If so, when's the right time to mail it?
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The holiday season has officially arrived, and so have the invitations to all of those celebratory parties. Get-togethers with family and friends are one of the most joyful parts of the holiday season, but for the host or hostess, they're also a lot of work. Keep this in mind as your parties draw nearer, and be sure to stock up on plenty of thank-you cards ahead of time. Sending a hand-written message is a must-do post-event, but it's also one you should be prepared for before you arrive at the doorstep, says etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, author of Modern Etiquette for a Better Life ($9.19, amazon.com) and founder of The Protocol School of Texas.

woman writing in blue holiday card
Credit: Getty / JGI / Jamie Grill

"Anytime somebody invites you to an event, especially something that's as special as a holiday party, you want to show your gratitude for being included and on the guest list," she explains. "A hand-written note is going to be a really nice touch to let them know that you appreciate the inclusion." Ahead, everything you need to know about holiday thank-you notes, from how to approach the process when an event has more than one host to how to word your card.

You may need to write more than one thank-you card per party.

If there are multiple hosts, you may need to send more than one thank-you card. It is appropriate to send a single note if the party's two hosts are in a committed relationship and live together, but if there are multiple hosts that aren't in a partnership or live separately, you'll want to send separate cards to each.

Send your cards the day after the party.

The holidays are an extremely busy time, and it can be easy to let writing these tokens of thanks fall through the cracks. Whatever you do, don't wait until the New Year to send them, urges Gottsman. Ultimately, the faster you can mail these cards, the better. "The right time to send it is the next day," she explains. No matter how busy you are, "you can carve out five minutes " to express your gratitude.

Be specific while writing.

As for what you should include in your card? Open with a sentiment of thanks—and then recount a special memory from the evening, notes Gottsman: "[Include] something specific about the night and then, 'I hope you have a happy holiday season and I look forward to getting together in the New Year.' As you close, mention a future connection."

Use this season's stamps.

Your thank-you card's exterior is important as its interior message—so don't overlook those exterior elements, like the envelope (choose a crisp seasonal color) and postage. "Pay attention to the envelope and stamp," advises Gottsman. "Don't use an outdated stamp or one from a different holiday season."


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