note a memorable experience. Handwritten notes add an extra touch of sincerity that you just can’t replicate with a digital message, and on top of that, they’re less likely to get lost in the black hole of your inbox.

Whether you agree with that sentiment or not, if you’re aiming for heartfelt, always go for the real deal. Over 95% of our survey respondents agree, and so do we.

A common gripe about sending thank you cards is not having addresses or stamps at the ready. If that’s what’s holding you back from sending thank-yous, digital thank yous are the way to go. Again, a prompt thank you via any channel is better than no thank you at all. Digital cards might not have that same tactile charm, but they’re better than skipping the gesture altogether.

If you do opt for email, take a second to personalize it before you hit send. Nobody wants to feel like they’re just another name on your mailing list.

Sending thank you cards promptly is always ideal, but sometimes life gets in the way. And let’s not forget the U.S. Postal Service—they’ve got their own schedule, and “prompt” isn’t always the name of the game. So, if time is of the essence, an email can do the trick. For an extra dose of gratitude, you can always follow it up with a printed card later.

When To Write Thank You Notes

Now we’ll dig into the big question—is it rude not to send thank you cards? When should you send a thank you card, and when can you get away with a quick text, call, or email?

We’ll compare pre-internet thank you card etiquette to the new rules of the digital era to help you decide which method works in your unique situation.

Find out when to send thank you cards:

After a job interview

Pre-internet times:


In 2024, a follow-up email is standard after a job interview—it’s fast, after all. But hiring managers get a lot of emails, and a handwritten note can really make you stand out if you’re aiming for an offer (especially if you can get your card in quickly; this is absolutely the time to invest in speedy postage.) 41% of our survey respondents agree!

After a baby shower



Babies take a village to raise, and it’s important that you let your village know that you care and appreciate their time, energy, and any gifts they share with you. Take note of who gave you what at your baby shower so you can personalize your thank you notes accordingly.

After a wedding



Wedding gifts always warrant a thank you card, even in 2024. People travel, take time off work, and invest in a gift, so the least you can do is thank them with a card. Plus, thank you cards will signal to anyone who couldn’t attend but who still sent a gift that you did, in fact, receive their gift.

Don’t panic about how many cards you have to write—you do have a bit of leeway during your newlywed era. Common etiquette states you have up to a year to send thank yous after a wedding.

After a birthday



An in-person thank you, phone call, or text is often sufficient in 2024, but if someone went out of their way to get you a gift, it never hurts to show them you appreciate the effort—especially if you didn’t get to see them and they had your gift delivered.




Small tokens like flowers may not require a thank you card, but more substantial gifts (such as cash) should be recognized with a note of similar significance.

You received a holiday gift



Sending an individual, personalized holiday card to everyone who got you a gift is (hopefully!) a big task. A thank you card isn’t necessary, but it will be appreciated, especially for larger gifts or if you traveled and stayed with family or friends.

According to etiquette experts Debrett’s, “in the digital age, a handwritten thank you note will always look spontaneous and heartfelt and is preferable to an email or text message. Always try to write a thank you letter promptly, and at the latest by Twelfth Night (6th January).”

If terms like “Twelfth Night” feel like a relic of a times past, you’re on the mark. While it’s a good rule of thumb to write holiday thank yous within two weeks, no one is going to stick their nose up if a card arrives after January 6.

Someone did you a favor



Did your neighbor unexpectedly snowblow your driveway after a blizzard? Did a friend help you move or take care of your dog while you went on vacation? A thank you card isn’t necessary under these circumstances, but it will certainly be appreciated (and it will probably help you build goodwill for any future favors you might request).

Someone hosted you



Did you stay with family and friends while visiting another city or country? Even if they were pleased as punch to have you, a thank you card will certainly be appreciated once you get home, especially if they went out of their way to accommodate you or took time off work to show you around.

Someone babysat your kids



You don’t need to specially thank your usual babysitter, but if someone volunteered their time, stepped up last minute so you could have a date night, or covered your childcare in an otherwise stressful situation, a note of thanks wouldn’t be amiss.

Someone wrote you a recommendation



If your boss, teacher, or anyone else takes the time to write you a letter of recommendation, you should take the time to dash off a thank you note. It’s a good way to maintain your goodwill and keep the professional relationship strong (in addition to showing your gratitude).

You attended a dinner party



If someone made the effort to gather friends and prepare you a meal, it’s always a good idea to follow up with a small thank you (and offer compliments to the chef)—especially if you want to get invited back next time!

Thanking your kids’ teachers



Teachers don’t get the appreciation they deserve, and a heartfelt thank you from a grateful parent can brighten their day. Whether they went above and beyond for your kid or simply made sure they go through the school year, teachers always deserve a thank you card at the end of the term.

Other circumstances

Of course, there are no limits to when to send a thank you note! Our survey respondents chimed in on what other circumstances they feel warrant a handwritten card. Here’s what they said:

  • Bar/bat mitzvahs
  • Milestone birthdays
  • For any kindness shown
  • After receiving a donation
  • After meeting a new contact as a “nice to meet you” reminder
  • When a special favor has been done for you
  • Church staff and volunteers
  • To people in service positions
  • Sometimes for a friend giving moral support or just being a great part of my life
  • For things people have done for me or for just being them
  • Anytime someone does something over and above
  • After a customer makes a purchase or buys a service

Final Notes

Opinions over thank you card etiquette may differ, but one thing is clear: whether you jot it down on paper or type it on your phone a text, saying thank you never goes out of style.

Weddings and other events remain at the top of the “when to send a thank you note” list, but many still send thank you cards after other occasions—or for no reason at all. While thank you cards may not be as necessary or commonplace as they were in the pre-internet times, a handwritten note of thanks will always be appreciated.

Shop for everything you need to craft your own thank you cards at The Paper Mill Store:

Read more card making guides:

Buy More Paper, Save More Dough

5% OFF $500+

with code 500SALE

Up to 25% OFF