The holidays are about a lot of things: family, big dinners, religious services, decorating, making cookies and presents. Receiving gifts gives you the opportunity to say "thank you."
"The nicest 'thank-you' of all is the one you give in person," says Cindy Post Senning, an expert on manners for kids. Ms. Senning says you should make eye contact with the gift-giver and say something nice, such as "Thank you! What a great gift!" If you don't love the present, you don't have to lie, she says. But you can find something to say that makes the gift-giver feel appreciated. Try: "It was so nice of you to think of me."
Maybe you had relatives whom you didn't see over the holidays, but they sent you presents. It's time to write a thank-you note. Thank-you notes are a "nice way to connect" with people and to make your relationships stronger, Ms. Senning says.
Writing them is easy, too. "A thank-you note is just two, three sentences," Ms. Senning says. "That's all it takes. It's just, 'Dear Grandma, Thank you so much for thinking of me. I always enjoy the gifts you send. See you soon!'" It doesn't take a lot of time for you to write a thank-you note, but it will mean a lot to the person getting it in the mail.
Ms. Senning recommends having a family thank-you-note party where everyone sits around the dining room table after the holidays and writes their notes together. As a treat afterward, everyone can have popcorn or ice cream!
Some family members, Ms. Senning says, might prefer a thank-you phone call, and that is fine, too. A nice conversation over the phone might mean more to some people than a thank-you note.
As far as emailing or texting a thank-you note, Ms. Senning says that it's better than nothing. The whole point of saying thanks is to express your respect for the gift-giver and your appreciation for the gift. People go out of their way to give you gifts; it's only fair that you should go out of your way a little bit to say thanks.