How to Write a Thank-You Note

How to Write a Thank-You Note

Polite behavior and good manners in a person are universally appreciated. Why? Because they indicate regard and respect for fellow human beings. Behaving in this way also marks you as a person who not only knows the right way to act, but also cares enough to follow through. My favorite thing about proper etiquette is that participation is open to everyone. One needn't be born into a blue-blood family, or have piles of money in the bank, in order to have lovely behavior. And it's that behavior that marks someone as a quality person, not connections or wealth.

Thank You FAQS

How long do I have to send a thank-you note?

For a regular gift, try to write the note and mail it within two to three days, so it arrives within the week. Notes for wedding gifts should be sent out two weeks after the wedding date.

Can I type a thank-you note?

No. Even if your handwriting is terrible, write it by hand.

Is there a rule about stationery?

Not really, but have something on hand like postcards of a local landmark or museum art piece, a box of unisex "Thank You" cards, or a pack of neutralcolored stationery. The need to shop for supplies will delay the thank-you! The classic choice is a card with your initials at the top.

1 Write a greeting. It need not be more complicated than "Dear Uncle Frank."

2 Name the gift. Never just say: "Thank you for the gift." The giver will wonder if you mixed it up with other gifts and lost the tag. For an added bonus, compliment the gift, as in: "Thank you so much for the beautifully hand-knit wool scarf." However, there are exceptions.

• Money. Here's an instance where you do not name the gift. Instead, say, "I'm truly grateful for your generous gift."

• Intangibles. If your friend let you borrow her beach house, or if someone did you a favor, define the gift in a flattering way. Don't say, "Thanks for the couch and the grub," but do say, "Thank you for your gracious hospitality." It's okay to be simple.

3 Tell how you use the gift. If you love a new bathrobe, say, "I've barely taken off my robe since I opened the box." Don't lie, though. Say something that's true, even if you hate the gift. "The practical umbrella hat is such a pretty shade of purple!" Regarding money, it's okay to mention how it will be used. "Your generous gift will help when I buy my new bike," is fine, but don't write, "Your fifty bucks will get me two butter knives and a serving spoon off my registry."

4 Talk about the past and the future. This is a time to underscore your connection to the giver. "It was so nice to see you at my graduation party, and I look forward to sharing Thanksgiving with you." If you see the giver often, try "I know we'll talk at work, but I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude." If it's someone you rarely see, use a phrase like, "I'm thinking of you, and wishing you all the best."

5 Wrap up. Say thanks again with a short, simple phrase. "Thank you again for the present," and then the sign-off. If "Love," or "Yours Truly," work, say that. If not, simply sign your name.