Dear Mrs. McVeigh,
Do you need to write thank you notes for Hostess gifts? How about when someone drops off a small Christmas gift? Thank you.
Official etiquette states that you do not have to write a thank you note for a gift at all, if you are able to verbalize a thank you. I disagree with this, and think you should write thank you notes for birthday gifts and holiday gifts. As for hostess gifts, these gifts are someone saying thank you to you, for having them to your house or for hosting a party for them. In this case it is not necessary to thank someone in a note for her thank you gift.
As for someone dropping off a small gift during the holidays, I think it depends on the relationship with the person. Definitely acknowledge the gift verbally, so the person knows that you received it. If the person is a close friend, and you are in constant contact, I do not think a thank you note is necessary for small gift such as baked goods or a plant. If it is someone you do not have as close of a relationship with or a lot of contact with, then a note is a very nice gesture to express your appreciation of the person thinking of you. Also some people really like or expect thank you notes, so in this case I would definitely write one. If ever in doubt, go ahead and write a note.