Recently I've been rediscovering my love of hand writing notes to my friends. I love receiving a thoughtful note from a friend that they've taken the time to write and mail. Thank you notes, especially, are something that go far in making someone feel special. One of the most meaningful notes I've ever gotten was a note written to me a couple years after I had sat with a friend while she was feeling sick on a school trip. I hadn't thought twice about supporting her that day, but the fact that it meant so much to her that she wrote me about it a couple years later has really stuck with me and brightened my day.
I know several people who really struggle with the process of writing a meaningful thank you note, though, so I thought I would share some of my personal favorite suggestions. These are the "rules" I follow whenever I sit down to write a thank you card. They've become so instinctual that I really don't even think about what I'm doing any more, except regarding who I'm addressing and what I'm thanking them for. Hopefully they'll come in handy for you, too!
Start with a thank you and mention the specific item or reason you are thanking them
(Ex. "Thank you so much for the flowers you brought over to my house when I was feeling sick.")
Tell them why you're thankful for the item and/or how you intend to use the item
You don't need to gush unnecessarily or be insincere, but people love knowing what your gift meant to them or how you intend to use it. This is an especially great tip when it comes to a monetary gift - let them know what you will be putting the money towards. (Ex. "I am so excited to put your gift towards the purchase of some beautiful curtains I've been eyeing. They are going to look so amazing in my reading nook and make it the perfect, cozy place to get work done.")
A thank you note is different than a handwritten letter. Save the latest family news for a different time. Let this thank you note be purely about your appreciation for the gift the recipient gave you.
Don't feel the need to be formal (unless, perhaps, you're writing a thank you note after a job interview where you may want to be a little less casual.) Be yourself - share an inside joke if appropriate. Bring in humor that the recipient might appreciate to increase their smile and the relationship you have with them.
Close with another thank you and future wishes
It's never a bad idea to reiterate your thank you at the close of your note, to wish the recipient well, or mention a future event you are excited to share with them. (Ex. "I look forward to having you over once we are settled to share coffee in these mugs.") Only mention these future dates if they are sincere, however. Don't offer to have someone over and then never follow up on that offer!
Take your time
Make sure that you take your time and that your handwriting is legible. It would be sad if they couldn't understand what you were saying!
Are you worried about how your thank you note might sound or struggling to decide exactly how you want to express yourself? Type it out on the computer or write it on a piece of scrap paper first. This will help you ensure that you have all your thoughts composed so you don't end up throwing out some of your beautiful stationary just because you changed your mind about wording in the middle of your note.
Have you ever gotten a thank you note that blew your socks off? What made it so special?