The Art of saying Thank You


On my to-do list this week? Write thank you cards.

Just after Skyler was born, I got into the routine of keeping a stack of cards on the counter in a basket—along with pens and keys and stamps and such. As soon as a gift would arrive, and with inspiration fresh, I’d scribble off a note, add a stamp, and leave it out for the postman. But I fell out of habit and now, post-Christmas, the task is a bit more daunting.

Do you send handwritten thank you notes? Do you expect them? Where do you stand on cards versus emails—or texts? After Thanksgiving, somebody sent a card our way that was so nice and simple: something to the effect of ‘great food, great company, great time—thank you!’ and it served as a reminder of how little it takes to show someone you appreciate something. (However, if you’ve come over to our house recently, please don’t take my saying that as solicitation!)

Of course there is a formula one can follow for the tried-and-true thank you. It goes something like this:

Greeting. Write out their names: “Dear so-and-so.”

Gratitude. Begin with “thank you for the such-and-such.” (Money is typically given the euphemism of “generosity.”)

Gift. Keep it simple, but the idea is to say something you like about the gift, usually involving how you will use it, why it was so kind, etcetera. Be yourself and keep it honest. “It looks so pretty on the table.” “The kids will love picking something special out.” “I can’t wait to wear it on vacation.”

Giver. When will you see them next? What did you enjoy about seeing them at the holiday party? Traditionally, here is the place to say “You are always so thoughtful. Your friendship means so much.” I once read that the trick is to mention the past and allude to the future in a single line.

Gratitude. Again. “Thank you again.”

Greeting. Again. Sign it however makes sense to you: Love, Best wishes, Yours truly or, perhaps, XO, followed by your name.

Holiday Gift Guide

Here are some lovely cards you might set aside for inspiration:
Sycamore Street Press, Thank You My Dear Card (Top)
Smudge Ink, Chevron Thank You Card / Sugar Paper, Kraft Scratchy Thank You Card
Ferme à Papier, Llama Thank You Card / Sycamore Street Press, Thank You Indigo Card
Smock Paper, Pink Heart Letterpress Card / Quill & Fox, Sincerely Thanks Card
Hammerpress, Sign Language Thanks Card / Rifle Paper Co., Rosa Merci Thank You Greeting Card

Or you might consider a set of personalized notecards, where the phrase “Thank you” is left entirely to you. Both Pinhole Press and Minted are good sources of personalized notecards.

Where do you stand on this matter? On what occasions do you send a handwritten thank you, if at all? 

P.S. This man wrote a thank you note every day for a year. An interview with Eva Jorgensen of Sycamore Street Press, who designed that top card.

Related posts:

Travel Guides

Browse By Category