Having been writing and posting letters since I was knee-high…
Why send a thank you note?
These days there are many methods of expressing your thanks to someone, be it via text message, a quick phone call, an email, a WhatsApp message, a Skype call, an Instagram message, a Facebook Messenger message… the list is endless! However, whilst these approaches are useful and perfectly acceptable in certain situations, other scenarios lend themselves much better to a handwritten note of thanks. These times include formal occasions, such as weddings and funerals. I’d also recommend a handwritten note for any occasion in which you wish to really emphasise your gratitude, as nothing says true thanks like a card the sender has taken the time to sit down to write, specifically for you, in their own hand.
It’s also lovely for children to send thank you notes for gifts they receive, as it is a sweet surprise for the recipient, and it helps the child think about who bought them each gift, shifting the focus from just the present itself.
When should I send a thank you note?
You will never offend someone by sending a letter of thanks, and they are an excellent way of expressing your gratitude in a sincere way, whilst also keeping communications open between yourself and the recipient. Imagine receiving an unexpected thank you note in the mail, and how loved and appreciated you would feel. So, you could send a note to say thank you when you receive a gift, when you have attended an interview, when you have organised an event which people have attended, or when someone has helped you in your personal or work life. In fact, whenever you feel it would be appropriate.
What should I write in a thank you note?
This varies on the nature of the thank you, the recipient, and how well you know them. Below I have written out a few small examples, so you can get a feel of what works well in various situations. However, remember that more personal ‘thank yous’ mean you can be far less formal than in these samples.
Dear Louise & Mark,
Thank you so much for attending our wedding, and for your beautiful gift of crockery. We have loved using it since we got home from our honeymoon, and we are hoping to buy the matching cups too!
We look forward to seeing you at Nadia’s dinner party next month.
Faye & Alex
Thank you for the lovely gift of Soap & Glory products. Soap & Glory is one of my favourite toiletry brands, and the body mist smells divine. I’ve had several comments on it already!
Let’s catch up over a coffee soon.
Dear Mr Hitchcock,
Thank you for the opportunity to interview for the position of sous chef at The Bracken. It was exciting to meet you and your team, and to see how your kitchen is run. I am very interested in the role, and would be elated to be taken on by yourself, but it was excellent to meet you whatever the outcome.
The above are just short and simple examples, but you could lengthen them if you wanted, and further personalise them to make the recipient feel extra special.
When thank you notes go wrong…
Of course, without due care and attention, people have been known to send some rather ineffective and even offensive thank you cards. An example of this is newlyweds in the US sending out printed notes to all their wedding attendees, thanking everyone for their attendance and gifts, and then listing everyone who did not bring a gift in an ‘except’ section! More true stories like this can be found on Etiquette Hell, which are both painful yet fascinating to read. However, it’s important to remember that the worst type of thank you note is the one that never gets sent.