How to Write a Thank You Note

Posted by on July 31, 2011

Naturally we want to thank people for gifts and for social hospitality, such as a dinner party, or other kindnesses. We may say “thanks” at the time of the gift or event, but I still believe in following up in writing. It shows courtesy and how genuine our gratitude really is. And, writing the perfect thank you takes little time and just four easy steps! Thank you note

Thank you notes are an essential part of life. In my personal opinion, times may change, but good manners never go out of style.

When I was a girl, I loved to send thank you notes for my Christmas gifts. Every year I would buy a fresh pack of thank you cards at the local Hallmark store, usually with a kitten or a polar bear under mistletoe. Meanwhile, my dad would be an aisle or two over, picking out individual thank you cards for all the customers and vendors who sent his business a holiday gift. Of course, he usually had my mom write them!

There is an art to writing a thank you note. Start with a quality note card. Crane and Company and William Arthur each make beautiful notes with sumptuous, but affordable cotton fiber paper. Kate Spade, Hallmark, and a variety of trendy stationers produce some fun, funky options.

You may wish to purchase cards with “thank you” written on the front, although an attractive design or monogram is appropriate as well. The inside should always be blank.

Now comes the wording. Are you ever at a loss for words? Fear not! Here is a formula that works every time:

1.  Mention your hostess or gift giver by name.

2.  Say thanks for the kindness, hospitality, or gift.

3.  Mention how you will use the gift or what you will remember of the event.

4.  Sign off with an appropriate closing.

Here are examples:

Dear Betty,

Thank you for a lovely evening at the cocktail party on Saturday. I had such a good time! I honestly can’t remember the last time I met such warm and interesting new people. I look forward to returning the favor soon.



Dear Aunt Jane,

Thank you so much for the cashmere sweater. I’ve worn it twice already and have received many compliments. It’s beautiful and so luxurious! I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Much love,


Dear Uncle Roy,

Thanks for my birthday gift card. I used it to purchase my favorite band’s latest CD. I will think of you every time I listen to it! It really brightens my mood.



Even if the gravy at dinner was lumpy or the candlesticks your grandmother gave you are not your taste, a sincere thank you is required. As the adage goes, it truly is the thought that counts. Send your thank you within a few days of the dinner or event or soon after the gift is received.

Is an email appropriate? While nothing takes the place of a handwritten note, an e-card could be a substitute in a pinch. Note: that’s an e-card, not merely an email. An e-card shows additional effort on your part or you could consider using online services such as Plaxo, Send Out Cards and, which will mail a real card for you. Always be sure to personalize e-cards with your own sentiment!

Excerpt from Gift Giving for Busy People by Deanne Marie (By Dsign Omnimedia, 2010). Available at