What to write in a thank you note

What to write in a thank you note

Are you wondering what to write in a thank you note? Maybe it’s for a holiday gift received, or maybe it’s time to pen your bridal or baby shower thank-yous. Maybe you’re looking to write that mother of all thank-you notes that someone might save in a memory box. Or maybe you’re just plain, old procrastinating. Well, the first thing you can thank is your lucky stars, cuz you’ve got your own personal gratitude guide right here.

In my own little part of the planet, people have been thanking me for my thank-yous for as long as I can remember. I’ve had my fair share of experience, too. In the last couple years, I got married, had a baby, and the accompanying showers — and let me tell you, there’s no faster way to learn how to write a memorable thank-you! Sure, it all started out with Mom forcing me to write a note after every birthday or holiday gift growing up, but by now it’s just part of who I am. There’s something I really love about knowing I’ve sent this little connection out into the world, a thoughtful envelope in a sea of bills and junk mail, to let someone know just how much they’re appreciated.

So, without further ado, I’m going to let you in on my little secret…

It’s all about the details.

Whether it’s filling in a blank note or adding a few lines to a greeting card, taking the time to write a personal message can really go a long way. My team works on American Greetings’ Thank-You cards, and we love to find fresh, creative ways to help you say thanks! We’ll give you a great sentiment to start, but taking the time to add a few personal words can really make all the difference.

  • Start with the “Dear.” Whom are you thanking? Pay attention to the card or gift tag you receive, and address your thank-you the same way. If a gift was from a family, include the children as well. At a shower, make sure someone takes notes so you can get this part right — that extra attention to detail really helps.
  • Make it specific. Start your thank-you with a description of the gesture or gift: “Thank you for…” or “I really appreciate…”
    • Gift — Let them know how much you like the gift, or how you plan to use it, but be careful not to exaggerate. There’s really no need to say you’ll think of them every time you do dishes.
      • We love the new dish towels. I can’t believe you found something that so perfectly matches the colors in our kitchen!
    • Money/Gift Card — Try not to directly mention money. Explain how you’ll use the gift, and consider thanking them for their kindness or generosity.
      • Thank you so much for your generous gift. We’ll be using it toward a beautiful wooden changing table for the nursery.
    • Hosting Compliment the host on a specific food, decoration, or a memorable moment.
      • Your home is so warm and inviting, and I especially loved your beautiful centerpiece. I can’t believe you made it yourself!
    • Being There — There are many more reasons to write a thank-you. Here are some to get you started: for child or elder care, for helping out when you’re sick, for encouragement, advice, or friendship, for listening or support, for mentoring or helping you achieve a goal.
      • Thank you so much for talking me off the ledge last week. It means so much to know you’re really there for me.
    • Be genuine. Use your own voice. Not mine, your Aunt Edna’s, or anyone else’s.
    • Match the emotion. Think about the emotion behind the gesture or gift, and try to reflect it in your message. If someone gives you something small, a short, simple thank-you may be enough. But, if someone really went above and beyond for you, a phrase like I can’t even begin to tell you how much it means will really help to convey the gratitude you feel.
      • How do I even begin to thank you…
      • Your kindness and caring mean so much to me.
      • You always know the perfect thing to do to make me feel special.
    • Wrap it up. It’s a nice touch to end your card with a message about the sender rather than a gift. Try thanking them for thinking of you, or mention looking forward to seeing them again soon.
      • Thank you again for thinking of me. It means so much to have you in my life.
    • Be timely. Etiquette experts agree you have up to a year to write wedding thank-yous, but best practice is to try to get any thank-you sent within a month. A Christmas thank-you in June just doesn’t feel like you made it a priority. This is one of my own personal challenges, and my rule of thumb is that’s it’s always better to send the thank-you. Even a belated one.
      • A much-belated thank-you for your thoughtful birthday gift. I absolutely love…

I don’t know about you, but I just inspired myself to send off a couple tonight. In this fast-paced world we live in, a handwritten thank-you stands out. It’s the kind of mail people love to receive.   It says that you took the time to reflect on someone’s thoughtfulness, the influence they’ve had, or what someone continues to do for you. The most important thing really isn’t finding the perfectly crafted phrase to write — it’s that what you do write comes from your heart.

Whom do you plan to thank today? Post it in here in the comments!
And if you want to take the next step in thanking someone, don’t forget check out American Greetings’#ThankList movement.

– Jessica

Jessica L. Dolce’s love of greeting cards started early — she created her own card line as a child, complete with a logo and rhyming verse! These days she’s a writer, editor, hiking enthusiast, home renovator, wife, and doting mama to the world’s most adorable toddler.


What’s old is new again

Looking for a fun, last-minute adventure for an otherwise lazy Saturday? Grab some friends and go antiquing. Searching through old treasures is half the fun, and you won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face when you find something that you just can’t live without. Antiques can make a great addition to your kitchen, living room or bedroom, and don’t forget to think of unexpected places like a powder room or window. Whether you’re in the market for a piece of art, an old sign or just looking for something special, spending the day shopping with good friends is always a recipe for success!

PS – Don’t forget to bring your camera along – documenting the trip is a great way to cherish memories and you can use those photos in a thank-you card to everyone who joined in on the day!