Thank You Notes: Example Messages and Etiquette

Hello, my name is Heidi, and my goal is to help people write the best thank you note messages possible.

The purpose of writing a thank-you note or email is to express your gratitude for a gift, help, or other situation. The thank-you message can also serve to acknowledge that a gift was received.

Thank you notes are usually only a few sentences, but what should you say in your note? The message to put in your thank you card can be the most challenging part of writing a thank you note.

The Best Thank You Notes Ever Written

The best thank-you notes ever written are more than a quick one-sentence thank you.

The best thank you notes will feel personal. They include several sentences and are heartfelt or specific.

They describe why you are thankful and perhaps include a compliment of the person you are thanking.

To help you, there are hundreds of thank you message examples across many situations on this site to give you inspiration for your thank you wording. You can see the list here by topic.

Thank You Messages: Getting Started

How To Write a Thank You Note Overview – Provides a template and five easy steps.

Writing Your First Thank You Note – Advice for first-time thank you note writers.

My Best Thank You Tips – Heidi lists tips for improving your thank you cards.

Make Your Thank-You Notes Better – 9 tips to become an expert thank you note message writer. These tips will help you write the best thank notes!

Also, if you’d like to give a gift along with your thank you note, you can view the list of thank you gift ideas.

Basic Thank You Note Template

Here is a basic thank you note template. You can see additional information about each part of a thank you note in the how to write a thank-you note guide.

Note: Words [in brackets] should be replaced as needed. 

Dear [Name], – using their first name or Mr./Mrs last name depends on the recipient.

Thank you for the [whatever you are saying thank for]. [One or two sentences about why you are thankful or what you will do with the gift/advice/money/etc.].

Thanks again (or another closing like best regards)

[Your Name]

Now that you’ve seen the template, what do you really say in your thank you notes?

Thank You Messages

This section features some popular thank you occasions covering birthdays to bosses!

What do you say in thank you notes?

Seeing a template can for writing how thank you card messages can look like a simple formula, but how can you apply the template to your situation?

There are many times in life when you might want to send a thank-you note. There are significant life events like wedding gifts, baby showers, a new baby, graduation, birthday parties, and other special occasions where you may receive lots of presents.

And then there are other occasions like dinner parties, meeting someone for lunch, or wanting to thank a boss when you want to send thank-yous to express your appreciation.

The thank-you note wording can vary depending on the event and recipient. For example, what you say in a thank you message to your boss for a gift card will be different than what you say to your sister.

I encourage you to browse through the sample notes on this site to see detailed examples of what you are thanking the recipient for.

If you want to say thank you meaningfully, being specific about why you are saying thanks will go a long way in helping the note feel more personal.

Short Thank You Appreciation Messages

I recommend only using the messages on this list as a starting point. The best thank you notes will include more detail.

Also, when sending a handwritten note or a thank you email, you will want to follow the template above. Be sure to include an opening and closing, and sign your name.

You can also review the full-length generic thank yous. And complimenting the gift-givers can be good and an easy way to add some length to your note.

  • Thank you for the gift. It’s exactly what I wanted for my birthday.
  • Thank you for the generous gift.
  • Thank you so much for the ______.
  • I want to thank you for _____.
  • I appreciate the thoughtful gift.
  • I love the ____. Thanks a lot!
  • Thank you very the very generous gift card.
  • Thanks. You’re should a thoughtful friend.
  • The day was special with you there. Thanks for coming.
  • I appreciate your time and effort.
  • Thank you for everything.
  • Thanks a bunch for lunch yesterday.
  • You’re a great hostess. Thanks for having us over for dinner.
  • I love when you are the host for [lunch/book club/event] as you go the extra mile. Thank you for making it special.
  • Your act of kindness will be remembered. How you helped ____ was amazing.
  • I appreciate our friendship. Thanks for always being there for me.
  • I’ve learned so much from you. Thanks for being a wonderful [boss/coworker/colleague/friend/mom/dad].
  • I feel grateful for all the support you give me. Thanks for being my friend.
  • I will be forever grateful to you.
  • Thank you for the generous wedding gift. We will save it towards the downpayment on our house.
  • You’re the best boss. Thanks for the [raise/recognition/promotion].
  • You are an amazing friend. Thank you for your kindness as I went through a difficult time.
  • The gift card was perfect. Thanks so much.
  • Thank you for the donation. We appreciate your support.
  • You’re a treasure! Thanks for your ongoing generosity.

