anatomy of a thank you note

Kids write the best thank you  notes.  A few years ago my brother, sister, and I came across a box of every thank you note we’d ever written to our grandparents.  My adorable grandmother had kept each one and discovering this hidden treasure ended up being one of the best gifts, providing hours of laughter.  We proceeded to read dozens of notes from us to our grandparents spanning nearly 30 years.  My brother was especially skilled at writing thank you notes, such as:

Dear Grandpa and Grandma,
Thank you for the Christmas present.  I’ve been really busy these days.
Thanks again.


Dear Grandpa and Grandma,
Thank you for the $5.00.  I bought a new hamster.

Classic.  We still use these lines in our cards to each other, much to our spouse’s dismay.  Since tomorrow marks one week after Christmas it’s time to send out thank you notes for the thoughtful gifts received.  Last week I sat down, armed with the essentials, to write mine.

thank you card suppliesI believe having certain supplies on hand helps facilitate timely thank you notes.  I am obsessed with Le Pen pens for writing; the point, saturation, and color selection are perfect.  Obviously stamps are needed and I always try to keep several sheets of various themes on hand.  And (again with the stationery!) a set of personalized stationery is one of life’s necessities.  I start by writing my list to ensure I don’t forget anyone and then it’s time for thanking.  I’ve received some wonderful thank you notes and some not-so-awesome thank you notes, so to promote more of the former here are a few hints for writing a gracious thank you note:

thank you note

  • Make sure to specifically mention the gift that was given.  Avoid generic statements like “Thank you for the great gift”.
  • Explain how the gift will be used, e.g. wearing something to work, baking a certain dish, or how a house ware was used.
  • Include an anecdote about the gift, such as mentioning a unique color, how you’ll think of them each time the item is used, etc.
  • If the gift was money or a gift card, explain what was purchased with it (or, if you have the ability to not spend a gift card immediately unlike me, write what you plan to purchase).
  • Remember someone spent their precious time and money to go to the store, buy a present, wrap it, and send it to you.  That is a lot of effort and definitely should be appreciated, so make sure the note expresses gratitude.
  • Even if the gift will likely never be used, may already be returned, re-gifted, whatever, a thank you note is still warranted.  For more tips on when to send a thank you note, check out this post.

thank you cardIf gifts were sent to two people (i.e., a couple) then a combined thank you note is fine.  When this is the case we use our couple stationery made after our wedding.

wedding thank you noteI hope this helps with your thank you note ventures.  The best thank you notes are personal, thoughtful, and are more than two sentences (sorry, Leo).  Remember that something is better than nothing, although a text message does not suffice.  Happy thank you note writing and happy New Year’s Eve, everyone!


  1. winterstar06 says:

    This year I made sure to take family pictures of each of my guests at Christmas and made personalized thank you cards for each family with their new family picture. Crafty!

  2. Very timely post, love it! When I was younger, I totally wrote a thank you note that ended with “well, I’ve got a lot of other Thank You notes to write…”

  3. alexandriamarie1 says:

    Very timely post, great reminders and tips for writing Thank You notes! When I was younger, I totally remember ending a Thank You note with, “well, I’ve got a lot of other thank you notes to write, so I better go now.”

{share your thoughts}

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: