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How To Write A Thank You Card: Full Guide

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You’re feeling full of appreciation for a friend or family member for a beautiful gift or a loving act of service they’ve provided you. Unfortunately, sitting down to write out a thank you note can be a daunting task. Where to begin when expressing your gratitude? We’re here to help – with some simple guidelines, writing out a message of gratitude can be a breeze!

Why Send A Handwritten Thank You Card?

In an increasingly informal world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that a handwritten thank you card is excessively formal and unnecessary. The truth is, sending a handwritten thank you note is not only a great way to show your appreciation, it also shows that you value and respect your thank you note recipient. Whether they’ve given you a thoughtful gift or done you a great favor, they’ve given you something valuable, and taking the time and effort to write a heartfelt thank you note shows that you recognize that. 

It’s not just good manners to write out a thank you card. A handwritten thank you card is something that your card recipient can treasure. Compared to an email or text message, a thank you card is perceived as warmer and more personal. Amidst piles of bills and junk mail, a pretty thank you card arriving in the mail is a pleasant little surprise, and especially for faraway friends and family, it can serve as a physical reminder of a cherished relationship. By writing a handwritten thank you card, you’ll also set yourself apart from the crowd as someone with class and style, as well as a talent for expressing yourself and making others feel appreciated.

Writing good notes of appreciation is an easily acquired skill, but it can feel tricky if you don’t practice it often. The more you practice expressing your gratitude and putting your feelings into words, the more natural it will feel, and before long, you’ll find yourself looking forward to sending little notes of gratitude for all sorts of occasions!

Occasions For Sending A Thank You Card

If you ever find yourself wondering if you need to send a thank you card, the answer is probably yes. There’s never really a situation where a thank you card is inappropriate – even if it’s for something small, your card recipient will love feeling appreciated. In fact, if you send a card for something that might seem small, your recipient will probably love it more! 

There are some times when you absolutely should send a thank you card, however. Any time you’re given a gift or someone goes out of their way to provide you with a big favor, write a thank you card. Some hopefully obvious events that require writing thank you cards include:

  • Weddings
  • Bridal showers
  • Engagement gifts
  • Baby showers
  • New baby gifts
  • Graduation gifts
  • Significant birthday gifts
  • Gifts for religious milestone celebrations

Some other occasions that merit a thank you card that might be a little less obvious include:

  • Formal parties where someone has put a lot of effort into hosting
  • After an extended stay with a friend
  • When someone treats you to an outing
  • When a friend runs an errand for you while you’re sick
  • A family member who introduces you to an important business contact
  • A friend helps you study for a test in a subject you struggle with
  • A coworker brings you dinner after your new baby is born
  • A teacher makes a positive impact on your life

An area of controversy for handwritten thank you notes is after job interviews. A job interview always merits a thank you note. Sending a thank you after an interview is polite, it will help the interviewer remember you, it reinforces your interest in the position, and it gives the impression that you will contribute to a positive work culture. In most cases, sending a thank you via email is appropriate after a job interview. It gets the point across, and it gets to the interviewer more immediately, which is important when things are moving quickly. In certain industries, like hospitality, sending a handwritten thank you card in addition to an email may be well received, and it will set you apart from other candidates. Use your judgment about whether this is necessary in your field. 

Don’t limit yourself when it comes to occasions for writing a thank you card. If something makes an impression on you, go ahead and write that card! A kindly worded thank you card is never going to be received badly.

Six Steps For Writing The Perfect Thank You Card

A well worded thank you card can be kept short and sweet while getting your point across effectively. This general formula can be applied to almost all occasions requiring a thank you card. 

Start With A Warm Greeting

Begin your card with a salutation that addresses your recipient. You can make this more or less formal depending on your relationship with the recipient. Make sure that you’re addressing everyone who needs to be included – that means that if you went to a dinner party hosted by a couple, thank them both, or if you received a gift with a note signed by the whole family, address your card to the whole family (although for group gifts including members of different households, send individual cards to each household included). 

