What to say in thank you Notes and Cards

The art of writing a thank you note has nearly disappeared in American culture, due in large part to the cultural imperative that all things instantly gratify. Thank you notes provide no surge of positive feeling for the writer and can, in fact, be tedious to write; this traditional way of expressing appreciation is, therefore, becoming obsolete for all but the most momentous occasions. While it is no longer fashionable and some do not think it necessary, a thank you note is an irreplaceable medium for expressing gratitude – something that all of us could stand to do more frequently. Here are some suggestions for writing a good thank you note:

1. Respond promptly, especially if the gift arrived in the mail. By following this guideline, you let the gift giver know that the gift was received. This prevents them from contacting you and awkwardly asking whether the gift arrived, which results in a conversation that is comfortable for neither party. It also demonstrates your appreciation that you took the time to respond immediately. Bear in mind, however, that with thank you notes, late is absolutely better than never – do not use the passage of time as an excuse not to write at all.

2) Write your note, don’t type it. Handwritten notes are more personal. Do not send a thank you note via email.

3) Mention the gift by name unless it is a monetary gift. This inclusion helps the note to sound less generic and more personal. If it is a monetary gift, include what you intend to use the money to do. For example, a graduating high school student might use the check sent by his aunt and uncle to purchase textbooks for college.

4) If the gift was given at an event that the giver attended, tell them how much you appreciated them being there to celebrate with you. Sharing special occasions with the people we care about is the best gift of all.

5) Be honest and speak from the heart. Insincerity is detectable in a thank you note. If you did not particularly like the gift you were given, it is still possible to write an honest note. You can tell our grandmother how much you appreciate the time she took to knit you the scarf and the love she put into every stitch even if you never intend to wear the darn thing.

6) Above all, write the note and mail it. That’s what will matter most.