When to Write a Thank you Note

Dear Mrs. McVeigh,
I am receiving some small (but thoughtful) gifts from neighbors and friends over the holiday season. They are ranging from baked goods, to a $10.00 limit on an ornament, at an ornament exchange party. I never know if I should write a thank you note or not. What is the rule about when to write a thank you note, or when is it not necessary? And can I email my note?

Dear Anonymous,
If someone brings you something for hosting a party, then no note is necessary. If you are at an ornament exchange party, then you do not have to write a thank you note to the person who you got the ornament from. If someone brings you a gift during the holidays, official etiquette says to write a thank you note. Always hand-write your notes on stationery. Personally I think there can be some exceptions to sending a note. For example, I made some banana bread for a few of my neighbors. I do not expect a thank you note from them. It is a small gift and I see them often, so no note is necessary. If you are ever in doubt of the circumstance, then write a note. People always love receiving ”snail” mail, and really appreciate a hand written note.