The most commonly used greeting for all types of cards is “dear,” which is perfectly appropriate for formal or informal thank you cards. When addressing someone you know well, you may address them casually by their first name only or with a nickname. When addressing someone more formally, you might use their first and last name, or address them as Mr. or Mrs. or another title that they use.

Get Right To The Point

Begin your note by directly thanking the person for the gift or favor. Say exactly what it is that they gave you or did for you that you appreciated. This is the most important part of your note – make sure you get the point across by explicitly saying thank you. Here are some ways you might choose to get started:

  • Thank you so much for the…
  • I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated…
  • Your kindness didn’t go unnoticed! Thank you for…
  • It made my day when I opened…
  • I’m so grateful to you for…
  • Thank you for thinking of me with your kind gift of…
  • Thank you for your help with…
  • I’m so touched by your gift of…
  • Thank you for supporting me during this time by…
  • I don’t know where I’d be without your help. Thank you for…
  • You’re such a lifesaver! I’m so thankful for your help with…

Get Specific

After your initial thank you, get specific about why the gift or favor was meaningful to you. Be honest here – don’t exaggerate and say that that shirt you were given for your birthday is your favorite article of clothing ever, or that a small favor literally changed your life (unless those things are true, then go for it!). If you were given a gift, tell your recipient how you are looking forward to using the gift. If you’re saying thank you for a favor or kind gesture, let them know how that impacted you. You can keep it short and simple, or elaborate as much as you like.

Examples for gifts or money:

  • I can’t wait to wear my new shirt for an upcoming party – I love it and it’s going to look great!
  • The vase looks so pretty on my counter – I’m so excited to fill it up with some fresh flowers!
  • The throw pillow fits perfectly on my couch. It’s just the type of cozy touch I needed.
  • Now that we have these beautiful serving dishes, we’re ready to start hosting some dinner parties!
  • We’ve been cooking up so many yummy treats with the fun baking supplies.
  • The book is exactly the kind of thing I love to read. I can’t wait to read it and then tell you what I thought!
  • I’m planning to use the money towards books for school. It’s going to really help with all those little expenses.
  • We’re going to put the money towards furniture for our new home. We can’t wait to be able to show you the final result!

Examples for favors or gestures:

  • I had an amazing time staying with you! I returned home feeling so rested and relaxed. My favorite part was…
  • You did a beautiful job hosting dinner – a great time was had by all! In particular, I’ll never forget when…
  • You really helped free up the time I needed to take care of my sick kiddos.
  • I appreciated the opportunity to get to hear more about your company mission and culture.
  • Your tutoring made me feel so much more confident going into my last test – and I aced it!
  • It was wonderful to not have to cook for a night! I was able to catch up on some other chores around the house.

Look Forward

Move on from your thanks and appreciation by shifting the focus from the gift or favor to your appreciation of your recipient as a person. Oftentimes this is a great place to look ahead to the next time you might see this person, like an upcoming event, or suggest that you get together or catch up at some future time. If it’s unlikely that you’ll see them anytime soon, you can also use this time to say what they mean to you, give a compliment, or just let them know you’re thinking of them. Here are some things you might say:

  • It was so wonderful to see you at our wedding shower! We can’t wait to have you celebrate with us at the wedding!
  • I was so glad you could make it to the baby shower. Once baby is born, we’ll have to have you visit to meet him!
  • I can’t wait to have you over soon so we can use those fancy glasses together!
  • It’s been too long since we’ve gotten together – let’s get coffee soon!
  • I’d love to catch up sometime. Let me know when you’re free for a phone date!
  • I’m very excited about this opportunity, and I can’t wait to hear from you again!
  • You’re always so thoughtful. I’ll be looking for ways to return the favor!
  • We’ve been missing you since we moved – but you’re always fondly in our thoughts.

Restate Your Appreciation

Bring your note to a close by saying one more thank you. This way you make it super clear that your gratitude is what your note is all about. Since you’ve already gotten pretty specific, keep this last sentence short, sweet, and to the point:

  • Thanks again for thinking of me!
  • Thank you again for your generosity.
  • Once again, I just want to say how much your lovely gift means to me. Thank you so much!
  • Once again, thank you!
  • Thanks again – I really appreciate the help, and I appreciate you!

