How To

How to Write a Thank-You Card

One of the lessons my mother instilled in her children at an early age was the importance of writing a thank-you card. Occasions that called for a thank-you card were numerous–from being given a gift, to staying at a friend’s house, to being invited to a meal, and many more. And as Christmas is fast approaching, it’s time to dust off your thank-you card writing skills!

I love sitting down to write thank-you cards, and I love to receive them. It gives me great pleasure to spend my time in this particular ritual, remembering the pleasure of the event that prompts the card. However, when writing many at a time (after a wedding or birthday), it is a task that may begin to feel repetitive. That’s no excuse to let your standards slip! Below are my personal tips for how to write a thank-you card.

How to Write a Thank-You Card

Thank-you cards should be sent within three days. This is non-negotiable!

Start a thank-you card with a sentence about anything but the gift you’ve been given. Whether it’s, I hope you had a lovely holiday; we especially enjoyed the snow this year! or It was so kind of you to remember me on my birthday!, beginning the card with something other than thanks for the gift makes the receiver of the card realize that your thank-you card was not written merely out of duty, but out of a desire to communicate. You can then thank the giver, wish them good health and happiness, and express your wish to see them soon.

Be specific. Thank the giver for the specific gift. Instead of Thank you for the wonderful gift! try something like, Thank you for the lovely sweater; I can’t wait to wear it this fall! It will be perfect for special occasions. If you are writing a thank-you card for a gift certificate, perhaps say how you are planning to use the gift certificate.

Use your nicest stationery. I am not a fan of the cutesy “thank you!” cards that seem to be popular nowadays. I far prefer plain, classic stationery. If you don’t have engraved or monogrammed stationery, The Printery, Crane, and Dempsey & Carroll have a wide selection of boxed correspondence cads that are tasteful and elegant.

Use a good pen! Please do not use a ballpoint pen on good stationery–use a fountain pen. I love Lamy pens; they write very well and are quite affordable!

Repeat your thanks. At the end of the card, before your closing, always repeat your thanks!

Use proper salutations and closings. This goes without saying, but don’t write “Dearest Name and end a card with Love from if you’re writing to someone you don’t know well. Err towards the formal if you are unsure.

A final note. These rules can also be used when writing a thank-you card to an interviewer after a job interview. Simply replace the thanks for a gift with a sentence like, Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today. I loved learning about XYC Company and the exciting things happening!

I hope this guide on how to write a thank-you card has been helpful! Let me know if you have any rules that you swear by!

4 thoughts on “How to Write a Thank-You Card

  1. This was a great read and very timely for me, since my afternoon yesterday was dedicated to writing thank yous! I like the idea you gave of starting more conversationally instead of jumping into the thank you right away. I’m curious how you approach writing thank yous for cash gifts. I was taught to simply say ‘thank you for your generous gift, I look forward to using it for x’ but am curious what others do.

    1. Oh, I’m so glad you found this helpful, Sara! For cash gifts, I’d say something to the effect of, “thank you so much for your generous gift; it was too kind and I am so grateful!” I don’t like to commit to saying what I’d spend it on in case I change my mind and the person later asks about it 🙂

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. As a man, of Southern provenance although I grew up outside of Philadelphia, I too send thank-you cards and work with my son now to instill the same habit. Sadly, it has become so unusual that I have had friends and acquaintances go all to pieces on me in the past when they have received a card for a pleasant evening, dinner, gift, etc. It boggles the mind. Yet I refuse to change and continue to send thank-you cards.

    Kind Regards and Season’s Greetings,

    Heinz-Ulrich

    P.S.
    I find your blog via Ivy Style and really like what you are doing/have done here

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Heinz-Ulrich! I truly enjoyed your recent piece in Ivy Style and have read your comments on Muffy’s blog as well. I completely agree with you re: the importance of thank-you cards. It truly takes so little time, but it means so much to the receiver of the card! I think if we could all just sit down and take time to thank each other, the world would be a much more civil place. I hope you have had a lovely holiday season, and best wishes for the new year!

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