There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of full-length thank you note examples on this site. Check here for the complete list of topics covered.

Viewing examples can help make it easier to write your notes by providing inspiration for your wording.

Remember that sincerity is appreciated by most gift-givers.

Thank You Note Etiquette being studied by a young woman

Thank You Note Etiquette

Keep in mind that etiquette is often subjective. Below are the etiquette “rules” I follow.

Should you send handwritten thank-you notes?

I like handwritten thank you note cards. They feel personal, and I enjoy shopping for cards.

There will be those that will say all thank you cards should be handwritten. However, I’m afraid I have to disagree with that. Sometimes a quick email is acceptable. And sending a text message is better than not saying thank you at all.

In general, handwritten notes can be used for any occasion but are more expected for wedding gifts, baby showers, graduations, or other events when people are invited via a paper (mailed) invitation.

You will need note cards or stationary, envelopes, recipient addresses, and stamps for handwritten notes sent via snail mail. And depending on the recipient, you could also consider adding stickers to the envelope.

Handwritten notes for coworkers or bosses can be handed to them or left on their desks. Asking for home addresses in a work situation may not be well received. Sending a professional thank you email is my preference for work situations. Also, post-interview thank you messages are usually sent by email instead of mailing them.

And don’t let lousy handwriting or other excuses keep you from handwriting notes. Writer slower. Print instead of writing in cursive. Be intentional and take your time.

Some people appreciate the gesture of a handwritten note more than others. Not everyone feels like they are a nice touch. I had a boss give me direct feedback once that handwritten notes didn’t mean anything to him. He was fine receiving an email or an instant message.

When should you send thank you notes?

Sending your notes as soon as possible is a good guideline. However, aiming for within one week will help you get them done and not forget.

For events like weddings or graduations, where there are many gifts, you can take longer, perhaps two to three weeks. However, you can follow this guide to avoid getting overwhelmed when you have a hundred or more notes to write.

Also, if you have two occasions close together, it’s okay to wait until after the second occasion to write one thank-you note. For example, if your birthday is near Christmas, you could write one thank you note for your birthday gifts and Christmas gifts.

Should you use cards with a pre-printed thank you message?

What about the greeting cards you see at the store that come with a thank you message in them? Is it okay to use those for your thank you notes?

I recommend using blank cards that only have Thanks, Thank You, (or a picture of your choosing) on the front of the card. Then you can write your own personal message.

But the pre-printed cards are better than not sending a card at all. And you can still write a little note in them, instead of just signing your name. Ideally, you want to mention what you are thanking the person for.

If you do not want to buy any kind of cards, you can see if you like any of my free printable thank you cards.

Meet Heidi

Heidi Bender

My name is Heidi Bender, and I’ve been writing thank-you notes for more than 30 years.

My mom taught me to write notes as a child, and I kept writing them as an adult. So, I created this site to help others write thank-you notes.

I’m the author of A Modern Guide to Writing Thank-You Notes, available on Amazon (affiliate link).

I enjoy spending time with my cats and husband in my free time. Since I like cats so much, in some of the posts with examples, I mention cat things. And some of the names used are taken from my current and former cats: Lina, Kilala, Buster, Violet, Jake, Elwood, Taco, Nacho, Charlotte, Pork Chop, Winter, Midnight, and Charcoal.

About Tons of Thanks

I am passionate about helping people express gratitude and say thank you through thank you note writing.

Thank you messages can express your gratitude and appreciation for a birthday gift, help, advice, people, weddings, baby showers, neighbors, and many other people and situations.

To get ideas for your thank you note wording, select your situation from the complete list of Thank You Note posts with sample messages here.