Writing Your First Thank You Note Ever

If your family did not have the tradition of writing thank you notes when you were growing up, it is possible that you have never written one.

My husband’s family did not grow up writing them. Mine did. I learned how to write them. He didn’t. +

You can start the tradition with your family. This article will help you get started with your first thank you note.

I recommend handwriting the thank you note as they are more personable and memorable.

Writing your first thank you note:

Writing a thank you note sounds easy. Buy a box of thank you note cards. Write them. Address and stamp them. Mail them. However, if it is not something you have ever done before it may feel a little intimidating.

It could be a challenge to your mindset. Once you do something once, it is a lot easier. It is very likely that you have spent more time wondering how to get started than it will take to buy some cards and write your first note.

A thank you note can be treated like a recipe. Follow the instructions and it usually turns out alright. When I make a recipe for the first time, I read and reread the instructions. And the whole process usually takes 25% to 50% longer than stated in the recipe.

I go slow. I reread. I take my time when making a recipe for the first time. It’s okay if you takes you while to write the first thank you note. Just like cooking they get easier with practice.

What you need to get started:

Start with a nice pen. Nice does not mean expensive. Do not use a super cheap pen that you got for free for somewhere. It very likely will not write well and may leave behind ugly ink blobs. I prefer to write with a fine point pen, but you can use whatever point you prefer.

You will also need stamps, address labels, and thank-you note cards (unless you are emailing it). My recommendations can be found on the Resources page.

Other stuff:

If you have fear of how your family or friends will respond work on your mindset. If you start sending thank you notes for gifts, then maybe they think you are going to expect a thank you note from gifts when you give them a gift. Receiving a thank you note is thoughtful but not the reason we give gifts, so it’s okay if they don’t. If they want to great! But if not, don’t make them feel bad or guilty about it.

The receiver may never acknowledge the thank you note. Do not expect them to. It just depends on the person. Remember that you are writing the thank you note to express your gratitude and acknowledge the gift.

Before you start

Before you start, review the thank you note basics. Knowing what is needed, just like in a cooking recipe, will help you give confidence and lessen your fear.

First, identify what gift you’d like to send a thank-you note for.

Since finding an address can sometimes be an issue, for your first thank-you note, start with someone for which you already know their address. Or if you are going to say thank-you in another way, you don’t need to know their address.

Review the example below to get an idea of what to write.

What should you say in the thank you note?

The person should be addressed by name.

Thank them specifically for what the gift was. Add another sentence if you can think of one.

For your first thank-you note, it’s okay to have only one sentence. It will look really short but it’s okay for your first one, as it will help build your confidence.

The first thank-you note is about writing one not so much what you say. It’s about the process and proving to yourself that you can do it.

End with an appropriate closing. “Thanks Again” is one of my favorites!

Then sign your name.

In the examples below, you could start with the basic template. I included examples with one or two extra sentences. As you can see this helps fill out the thank you note card a bit. The receiver may also feel more of a connection with you if you include more than one sentence.


Basic easy template (only recommended for your first ever thank you note):

Dear [insert name],

Thank you for the [insert gift].

Thanks Again,
[insert your name]

Basic easy template example:

Dear Mom,

Thank you for the cookbook.

Thanks Again,

Easy example with an additional sentence:

Dear Mom,

Thank you for the cookbook. I have already made two recipes from it.

Thanks Again,

Easy example with two additional sentences:

Dear Mom,

Thank you for the cookbook. I have already made two recipes from it. I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Thanks Again,

I hope this article has given you the encouragement and examples needed to get started with thank you notes. 

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About The Author
Heidi has been writing thank you notes for more than 30 years and is the author of A Modern Guide to Writing Thank-You Notes. Her goal is to help people write better thank-you notes by providing tips and examples.

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