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Good heavens, I so admire you. I'm not even going to go on and on about why--anyone who reads your post will know. I wish I could be so generous...home trainin' or not, if I ever encounter Betty the Huge Prancing Ass Clown, I will not hesitate to convene a little Come to Jesus meeting there, on the spot, and impart a little religion on generosity of spirit, learned in the Church of Jen.


renie, i love you. amen.

mrs. dugan, you are an incredible lady.


Dave, when I read your comment this morning (pre-caffeine) I thought to myself, "why is he talking about Bill's mom on my site? I don't get it..."


What is the proper etiquette of sending thank you notes to a group of coworkers who collectively sent a food basket and individually sent donations? Is it okay to send a group email of thanks?


First of all, Boston, let me offer my sympathy on your loss. I hope you find some peace as you grieve.

As for your question, it's a good one. Since I don't know all of the variables affecting your situation, I'm going to address what I (and my rather large family) did. On the face of it I'd have to say that no, you shouldn't send an email no matter how tempted you are.

The individual donations are a constant: be sure to send a thank you card to each person (or couple) who sent a donation. Donations go above and beyond whatever a group might do, so be sure to thank them formally for their kindness.

As for the food basket, how you thank coworkers is really relative to the size of the group and your relationship to them. For instance, if your close group of friends at work went in on a gift, you should thank them all individually. If you got a basket from "The IT Staff" and you work in accounting, it's ok to send one card addressed to their department. If the basket came from the the entire company, you can send one thank you to the whole company. This last one can be tricky if you work for a large corporation, but usually branch offices are the ones responsible for sending "company" condolence gifts, so you can send the note to the office in which you work.

In the instances where you know a person went in on the company gift and made a donation, obviously you can thank them for both in a single note.

Tara SToddard

I am looking for some type of card that would be different than the usual "funeral home" bereavement thank you cards. I have a quote that I want to include on the inside, but I am having difficulty finding an "outside." Any suggestions? Thanks.


Tara, I'm sorry for your loss. I hope you're surrounded by all the love and support you need.

Everyone's tastes are different so I'm not sure what to suggest. For the family thank yous I used a combination of those my father purchased from the funeral home and some extras we got from Hallmark. I wasn't thrilled with doing that, but I just put it down to occupational snobbery on my part (I'm a graphic designer by trade) paired with grief and got on with it. Perhaps if I'd had more time and energy I'd have designed my own...alas...

In looking for cards online I found that there are so many companies offering "personalized" cards that don't really allow them to be truly personalized. By that I mean that they give you umpteen choices of sunset, mountain, flying bird imagery and 15 different verses, a place to write your loved one's name and perhaps a date, but that's not personalized. Personalized is really what I think you're looking for--you want a company that will allow you to type in the verse you've already selected, offer choices of suitable images and then print them for you, right? If you're lucky enough to have an image that you already know you want to use, you could always order printed cards from a site like this (note: I have never used this company, so I'm not vouching for their quality, just offering them as a suggestion), or design and print your own.

One of the things I ran into almost right away was just how awkward it was to start a thank you note when the cover of the card already said thank you, so don't feel like you have to pick a card with that printed right up front. There is nothing wrong with purchasing attractive stationery and then hand printing your verse on the inside along with your thank you message. While it's time consuming, it does add a personal touch that cannot be denied.

It sounds noncommital, but ultimately, whatever you decide will be the right choice.

Judy Barnes

I can't believe I found this beautiful site. I lost my beloved mother last week suddenly. I have a large family, five brothers and sisters. My mother was a very wonderful Italian mother. She lived for her family. Went to Mass every day. Had a fabulous personality and was truly a good person -- everyone loved her. Over a thousand people showed up for her viewing, and nearly 500 the next day at the funeral Mass. We have lots of people to thank and I wanted to do something like Tara mentioned above. I'm wondering, Tara, would you mind sharing the quote you're using on the inside of the card? I've been trying to find something appropriate. I have found an elegant card that opens at the Crane site. Thought I would print a formal thank you from the family and then we would be able to write a little personal note below. I just can't come up with the formal but personal printed part. Any help would be so appreciated.
Once again, I am so glad to have found you wonderful people. It's really comforting. Thank you!


