how to write a thank you note

The holidays are the perfect time of year to share gratitude. Whether it be for hosting you for dinner, a perfect (or maybe not-so-perfect gift), an errand, an unexpected visit or thoughtful act, a thank you note is always a good idea. Many of us have gotten out of the habit of writing thank you notes and might need a little refresher on the how to's. Below are the simple steps on how to write a thank you note.

First, the greeting.
This can be formal, informal or even friendly, it depends on the relationship with the person. Most likely you wouldn't use the same greeting for Great-Aunt Gladys as you would for your next door neighbor. Same goes for business relationships verses your friend. Examples below:
• Dear Great-Aunt Gladys,
• Dear Smith Family,
• Mr. & Mrs. Johnson,
• Jaime!

Next, your gratitude.
It's best to get straight to the point. Let the recipient know your thankful for the gift, kind words, thoughtful gesture, friendship or whatever. Be sure to mention exactly what it is your thankful for.
• Your gift of my favorite homemade cookies with recipe was perfect.
• Thank you for checking my mail while I was out of town.
• I appreciate you inviting us over for dinner.
• Thank you for listening to me go on and on about work.

Followed by, specifics.
While saying thank you is great, it's even better when you let them know how it affects you. Get into the specifics of why you're thankful. Perhaps you've been wanting that recipe for years. There's a reason you're appreciative for the gift, act or time spent, share that.
• I've enjoyed your holiday cookies since I was a kid and am thankful you shared the recipe so I can enjoy them with my family and friends too.
• I completely forgot to put my mail on hold while I was gone. I appreciate you taking the time to gather it for me.
• I appreciate getting to know you better and enjoyed the delicious food and drink.
• You are amazing and I love that I can always count on you. Your perspective has a way of helping me process.

Again, your gratitude.
Tie up the note with another thank you. It can be simple or flowery but state it again.
• I appreciate you sharing your recipe with me, thank you.
• Thank you, you put my mind at ease while away.
• Thank you.
• I appreciate you so much. Thank you.

End with a sign off.
Again, it can be formal, informal or friendly.
• With Love,
• Best,
• Many Thanks,
• xoxo,

It's best to send your thank you within a month. If it's later that's okay, still send it and consider adding a simple apology to start, "time has gotten away from me but..." or "I've been meaning to...".

Something else to consider, stationery. A card can make or break a message. My friend shared with me she was hired after she chose individual thank you cards for each person she spoke with at the firm. When they got together the following week to discuss candidates, her thank you notes were mentioned and everyone went back to their offices to get their cards to show. It became a thank you note show-and-tell! She obviously made an impression and got the job.

Basically, choose appropriate stationery for both the situation and recipient. Our f@$%ing amazing card may be perfect for your friend but not Great-Aunt Gladys.

Spend time crafting your message and even practice on scratch paper to make sure your spelling and wording are correct.

The best thank you notes are handwritten, to the point with your own wording and sentiment. That's it, simple and to the point. Now, stop procrastinating. Start writing!

Holiday Card Etiquette

I love this time of year! It’s a time when most of us focus on generosity and our friends, family, loved ones and fellow beings. A fleeting moment in an age of the me mentality in an instant gratification society.

A longstanding holiday tradition of generosity is sending holiday cards. It’s a simple act to show someone you care enough to take time and send a long distance warm fuzzie. Time is often the greatest gift and who doesn’t love snail mail?

 Below are some tips I’ve compiled to help your holiday card sending be successful.

  • Just because you celebrate Christmas, doesn’t mean everyone else does. It is acceptable to send Christmas cards to those who celebrate. However, if someone celebrates any other religious tradition send a neutral greeting such as, Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings. If you are unsure of the recipients beliefs always send a neutral greeting.

  • Write a short note inside each card. It could be as simple as “Wishing you a Very Merry” or “Happiest New Year”.

  • Always sign your name, even if card is imprinted.

  • If you are a couple or family signing, the wife’s name should always be first, followed by the husband then children. For same sex couples, if one partner changed their last name, they would be first. If neither partner has changed name, order does not matter but children should always be last or on the second line.
    For example:
    Amber, Tom and Scooby-doo Favorite

    also acceptable:
    The Favorites
    Amber, Tom and Scooby-doo

    Couple with different last names:
    Amber Tomsfavorite and Tom Favorite

    The only exception to the rule is formal correspondence:
    Mr. and Mrs. Favorite

  • Send newsletters and photos only to close friends and family.

  • Cards to Business associates should be sent to their office unless you know them socially. If a card is sent to their home always include the spouses name on the envelope. (remember: wife’s name or partner who changed their last name should always be first).

  • Mail cards to your co-workers home, resist handing them out at the office.

  • Mail your cards early. The ideal time to receive cards is mid-December. Plus the post office is crazy busy the week leading up to Christmas.

  • Include your return address. This way the recipient will have your current address.

  • Hand write envelopes, if possible. This gives your cards a personal touch & let’s the recipients know you gave their card personal attention.

    • When addressing envelopes the wife-partner name change rule is in effect.
      Amber and Tom Favorite
      123 Happily Ever After Lane
      The Best City Ever 12345

      also acceptable (notice plural “s” not possessive):
      The Favorites
      123 Happily Ever After Lane
      The Best City Ever 12345

      Couple with different last names:
      Amber Tomsfavorite and Tom Favorite
      123 Happily Ever After Lane
      The Best City Ever 12345

      the ONLY exception to wife first rule is formal:
      Mr. and Mrs. Favorite
      123 Happily Ever After Lane
      The Best City Ever 12345

      Now, go forth & send some warm fuzzies!