Sign Off Warmly

Close your letter with a warm sign off. There are so many ways to do this – and again, the way you choose to do this will have a lot to do with how well you know your recipient and how formal or informal you want your message to be. Here are some of our favorite ways to end a thank you card:

  • Kind regards,
  • Warmly,
  • With gratitude,
  • Fondly,
  • Sincerely,
  • Yours,
  • Love,

Putting It All Together: Example Thank You Messages

We’ve written some complete example thank you messages that you can personalize to adapt for your own needs, or use as inspiration for writing your own unique thank you message.

For A Gift

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Johnson,

We wanted to let you know how much we appreciate your beautiful gift- thank you so much! We’ve been needing some decorations to brighten up our living room, and the hand painted picture frame is the perfect touch on our end table. We’re having family pictures taken soon, and your frame will be the perfect place for displaying our favorites. We’ve been thinking of you lately – hoping to see you soon when we’re in town! Thanks again for your thoughtfulness.


Steve and Lisa

For Money

Dear Aunt Mary,

Thank you so much for your generous gift of money for my graduation. I’m starting to buy some supplies for my desk in my dorm room, and I’m planning to use the money for some pretty notebooks for my classes. I really appreciate your support over the last few years – you’ve always encouraged me to go after my goals, and your belief in me has helped me get into my dream program! I can’t wait to tell you about my college adventures when I see you at Thanksgiving! Thanks again for your generosity!



For A Helpful Act

Dear Gina,

I will forever be grateful to you for your help this last week. Thank you so much for being there for me and taking the kids off my hands when I had to take my mom to the hospital and my world felt chaotic. You allowed me to put my focus where it was needed most – and the kids had a blast hanging out with you for the afternoon! One of these days I’m treating you to a coffee to pay you back! Once again, you’re a lifesaver – thank you!



For A Job Interview

Dear Dr. Brown,

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to further discuss your open position for an executive assistant. I was so interested to learn more about your company’s mission and I’m inspired by what your company is doing. I’m very excited about the possibility of getting to work with you and your team, and I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks again for your time and consideration!

Kind regards,

Tracy Robinson

General Thank You Card Tips And Etiquette

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to writing a thank you card, but general card writing etiquette applies, as well as some etiquette guidelines.

The Sooner The Better, But Better Late Than Never

When writing a thank you card, you want to send it to your recipient soon enough to keep it relevant. If you’re writing a thank you for a favor someone did for you, try to send it within a week. If it’s for a larger event where you have a lot of thank you cards to write, like a wedding shower or baby shower, sending thank you cards within a month of the event is ideal (for weddings, this is extended to three months). 

If you’re busy and it’s taken you a while to get around to that thank you card you’ve been meaning to send, don’t think it’s too late. A thank you card is still a kind gesture, even if it takes a bit longer to send than you’d like.

Choose The Right Canvas

Pick a thank you card or stationery that’s appropriate for the event at hand. Most generic thank you cards are fine for most occasions. But if you’re writing a professional thank you card to a prospective employer or a valued client, you may want to opt for something less frivolous and more neutral.

Make It Easy To Read

Use a writing utensil that shows up clearly on your paper, and use your best penmanship, especially if you know your handwriting can sometimes be difficult to read.

Don’t Mention Amounts When Speaking About Money

When thanking someone for a cash gift, it’s not necessary to mention the exact amount you were given – in fact, mentioning the amount can come off as rude. Thank them for the money, let them know how you plan to use it, or what you are going to put it towards if you’re making a larger purchase, and leave it at that.

Be Authentic And Genuine

Most importantly, be your authentic self in your thank you note. Write as naturally as you can, and think of how you might express your gratitude in person if you get stuck. If you write from the heart, your thank you note is sure to be well received. 

Find The Perfect Thank You Card For Your Message

Make an impact with a thank you card that perfectly matches the occasion or your personality. Now that you’re ready to write that thank you note, pick a pretty card to make your message extra special! Shop our collection of thank you cards here.



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