I am here to declare handwritten thank you notes will never go out of style.
Yes, handwriting a thank you note takes a bit more time and effort than a text. But writing a thank you note in response to a gift is more than doing the proper thing that makes your grandmother happy. A thank you note becomes a gift itself!
Before you panic, read on for simple step-by-step instructions on how to write a thank you note. I will even help you write a thank you note for gifts you don’t like!
The basic format of a thank you note
Begin with a greeting
The simplest way to begin a thank you note is with the classic Dear (name). Always address the person the same way you would in real life. If you have a more formal relationship then it is best to continue that: Dear Mr. Rodriguez. If you had a more casual or closer relationship then it might make sense to begin with a familiar greeting the two of you use in real life.
Say thank you and add some details
Begin by stating what you are thanking the person for and add a descriptive word if possible: Thank you for the beautiful hand-knit scarf.
Follow that up with another sentence or two with more detail. You might comment on an attribute of the gift or how you intend to use it. The color matches my coat beautifully. I know I’ll enjoy it all winter long when walking across campus.
Need help with what kind of details to share? Keep reading to find out some specific things to share for different kinds of thank you notes!
If it makes sense for the particular circumstance, you might also comment on the actions or thoughtfulness of the gift giver. I am always so impressed with your knitting skills!
Close the note with a last expression of thanks
Before signing off, I like to include one last expression of gratitude. Thank you again for the thoughtful gift. Then close the note with a phrase that suits your relationship with the person and the occasion: Love or With gratitude or With appreciation. Finish by signing your name.
Different kinds of thank you notes need different details
Thank you notes for gifts (including ones you don’t like!)
When writing a thank you note for a gift you always want to state what the item was that you were given. Then the gift giver has confirmation that the gift was received.
If you appreciate the item feel free to add detail explaining what you like about it or how you intend to use it.
If you don’t like the item, still express thanks for it. Then add an additional sentence complimenting the gift givers thoughtfulness: It was kind of you to think of me or Thank you for remembering my birthday.
Thank you notes for gifts of money
For gifts of money it is still appropriate to state what the gift was. In this case the follow up sentences might explain how the money is going to be used. Thank you for the graduation money. I will be putting it towards textbooks. When you’re teaching young children how to write notes, be prepared for their honesty! Thank you for the birthday money. My mom is making me put part of it in the bank.
Thank you notes for help, acts of service, or the gift of time
Again, start by stating what the gift was: Thank you so much for picking up Joseph from track practice on Tuesday and Thursdays.
Follow up with an explanation of the impact their gift had: I am so relieved to have that logistical challenge solved. Your support during this busy season means the world to me. Our family is lucky to have friends like you.
Thank you notes for playing an important role in your life
I like to call these “notes of gratitude.” Sometimes we choose to send them at special occasions like a retirement or the end of a sports season or school year.
There’s never a wrong time to let someone know that you see the work they are doing and that you appreciate their efforts!
Thank the person for what they did for you.
It could be anything that helped you become the person you are today: parenting, grand-parenting, teaching, coaching, mentoring, listening well, showing up when no one else did.
Include details about how they performed their role.
Was your piano teacher especially good at explaining tricky pieces in a way that made sense? Did your college professor push you to be a better writer? Did your friend listen patiently without judgment for over a year until you finally made the change you needed all along? Praise the person for their attributes and good attitude.
Make your thank you note especially heartfelt by explaining the impact the person had on your life.
Think about how they made you feel, what you learned, and how your life turned out differently because of them. Often, people don’t realize the impact of their presence in each other’s lives. Sharing this can be just the encouragement the person needs to continue on with the work they do.
Send your thank you note today
Maybe you’re embarrassed by how much time has passed since you received a gift and you feel like it’s “too late” to send a note. Maybe it has taken a decade or two of your own adulthood to realize the importance of what someone did for you when you were young. That’s ok! Send the late thank you notes anyway. The only time it’s truly too late is when a person has passed away. None of us know when our last day will be. I cannot encourage you enough to take the time to tell someone what they mean to you while you are still able.
Need to stock up on thank you notes?
You might be interested in shopping our Bible verse thank you notes.
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