Saying Thank You – A Worldwide Expression but a British Obsession! - The British Hamper Company

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Saying Thank You – A Worldwide Expression but a British Obsession!

31 Aug 2021

In Britain we use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in almost every social interaction.

We consider it polite and well mannered. In fact, researchers have found that Brits say ‘thank you’ more than any other nation (whether we always mean it is another matter!). We may not be the most tactile nation but we do believe in good manners.

The word ‘thank’ comes from the Latin word ‘tongere’ – meaning ‘think’ and loosely translated it means ‘I will remember what you’ve done for me’.

What occasions do we most often say thank you or show appreciation for?

  • Thanking someone for a gift they’ve given you.
  • Appreciating a loved one on their birthday. Essentially, thanking them for another year of them!
  • Thanking someone for hosting a holiday.
  • Graduations: thanking a tutor for their help, family for their support.
  • Thanking the bride and groom for being invited to their wedding.
  • For anyone who’s gone above and beyond to help you for any reason.
  • Colleagues, team members and staff that have achieved great results or given their all over the year.
  • Random acts of kindness - showing appreciation for a loved one, just because!

Why is it important to say thank you?

  • Saying thank you makes people feel appreciated and loved. It shows that you don’t take their kindness for granted.
  • Studies have shown that saying thank you can lead to a happier life, giving one peace and inner happiness.
  • It spreads positive energy!

What are the most common reasons we forget to say thank you?

  • Receiving a compliment. We often feel embarrassed or too humble to say thanks but it’s nice to acknowledge the person who made it.
  • When you’re late. Rather than ‘sorry I’m late’, a simple ‘thanks for your patience’ would be appreciated - it’s not all about you after all!
  • When someone shares bad news thank them for sharing.
  • For helpful feedback. Use it to improve.
  • After any criticism, hard as it may be. Saying ‘thanks’ is a way of moving on.
  • When in doubt just say ‘thank you’. After all it’s healthy for you!

Saying thank you around the world

Gratitude is a universal emotion, but the way people express it can vary across different languages and cultures.

Whilst western cultures tend to verbally express it, in some parts of the world it’s actually considered rude to express your appreciation to someone who did you a favour!

Saying thank you in India

Saying thank you for every day transactions isn’t necessary as ‘thank you’ implies you’ve done something beyond the call of duty.

They believe it trivialises more significant acts that do require a thank you. Saying thank you for something small – such as holding a door open – can therefore seem sarcarstic.

In fact, using ‘please’ and thank you’ amongst your friends and family is considered completely unacceptable.

Saying thank you in the Philippines

Friends and family are expected to do things for one another so there is no need for a special comment.

Saying thank you in China

In Chinese culture, actions speak louder than words. They believe that if you’re grateful for something – you should return the favour when possible.

Love and appreciation are expressed in other ways than just words - through tolerance and suffrage for example.

Saying ‘thank you’ after receiving a compliment is seen as conceited.  And if someone says thank you to you – you should dismiss it with a phrase such as “no worries”, to not indulge in the appreciation.

What are the best ways to say thank you?

  • A simple ‘thank you’ note.
    Did you know that a man called Louis Prang, an American printer and lithographer, introduced thank you notes to the USA in 1856 and in 1873 created greeting cards for England?  Postage stamps, introduced in 1840, certainly helped the popularity of such cards.
  • Something that takes time, for example cooking a nice dinner or taking a loved one out. Not only does it require a financial offering, but your time too.
  • Thank you chocolates - always a winner!
  • Flowers, bath sets, plants and candles are internationally loved thank you gifts.
  • Personalised gifts. It gives you a chance to put your appreciation into writing as well as giving a physical gift.
  • Surprise, surprise – gift hampers! Our diverse range of food hampers are filled with award-winning food and drink from British artisan producers. Beautifully presented in high quality packaging and including a card on which to write your personal message, this gift will reflect your gratitude. Such a treat to receive - check out our Thank You Gift Collection

How are thank you gifts given across the world?


  • With gifts, presentation is as important as the content.
  • It’s polite to offer or receive a gift using both hands and to wait to open it until the giver has left.
  • Japanese are very conscious of the importance to show gratitude, so give gifts to anyone they are indebted to.
  • Gifts that are received are repaid with something of similar or slightly higher value.


  • A Chinese person will sometimes refuse a gift two or three times before accepting it as this is considered good manners.
  • Gifts are used to express appreciation and there is often an expectation of a reciprocal gift or favour.


  • In Egypt, personal and professional networks are built and maintained partly by exchanging gifts.
  • Gifts are sometimes given to the close relatives of important professional associates to celebrate occasions like weddings and graduations.
  • When visiting someone’s home, a small gift for the children will be gratefully received.
  • Muslims greatly appreciate gifts given to them by non- muslims on occasions like the start of Ramadan.


  • Gifts should be wrapped and presented with the right hand.
  • The thought is more important than the value of the gift and they are not always opened immediately. 
  • Gifts are very important for business relationships.


  • Good taste is very important!
  • When invited to someone’s home one should bring a gift and present it before the meal/party. If bringing flowers one should avoid chrysanthemums (associated with funerals!), red roses (lovers) and carnations (bad luck!).
  • Fine chocolates and champagne will be appreciated.

And let’s finish with some fun quotes on saying thank you.

‘Even though we can’t have all we want, we ought to be thankful we don’t get all we deserve.’  (Author unknown).

‘If you can’t be content with what you have received, be thankful for what you have escaped.’ (Author unknown).

‘I want to say thank you to all the people who walked into my life and made it outstanding and all the people who walked out of my life and made it fantastic’. (Author unknown).

‘We hope that when insects take over the world, they will remember us with gratitude how we took them along on all our picnics’.  William Vaughn (1915-1977) American columnist.

‘God gave us our relatives; thank God we can choose our friends’.  Ethel Watts Mumford.


Need to say thank you? Head online to browse our thank you hampers UK and internationally delivered today.