Perfect manners with presents

  • If you’re given presents, for special occasions or otherwise, you should always thank the giver.
  • If you open the present in front of the giver, always look pleased and think of something positive to say, even if you don’t like the present or have exactly the same thing already. You should not then need to send a written thank-you.
  • If the present has been sent or given beforehand, you should write a thank–you note as soon as possible after you open it. Mention something specific and positive about the particular present. Some people prefer a hand-written thank you note or letter to a text or e-mail as it shows more effort on your part but whatever you do the main thing is to show appreciation. If you’re late in writing your thank-yous, begin with an apology (not an excuse).
  • You don’t have to spend lots of money on presents for family and friends – you probably don’t have much to spare – but do try to think of something that you know they will like. It really is the thought that counts.
  • Don’t get into ‘present wars’ with friends – trying to be more generous than them on birthdays, giving them presents on every possible occasion, or replying to each present of theirs with another present from you. If they’re good friends they will still be good friends without constant presents.
  • If you’re buying a present as a thank-you for someone you don’t know well (such as a friend’s parent), a small box of chocolates is generally appreciated.


Have perfect manners wherever you are. Check out our other pages:


Behaving well every day
Be sassy
Charm everyone