Meet the Sullivans: 10 Steps for Writing a Sincere & Simple Thank You Note

September 26, 2014

10 Steps for Writing a Sincere & Simple Thank You Note

When someone takes the time to think of you, in form of a special visit, gift or favor, you should take the time to show your appreciation and how thankful you are for them by penning a handwritten thank you note. Even if you say thank you in person upon receiving the gift,  it is also nice to show your true gratitude and that you have not forgotten their good deed!

I know most people who don't write thank you notes aren't ungrateful or forgetful, they just know how to express their thanks in words, or feel silly and forced in writing them. My best advice is to read the steps below and then write the note as though you were talking directly to the person you want to thank. A simple note, and the gratitude expressed within, can truly make someone's day.

Little Houses personalized address book from Minted.

1. Start with the necessities: 
  • beautiful paper. I have a gorgeous set of white monogrammed thank you notes that I've had since our wedding, but I'm quickly running low, so I've been looking for a new set that will be just as versatile. I love these and these notes from Minted!
  • address book. I like keeping an old-fashioned paper address book. It makes writing notes to loved ones easier and lots more fun! I'm using this one Little Houses from Minted.
  • stamps. unless you plan to hand deliver them, which is a nice touch too.
  • return address stamp. I have this one and have loved it -- I have never gotten ink on my hands when using it.
  • blue or black pens.  Keeping your notes simple with classic colors will help get your point across while not taking the focus off your gratitude.
2. Always hand write thank you notes. Even in a professional setting. A hand written note send the message that you really appreciate what you are thanking the person for, and took the time to write a note to express it. Of course, if you only have the person's email address, a nicely written email is better than no thank you at all.

3. Address the recipient. Start with "Dear" and follow with however you would address that person if you ran into them on the street and needed to introduce them to someone else. If it is a professional relationship, then keep the thank you note professional by referring to them as "Mrs. Jones / Dr. Jones / Mr. Jones", and if you know them (a friend, friend's parent, an acquaintance) well feel free to address them by their first name.

4. Start with a sincere thank you. Thank the person for anything material they may have given you, a favor or even their presence. "Thank you so much for the beautiful flowers, and for coming to our housewarming party", "Thank you so much for the fun new toy for Owen and for stopping by to visit with us", "Thank you so much for taking the time to rake the leaves from our front yard".

5. Follow with how you plan to use the gift, have been using it or how the gesture affected you positively. For example, your neighbor rakes the leaves from your lawn for you, you might want to bake some cookie and write a nice note to thank them for their kind, and neighborly gesture. You might say something like "It was such a nice surprise to return home from our trip to a neat and tidy yard. You lifted a huge weight from our shoulders." Or for a material gift, "The scarf you gave me has received many compliment and has been keeping me warm!"

6. Show interest in the gift giver. Express interest in seeing them again soon or joy from having spent time with them, for example "I enjoyed catching up with you at the reunion and hearing all about your wedding plans. I am so happy for you!" or "I am looking forward to seeing you next week at dinner".

7. Say thank you again! Bring the focus of the note back to the original purpose by ending with one last "Thank you!"

8. Close it up. Wrap it up with a close that expresses your final thought. You can say, Regards, All the Best, Sincerely, Gratefully, or Love, if appropriate.

9. Send it! Address the note properly, add postage and send it along in the mail. I like to keep my paper address book (the Little Houses personalized address book from Minted) in the same drawer as my thank you notes, this way I never have to search around for the address I need when I have a moment to write a quick thank you note.

10. Check it off your to-do list! I don't know about you, but I am always happier when I'm able to check things off my never ending to-do list.

If you're looking for more tips on writing a thank you note here are a few more great exmaples:

How to Write a Charming Thank You Note (Southern Living)
How to Write the Perfect Note (Real Simple)
Thank You Note Etiquette (Good Housekeeping)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 


Chrissy@SimpleJoysBlog said...

I have to admit I don't really like writing thank you notes but I always do because I think it's really important.

Jenny said...

Great tip to keep your address book with your thank you notes! I will have to remember that when I get to setting up the new house (months from now haha). I have to ask where did you get that custom address book? I love the look of it!

Laura Marie Keenan said...

I am a thank you note stickler too! That address book is too cute! I'm in the market for a new one, since I'm due to update mine!

hello erin said...

I love the art of a gOod thank you! And that stationaRy is swoon worthy!

Michelle said...

Thank you for posting this, I always appreciate thank you notes, it's become a lost ettiquette/art.