You received the most wonderful gift. But now you are at a loss of words on how to thank the giver. How do we write a thank you note?
I was raised on lots of etiquettes. Not just thank you notes, but one of the first grownup books I received was a Miss Manners Etiquette book. Plus, I was a wedding planner for four years. I have mastered and taught how to write a thank you note for a gift.
The following tips come from decades of experience in writing and teaching what makes a good thank you note. Here are my tips on how to write a thank-you note:
When do I have to write a thank-you note
Let’s get the non-fun stuff out of the way! Do you need to write a thank you? Yes.
Why? Because someone went out of their way to give you a present. This can be a physical gift, or money or even the presence of their time.
An acknowledgment of your appreciation for their thinking of you is the least you can do. Now, if it was small like they bought coffee. Perhaps you do say thank you, and maybe send a follow-up text. But, anything over about $10 should be formally acknowledged.
Send your note in a timely manner
Now I know this is hard. We are all busy. I struggle with this sometimes. But the sooner your note is sent after receiving the gift the better. A late thank you note feels like an offhanded “Oh thanks, I liked that gift.”
How to make sure it happens as soon as possible? Especially if you must do many at once? Set aside some time. Schedule it out. When it is planned, it is hard to forget.
If you are doing thank you notes for a large event such as a wedding. Schedule this over many days. If you receive gifts before the event, write a thank you note right away. Do not wait till after the event.
Have stationary on hand and other thank you note gear on hand
Being prepared with everything you need ensures you have no excuses! Here is what you should always have: stationery and stamps. It is that simple! You don’t need fancy pens or an embosser. You can have those if you want, but not necessary.
For the stationary, you can buy thank you cards from the store. Or what I prefer is a nicer paper with my name on it. Then I can use it for more than thank you notes. If I want to write a letter, or formally accept an invitation then I have the paper ready to go.
I know your asking, does the thank you note have to be handwritten? Can’t I just send an email or text? While it is becoming more acceptable to send an email. Especially if the need is timely, such as an interview thank you note. I recommend you still do gift notes by hand. Taking the time to make your thank you special is an extra level of appreciation for the gift giver.
What to write in your thank-you note
Now the fun begins, what to write in your thank-you note. The goal should be to have 3 to 4 sentences about the gift.
Begin the letter with a Dear XZY followed by a comma. How formal you make it depends on the relationship you have with the person.
If it is for someone you are close to such as your sister, you can use their given name. For example, Dear Sarah, or Dear Sam and Sarah.
If it is for someone who you are acquainted with but not close to, then a formal greeting may be more appropriate. Such as Dear Mr. Smith or Dear Mr. & Mrs. Jones.
When exactly would this happen? A wedding is a great example. Your parent’s friends attended and gave you a present. If you did not grow up with them and they only sent a present because of your parents. A formal greeting is more appropriate.
Intro: Thank-you sentence
Your introductory sentence should thank the person for what you received. This does not need to be a long one. A simple acknowledgment of what they gave. Here are some examples:
- Thank you for the new blender.
- Thank you for helping me decorate for my mom’s surprise party.
- Thank you for the generous gift of $25.
Why you like the gift
This is where you must get creative. You need to express why you like the item. If the item was a gift of money, you can skip to the next section. Some examples would be:
- I love how quickly I can now make my smoothies in the morning.
- You made the preparations much easier than if I was alone. My stress levels were drastically reduced.
How you will use the gift
Now expand on how you will use the gift. If you covered it in the ‘why you like it’ section then select an add on sentence that is appropriate. With money tell them your intention for the gift. Here are some examples:
- I will never have to skip another breakfast, no matter how late I am running.
- Your flower arranging skills are fantastic. Even with the roses having too many thorns you kept going!
- I plan on using the money towards extra diapers. Babies sure do use a lot of them!
Finally, close out the letter. A great way to do this is to re-iterate the thank you from the opening. This is also where you can make it more personal. Especially if you are close to the gift giver. For example:
- Thank you for knowing how much I love my morning smoothies and making sure I had the right gear.
- Thank you for all your time.
- Thank you, the money will come in handy.
Finally, the easy part. Sign your name! Depending on your relationship to the person will determine how to sign off. Options include love, sincerely, or thank you again.
An example of a thank-you card in full
Thank you for the new blender. I love how quickly I can now make my smoothies in the morning. I will never have to skip another breakfast, no matter how late I am running. Thank you for knowing how much I love my morning smoothies and making sure I had the right gear.
Gift of money
Thank you for the $50. It will definitely come in handy as we set up our new home. There are so many things we want to buy. Your $50 will help us get the kitchen set that we want. Thank you for your generosity.
Tom and Barbra
Now you are set to handle any thank you note you need to write. Just remember to have it come from your heart. You are thanking the person for doing something nice for you. The note should come from that place of appreciation.