Judy, I'm sorry for your loss--but what a wonderful testament to your mother that so many people came to pay their respects! I think people don't realize how much that means to the survivors to see that their loved one lived such a full life.

When you mentioned the Crane site, I wondered why I didn't think to suggest them before--they do have beautiful papers and have several options for simple thank you cards. However, and I hesitate to mention this because no one wants to be "cheap" regarding a loved one's funeral, their cards do run high (20 cards for $10-24), and if you have limited funds with which to pull off the funerary rites, this might not be the best way for you to proceed. (But I still highly recommend Crane's papers--love them!)

Tara, if you check back in, please share the quote with the class. I've had quite a few people land here because of the Lincoln quote a friend posted (he lost his grandmother within a week of my mother's death and found it in his own search).


Tara emailed me this in response to Judy's question and gave me permission to post it here:

Thanks once again for the e-mail.  It really amazes me as to how people such as yourself, care about others whom you have never met. I haven't been back to the website, but I am glad you e-mailed me. I will be happy to share  what I have decided to do in regards to the notes................. I'm not sure that it will help Judy since her mother passed away suddenly............... my Mom had been sick for quite awhile, although she was only 72, but she always bounced back and we just had expected her to this time as well. However, I think our mothers would have been good friends! It seems as if they both were loved, admired, and inspired many. They will be missed not only by their families, but numerous others as well. My Mom passed away on Feb. 8, and it still seems like a bad dream......... She and my Dad live next door to us, and I just can't believe she's not there.
Anyway, my Mom had sort of "adopted" her doctor and he referred to her as "Aunt Gwen." Flowers arrived from Dr. Hall with a card in which he had written: 
She Exhibited The Greatest Degree
 Of Strength And Dignity In The
Face Of A Debilitating Disease And
Always Managed To Be Upbeat And
So, with Dr. Hall's permission, I changed "she" to "Gwen Hancock" and will use it on the front of the card I chose. It just summed my Mom and her attitude and love perfectly.............  I will write the thank you note on the inside of the card. I will be happy to share with you the exact card I chose as it was a heavier weight paper and I thought it was elegant yet soft, with an airy watercolor feel. However, I found the card at a local shop here in my hometown and did not write down the name of the company etc. They are printing an "example" for me and I will be glad to get and send you the information when I go back to the store to preview it.
Thank you again for your care and concern.

Michele NeJaime

I just lost my sweet mom. Quickly, I am learning how different the world is for me now. I need help... I am at a loss for the right words to thank my sixth grade students and parents. Several have given me gifts and I just can't seem to find the words to thank them. I really would appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks heaps.



I'm very sorry for your loss but I am thankful that you have such wonderful students who are thoughtful enough to offer their support. It might not seem like it now but in time those messages and gifts will become even more precious to you.

I am going out on a limb here, but my guess is that part of your uncertainty about what to write is that the gifts come from children (and their parents, but usually when kids give teachers presents, the parents' involvement is merely to foot the bill). Thank you notes written to children may seem to require a different set of language than adults, but they don't. Really, as long as what you say expresses what you feel in your heart--honestly appreciative for their kindness--the words don't really matter.

Still, just in case that doesn't help you get started, here is a suggestion:

Dear Chantal (and Mr & Mrs Jones if they put their names to the gift),

Thank you for your thoughtful gift of (brownies/cookies/angel figurine). Knowing that you understand how much my mother meant to me is a definite comfort as I grieve her loss. You are a very special person/special people for offering me your support and I will never forget that.

Ms. NeJaime

Hopefully this will be of help to you but if you have further conditions or questions, please feel free to ask.


Words, words, please. What can one say to thank pallbearers? My mind seems to go blank as I stare at the empty card. These people were so specially chosen, what can convey that meaning?



I'm sorry that I've not seen this comment to respond sooner.

I'm going to take a chance that this will still even be remotely helpful to you, but most of the bearers at my mother's funeral wound up being family. In my case this made writing them a thank you a bit easier, as did mentioning their devotion to my mother for having driven through a flood to be there (I'm not kidding, there was a flood).

Dear James,

You were such a large part of John's life that there was really no question about what part you should play in his funeral service. We are sincerely thankful that you agreed to serve as a pallbearer. It is during such difficult times that you truly realize the value of friendship/family.


