The Lost Art of the Thank You Note

Thank You HeaderTechnology is a wonderful thing. It allows us to communicate with people all over the world with the touch of a button. It allows us to wish Grandma a Happy Birthday or Uncle Frank a Merry Christmas no matter where they are in the world. Emailing and FaceTime have taken over having to send snail mail. It also can make that communication seem less personal because it takes less work. There is one handwritten note that has not died out, especially in my family, the Thank You note.

Growing up, holidays went hand in hand with Thank You notes. Each gift we received was written down on a paper and from the time we were able to write on our own, we were expected to write our own Thank You notes to the giver. We started with fill in the blank style notes where we had to write in the who and what part of the note and then graduated to having to write the whole note once we had mastered our writing skills.

This is a tradition that I have passed onto my children (and my husband). They know that each time they are given a gift they will be writing a Thank You note. They know that they have to take their time and write it nice too. While they sometimes grumble and drag their feet, this is a skill that I am glad they are developing. It is something that will come in handy later on in life when they have to write Thank You notes in a professional environment, and it is something that they can use throughout their lives to show gratitude. Since writing Thank You notes has somewhat phased out, I thought I would share our tried and true method of writing the perfect note.

Thank You Note

To star, you need a salutation. At our house “Dear” is the word of choice. Then you write the person’s name (Mr. Smith, Aunt Sally, Bobby) the way that you address them. Follow their name with a comma and then move onto the next line.

Next you are going to indent your first paragraph (typically you only need one paragraph) where you will express thanks for the gift or act. Thank you very much for the soccer ball. Add details in the next sentence to show what the gift means to you or what you plan to do with it (or both). I can’t wait to use it at practice. Then, follow with a sentence looking ahead to the future. I hope you can come to see me play soon. After that you should repeat your thanks. Thanks again, I really love it!

To close the note, you will need to pick your closing (Sincerely, From, Warmest regards, Love). Again, make sure that you choose a closing that is appropriate for your reader. You’re not going to say “Sincerely” to end a note to your Grandma and I don’t recommend ending a letter to a business contact with “Love”.

Even if you were not a Thank You note writing person, you can always become one. Think of how nice it feels to be thanked and recognized for giving a gift to someone, to know that you are appreciated. Take the extra time this holiday season and pass on the appreciation and love. I hope you have a happy holiday season and have lots to be thankful for!

SIDE NOTE: I also wanted to add that there is a really cool app called Red Stamp that allows you to take a picture on your smart phone and create a thank you card from your phone which can either be emailed or snail mailed. I use it to take a picture of my kids playing with their new toy or wearing their new outfits and email it whomever sent the gift. (I send a real thank you note, too, but sometimes it’s fun to see your gift in action, and this way works really well for me.)

Ashley Breinholt
Ashley is an Iowa transplant from Arizona and a busy mom of 4. She spends most of her day chasing around her little herd and hoping to catch a glimpse of her main squeeze when he gets a break from the hospital. She has a bachelor's degree in Communication from Arizona State University and is currently the Vice President of Iowa Medical Partners where she helps plan events and service projects and runs the blog. In her free time, Ashley enjoys running, reading, cooking, and decorating (and redecorating) the house. She loves everything about Iowa! She and her family like to explore everything that Iowa has to offer in every season. Life may be crazy but she loves every minute of it!



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