How to write and send your thank you notes on time

One good deed deserves another. Should you receive a great gift, stop and enjoy the moment. But remember that you’ve now got an important task: thank you cards. Don’t worry—writing great thank you notes is no great effort. Just follow the three S’s: simple, sincere, and sent.

 

“Romantic Looks” by Paperless Post

What to write in thank you notes

Writing thank you cards can flummox even fluent wordsmiths, but don’t let stage fright stop you—a simple note sent in a timely manner means a lot more than a work of genius that was never put to paper. Here’s what simple thank you notes should include…

1. A greeting. Feel free to address close friends and family by a favorite pet name, but stick with a standard “Dear” for others.

2. A thank you for the specific gift or service. If you’re writing about money, “your generosity” is a handy euphemism.

3. What their gift brought to your life. Now, you may not know yet, and you may not feel particularly enthused about this year’s gift of fuzzy socks. But try to use your imagination here: will the socks keep you cozy in a freezing apartment? Will you use the corncob holders at a cookout? Let them know.

4. A personal remembrance or note, even if it’s just to say that you enjoyed seeing or hearing from them and hope you’ll do it again soon.

5. Another thanks. There’s no such thing as being too thankful in thank you cards.

6. A closing. “With love” never goes out of style, while “Sincerely” is a traditional choice that works for more distant relations.

 

“Birch Monarch (Stationery)” by Rifle Paper Co.

How to write a thank you note for gifts

Sure thank you cards come in handy to make a good first impression with a job interview, but most of the time gifts are the main reason for thanks. Whether you just got showered with new parent must-haves at your baby shower, or received unexpected housewarming presents from your close friends, thank you cards are the best way to show your thanks for gifts. No matter the price or extravagance of the gift, it’s the thought that counts, and the same goes with writing thank you cards. Don’t stress too much over what to write, just sending a thank you is enough to convey your sincere gratitude.

Birthday gift thank you note examples

Whether it was a surprise birthday party or not, thank you cards go a long way to show your close friends and family how much the party (and their thoughtful gifts) meant to you.

For your friend example: Thank you so much for helping me celebrate the big 3-0. Even though I didn’t feel my best the next morning, it was a night to remember and it wouldn’t have been the same without you there. The perfume was so thoughtful, and I can’t wait to make it my new scent for this new decade. Thanks for being such a great friend! 

For the host example: I’m sure you could tell by the look on my face, but I was so surprised! I can’t believe you planned that entire party for me, and I was so honored to be the birthday queen for the night. You are such a great friend for hosting, and I can’t thank you enough for the [insert gift here] on top of the party. I am truly grateful.

Baby shower thank you note examples

Babies require a lot of stuff. As new parents you’re most likely so grateful for family and friends throwing you a shower. Now, you just have to get that gratitude on paper.

For the host example: Words can not begin to describe how grateful [insert partner name here] and I are for you. throwing us a baby shower. You truly went above and beyond, and it was the most perfect day. We are so honored to have someone so thoughtful in our lives, and can’t wait for you to be apart of our little one’s life, too. 

For the guest example: Thank you so much for attending our baby shower. It was so lovely to see you and catch up. We are so grateful for the [insert gift here]. It’s the perfect color for our nursery, and we can’t wait to put it to work once baby [insert last name here] arrives. 

Wedding thank you note examples

Gifts are a huge part of your wedding, but so are your heartfelt thank you notes! Often guests dedicate a full day, if not an entire weekend to your festivities. So, even if they didn’t bring a gift but attended your wedding, a thank you note is the least you can do to show your gratitude to your attendees. If they did send you a gift, a great rule of thumb is to tell them how you’ll use their gift or why you’re so excited to receive it.

Cash gift example: Thank you so much for being a part of our special day and helping us celebrate. Your gift was so generous and we can’t wait to use it towards must-haves for our new home. 

Cash gift example: Thank you so much for being a part of our special day and helping us celebrate. We wanted to send our sincere thanks for your generous gift. We have been saving up for an area rug for our living room, and your gift will get us to our goal. We hope to have you over to see it in person soon!

Registry gift example: Thank you so much for attending our wedding ceremony and reception. We wanted to show our gratitude for your generous gift. We’re looking forward to many meals at home enjoying newlywed life, and can’t wait to use the kitchenware and tools you’ve gifted us. We are so grateful!

No gift example: Our wedding weekend was truly perfect, and it’s all thanks to amazing people like you! We had so much fun dancing and singing the night away, we hope you did too. Thank you so much for helping us celebrate, and we look forward to recreating the fun again soon.

Gift card thank you note examples

Gift cards often stump the thank you note writer. Instead of simply thanking them for the gift card, mention specifics around why you are grateful or excited to use their gift.

Restaurant gift card example: Thank you so much for the [insert restaurant name here] gift card. I love their steaks and can’t wait to treat myself to a night out, and a night off from cooking. I really appreciate it!

Retail gift card example: Thank you so much for the [insert store name here] gift card. I’ve had my eye on a pair of leather boots from there, and can’t wait to treat myself. I sincerely appreciate you thinking of me. 

What kind of stationery do I use for a thank you note?

Back in ye olden days, this question would have had a lot of answers. Thank goodness for modernity. If you go to a stationery shop, look for “correspondence cards” or “notecards.” They’re the right size for a handwritten note or thank you card, and usually come with matching envelopes. Not to toot our own horn, but our personalized notecards at Paper Source come with matching lined envelopes, for that extra flourish.

When it comes to picking out a notecard, let your own style reign supreme, but white or cream cards are traditional and versatile for any other note-writing occasions.  

 

“Double Hand-Drawn Border – White” by Linda and Harriett

Can you email a thank you note?

Personalized paper notecards are a lovely grace note. But etiquette experts agree: an emailed thank you note is perfectly acceptable. A note sent on a piece of online stationery? Even better. Paperless Post’s wide selection of online thank you cards make it easy to send your thanks, instantly and without a trip to the mailbox. 

How long do I have to send thank you cards?

Aim for speed. We’ve known many a well-meaning parent who stashes the opened Christmas gifts until each child presents a corresponding finished thank you note. That’s a bit severe, but it’s not a bad organizational tactic. Aim to have a note out (especially if they’re going to be emailed) within five days of opening the gift, and at no more than two weeks away.

 

Time to get grateful. Browse our collection of online thank you cards and stationery.

 

Cards shown in hero image: “Marbleized (Stationery)” by Kelly Wearstler, “Richmond Park (Stationery) – White/Gold” by Oscar de la Renta.