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Complete Guide to Writing Thank You Notes Hero Label

Complete Guide to Writing Thank You Notes

Thank you notes are an appropriate way to express gratitude to a friend, loved one, or colleague for any sort of gift or act of kindness. They're also a great way to connect with friends and loved ones or strengthen your relationship with a friend or partner.

When to Send a Thank You Note

It’s never wrong to send a thank you note, and people always appreciate getting “thanks” for their efforts. And if you're thinking about whether or not you should write a thank you note, you probably should. Anyone would appreciate receiving a thank you note, and some people may be expecting one.

All gifts should be acknowledged with a note, unless the present was opened in front of the giver—then you have the chance to thank them in person.

  • After you've received a gift, whether from a wedding, shower, or birthday
  • After you've attended a party or event which someone else spent a great deal of time organizing
  • After receiving handwritten cards, whether congratulatory or otherwise (notes of condolences)
  • After receiving gifts or notes of well wishes during a period of illness

Context matters. Read more about what type of thank you notes to send under different circumstances.

Is it Too Late to Send a Thank You Note?

Write your notes as soon as possible, and don’t hesitate if you feel you’re late: A late note is always better than no note at all.

The Power of a Handwritten Thank You Note

Handwritten thank you note that says

It's always correct to send handwritten thank-you's, and people always appreciate them. Handwritten notes are warmer and more personal than a phone call or email, and only second best to thanking someone in person.

Email is okay to thank for a coffee or meal that was casual or whose invitation was extended by email in the first place. It's also okay for very small favors. But for dinner parties, big favors, an actual gift, or being a houseguest, handwritten thank-you notes are your best bet for an expression of warm, heartfelt thanks.

There is simply nothing as personal as a handwritten note. In a stack of bills and flyers, it's a treasure in a sealed packet, full of promise and potential. It is a visceral reminder of someone far away.

They are an opportunity for us to connect to the people in our lives in a meaningful way. In an increasingly informal digital world, continuing to pull out pen and paper is a way to distinguish yourself. The handwritten thank-you note speaks volumes simply as a medium and sends the message that you care enough to invest yourself personally in acknowledging another.

Handwritten notes still have a personality, warmth and, when needed, gravitas that computer screens don't. And questions of appropriateness aside, people still enjoy opening them. More than anything, that tells me they have lasting value. So, send a little joy someone's way.

How to Write a Thank You Note

Sometimes it's easy to write off a heartfelt thank-you note. Other times, writer's block can set in—especially when you are staring down a large stack of them. Before you start, remember that thanking people needs to be about just that: expressing thanks. So refocus, reorganize, and rethink the process.

Above all, try to enjoy yourself. Giving thanks shouldn’t be a chore—and doesn’t have to be if you make the effort to keep it interesting.

This is a brief note, about four sentences, meant to express something you are grateful for. Be sure to say what you mean directly. The thank-you note is special; it's to express your appreciation, so keep the focus there.

  1. Use a salutation.
    • Formal/Professional – Dear {{title}} {{last_Name}},
    • Professional – Dear {{first_Name}} {{last_Name}},
    • Close Professional/Social – Dear {{first_Name}},
    • Social – Dearest {{first_Name}},
    • Good friend – First name, Nickname, or Initials
  2. First sentence – Thank them explicitly for the specific gift or act for which you are writing the letter.
    • I am so thankful/grateful for...
    • I want to say how much I appreciated...
    • I am writing this note to acknowledge...
    • I want you to know how much I value...
  3. Second Sentence – Personalize the note with an original thought about the things you are thanking for, the effort or thought behind it, what it means to you and the relationship.
  4. Third sentence (optional) – Pull the focus back and think about the future. Suggest future actions or direction or develop the thought from sentence two.
  5. Fourth sentence – repeat the thanks or offer a concluding thought.
  6. Use a closing.
    • Formal/Professional/Social – Sincerely
    • Professional/Social – Best regards, Regards, All the best, Best, Respectfully yours, Cordially
    • Social/Personal – Yours truly, Warmly, Affectionately yours, With great affection, With love, etc.

Read more tips on how to write thank you notes.

Examples of Thank You Notes

Professional Sample:

Dear Carla Ramirez,

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me on Monday. I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about your team and look forward to working together over the coming year. Please feel free to reach out to me if I can help with anything during the transition. Thanks you again and I can't wait to get started.

Daniel Senning

Social Sample:

Dear Arya,

Thank you so much for sending the new baby blanket you made for Anisha. It is simply the softest thing that has ever touched our little one, I don't know how you make such wonderful things. You are beyond thoughtful. I do hope that you will make time for a visit as soon as it is possible, we can't wait to see you in person. Thank you again for everything, we can feel the love from here.

Yours truly,

Still have questions? Read our thank you card FAQs.

Teaching Your Kids Why & How to Write Thank You Notes

Sure, it sounds like a dream: Your children running up to you and begging to write thank-you notes to their aunts, uncles, and cousin Pete. It could be a reality—if you cut out the obligation and play up the gratitude. Explain the value and purpose of the notes: “Thank-you notes are a special way to tell Nanna & Grandpa how much you liked their present.”

So focus on fun and honest sentiment. Get creative. Make what could be hours of boredom into an event they want to take part in—and in doing so take some of the burden off yourself.

Read our article on how to teach your kids to have fun writing thank you notes.