Congratulating a person known to you for some noteworthy achievement or on a special occasion is a polite and thoughtful gesture. The following examples suggest a few situations and occasions for practicing such thoughtfulness. The letter of congratulations must, of course, reflect genuine sincerity and contain a brief text.
On Using Commercial Cards and E-cards
Birthdays and anniversaries are occasions when the use of the commercial card or e-card by the person pressed for time may be condoned. The thoughts expressed in these cards are often delightful and the receiver will at least acknowledge the sender with remembering him or her. Ifthe user is discriminating in the choice of sentiments conveyed in the printed cards, they serve a valuable purpose. However, among the great variety of mass-produced cards available are some so inappropriately, flippantly and inartistically worded as to cause embarrassment or even hurt to the receiver. The prospective giver of a "comical" card should ask himself before sending if the receiver will be as entertained by it as he is. Even though the sender finds it amusing, it may not evoke a positive response from the reader. If there is that chance that it may offend, embarrass, or cause pain, or that the humor may flop, opt for another card.
The personally written note of congratulations, even though brief, carries with it the impression that the sender took effort. It carries with it warmth and feeling of sincerity that mass-produced cards lack. The handwritten note is assured of a good reception.
Congratulating the Bride and Groom
In writing to bride and groom, the groom receives the congratulations, while to the bride are extended "best wishes."
A letter of congratulations, or any letter for that matter, is most enthusiastically received when it is written promptly. Postponement takes the edge off the reactions of spontaneity which so often add warmth to a friendly relationship.
Acknowledging Letters of Congratulations
It is polite to acknowledge letters of congratulations and good wishes. And it is common courtesy to reply promptly. Anyone who thinks enough of you to write shouldn't have to sit and wait to learn that you have received his good wishes.