A thank you note is a wonderful reason to reach out to a friend or loved one in your life to spark some unexpected delight. In an age of emails and text messages, finding a handwritten note in your mailbox can be an extra special surprise. The sight of someone’s unique handwriting creates an instant connection with another human, each word a reminder that there is a person out there thinking of you.
The best part is that there is always something to be thankful for. And creating a regular practice for expressing gratitude has a host of benefits too. Studies show that feeling thankful can improve sleep, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety and stress, and even decrease chronic pain.
As thankful as our heart might feel, sometimes it can be challenging to know just what to say. To help, here are a few helpful tips to get you started.
REASONS TO WRITE A THANK YOU NOTE
Who can you share your gratitude for? Look around your world and notice who makes it more joyful, in big ways and small. Consider writing a note to:
- The teacher whose commitment makes all the difference.
- The neighbor who makes your street feel like home.
- The relative who reminds you just how much family means.
- The babysitter who brings you peace of mind.
- The coworker who adds joy to your workday.
- The receptionist who offers the warmest of welcomes.
- The childhood friend you’re glad to share so many memories with.
- The volunteer who makes everything run a bit smoother.
STEPS FOR CRAFTING A MEANINGFUL THANK YOU NOTE
There are no “right” words when it comes to expressing gratitude. The most important thing is to share genuinely from the heart. But having a template can help your words flow with a bit more ease, so here are a few simple steps:
- Open with a greeting.
Let your greeting reflect the nature of your relationship. Decide whether a casual greeting like “Hello!” or more formal salutation such as “Dear _______” is most appropriate.
- Offer context for your note.
What prompted you to send a note? If you are thanking someone for a gift you received last week, the context might be obvious. But if you are reaching out to thank someone for a gift after some time has passed, or to celebrate someone for their way of being, a little explanation can be helpful.
- To thank someone (a little late) for a present:
Some time has passed since my birthday party, but your thoughtful gift still warms my heart.
- To thank a teacher:
I was thinking about how much my daughter has blossomed over the last school year, and I know that having you as her teacher made a big difference in her growth.
- To thank a neighbor:
On my morning walk, I was passing your house and thought about how grateful I am to call you my neighbor.
- To thank a friend:
Whenever my phone lights up and I see that you are calling, I smile.
3. Express what you appreciate and why.
If you are sending a thank you note for a gift, be specific about why you are grateful—how the gift makes you feel or how you’ll use it. Consider sharing that you’ll think of the giver when you use it.
If you are thanking someone for their generosity in spirit, share details about the impact of their presence—whether you are referring to a specific day or their kindness throughout a season.
4. Close with sincerity.
Perhaps you’d like to share a thought about your relationship with the recipient, such as “I’m grateful we get to journey together” or “I hope we get to work together more in the future.” Or maybe you’d like to tuck in an extra compliment such as “It’s a gift to be able to call you my auntie.” However you choose to close your note, your honesty and intention are what the recipient will remember most.
Begin a wave of kindness and appreciation today. Find cards & stationery to share your gratitude with the people in your life.