How to pen the perfect thank you note

Everyone loves receiving presents and gifts, or just a helping hand with a tricky task. A quick email, text message or phone call might be the most convenient way to say “thank you”, but a note or card still wins as the most meaningful way to express your appreciation.

Sure, sending a thank you note may bring back memories of childhood and being forced to write stiff messages to distant relatives, but there’s no reason a thank you card can’t be exciting, cute, or personalised. Done right, a note can be as much of a keepsake as the gift you’re saying thank you for!

Here are some top tips for making a thank you card that’s fun to make and even more fun to receive:

Make it personal

Personalisation is all about making things unique to you, and thank you cards are no exception. A photo is an instant memory worth treasuring, so work one into your card or note and you’ve got far more than a generic message, you have a heartfelt memento. It can be a photo of you using the gift you’re saying thank you for or striking a Vogue-worthy pose in the room you were helped to decorate, or even just a shot of a memory shared with the person you are writing to – a great way to suggest that you’re not just saying thank you for a single moment, but for the friendship you share (after all who doesn’t like feeling all warm and fuzzy inside?).

You don’t even need any fancy equipment to get the perfect shot, as we discovered in our smartphone vs. DSLR camera post.

Quote it

Inspirational quotes are a great way to get your message across, here are some well-known utterances all about gratitude that make perfect leading-lines for thank you cards:

  • “Make it a habit to tell people thank you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” – Ralph Marston
  • “Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin
  • “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward
  • “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” – Aesop
  • “Gratitude is riches.” – Doris Day

Finding the right words

So you have a perfectly personalised card complete with expertly captured photo and inspiring quote, but what are you actually meant to write as the message? Here are some key tips to bear in mind:

  • Don’t be generic: As much effort as you may have put into the card’s design if the message doesn’t have the same level of personal care and attention it can appear completely unfeeling. There aren’t many alternatives to the words “thank you”, but you can definitely personalise it by saying precisely what you are grateful for. Received the earrings you’ve been admiring? Mention that you wear it all the time. Been gifted a book you just couldn’t put down? Let your generous friend know how much you’re enjoying it.
  • Don’t be boring: This one might vary depending on your relationship with the person you are writing to, but there are few people who don’t like hearing “wow!” in reaction to their carefully selected gift. After all, “thank you, it suits me very well” sounds pretty dull compared to “Wow! I can’t believe you found something so perfect!”
  • Return the favour: You’re probably well aware that reciprocating the act (like extending an invitation to dinner if you’re writing to thank a generous dinner party host) can seem more gesture than genuine, but that doesn’t mean it’s without an important place on your card. A closing line of “let’s do it again sometime!”, “must have you around soon” or just the offer of a friendly conversation with “can’t wait to hear from you again” is a nice, polite way of appreciating your friend’s generosity by offering something back.

Saying thank you is just good manners, and if a photo is worth a thousand words then say it with great manners!

Last modified: 37months ago


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