You could, if you wanted to, add a specific anecdote about their relationship to the deceased, but keeping it short is totally acceptable.


Thank you for this site. It is so compassionate, supportive and helpful.
Your replies to others demonstrate your gift for saying the right thing at the right time.

Lisa Zais

Wow, what a wonderful site. Thank you. My dear mother died on February 20th from Pancreatic Cancer. She had been doing awesome and changed her medicine to an at home chemo pill. Had a bad reaction. Went in for fluids and never came home. We all thought she was coming home even the doctor until the night before. Needless to say we are all devestated. We come from a large Italian family and I have family that are probably waiting for their thank you's. This is weighing on my mind. I have been searching for something different. I can't possibly send out the funeral home thank you cards. I promised myself after Mother's Day that I would make the time and mental time to find cards. I found your website and what a big help. I found a quote that really somes up my mother's bravery in her fight to overcome Pancreatic Cancer. Thank you so much for this site. I am now looking for a basic verse.

Lisa Zais

Lisa Zais

Excuse my typo on the previous email. (somes should be sums)

Karen Hudson

My mother passed away one month ago,two months after breaking her hip. She was a beautiful women outside and in and our family will never be the same. I have not been able to settle down and write thank yous to all the people providing kindness during this very difficult time. This outstanding site has given me the best information I could ever ask for. Thank you so much
for this blessing.


This is a wonderful site and I have learned a lot about thank you notes. My problem is how to sign the thank you card. I recently "hosted" a funeral for my aunt who died at the age of 99. I was her guardian and conservator for 10 years. Her husband and son had predeceased her. The funeral was small and consisted mostly of family members. Do I sign the tank you card "the family of" of sign my name?


Hi Judy,

My condolences on your loss, but what a testament to your family that you took care of your aunt for ten years before she passed! Sadly, I know some children who wouldn't give their own parents such care—let alone an aunt.

Anyway, this is the advice of someone with many machinations in her family, so take it with a grain of salt if you feel this does not apply to your situation: I'd not sign off "The family of" since most of the people who attended the funeral—and whom you are thanking—are also family. I've found it surprising how many people (who have no right to) get their nose out of joint at the slightest thing in the wake of someone's death. And you, dear lady, don't need to be dealing with that on top of grieving.

The important thing is that you know you were your aunt's primary care giver during her life (and death).

So what do you say? I'd suggest signing off with either "Sincerely," or "With warmest regards," since it conveys emotion without creating waves within the family.


Thanks for this extremely helpful site. I lost my father last week and am beginning to write all of the thank you notes--there are many as he had so many friends. The info in this site is just what I needed! Carry on with your good work.

Angelina Guzman

My infant son passed away before we were able to print out baby anouncemnts. How common is it to make a "baby anouncement/funeral thank you card" in one? Im at loss for words since my space is limited. I have his name, date of birth - date of passing and our family name. I want to inculde a simple line of thank you. His picture takes up most of the 4X8 card


How do you a send thank you card for flowers if they are from a group of people you work with?


Hi Barbara,

I had to send one to my husband's company so I know the conundrum. I'm just going to refer back to something I posted earlier since I don't know the specifics of your situation.

"How you thank coworkers is relative to the size of the group and your relationship to them. For instance, if your close group of friends at work went in on a gift, you should thank them all individually. If you got a basket from "The IT Staff" and you work in accounting, it's ok to send one card addressed to their department. If the basket came from the the entire company, you can send one thank you to the whole company. This last one can be tricky if you work for a large corporation, but usually branch offices are the ones responsible for sending "company" condolence gifts, so you can send the note to the office in which you work."

If you're asking how to address them in the salutation, I used "Dear Friends at XX Company". I thought that was the best way to include the people who were my husband's friends as well as the powers that be (who were responsible for the gift's purchase).

Fran Levy

My mother passed away ten months ago and I still have not written thank you notes for the donations made in her memory. I was just not up to it until now. I am very embarrassed and wish to thank everyone for their kind donations, but I don't know how to explain why it took me so very long to acknowledge their thoughtfulness. Please help me with how to explain/phrase my extreme lateness in responding.
Thank you,
Fran L.

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