Events like weddings and graduations tend to result in many gifts. When I got married I probably did feel a little overwhelmed. Now that I’m older and looking back on this, I have thought about how I could have avoided the overwhelm.
For one, we should not have written the names of the givers and the gifts on an envelope. This led to a sloppy list and to not knowing who gave us the mini crock-pot and sending two thank you notes for another gift.
Follow the steps below to complete all of your thank you notes without feeling overwhelmed.
Be organized before your event
Being organized before your wedding or graduation (or another event for which you will receive many gifts) is very helpful.
If you are reading this before you are on the right track! The first step is to make a template that you can use to track the name of who gave each gift and what the gift was.
You can do this in Excel, Word, Canva, or regular paper
- Make a 1-page grid and print it as many times as needed or use lined notebook paper.
- Have columns for the giver’s name, gift, and thank you note sent.
- Fill out the first three columns as you open the gifts.
- Once the thank you note is sent (or written) mark it off in the thank you note sent column.
Or download a printable template here.
Take it with you to the event (ex. baby shower) or have it with you when opening your wedding or graduation gifts. Or a shower host may be the one to fill out the names and gifts.
Be diligent in using it! Write neatly. This will save you pain later.
If your event has already happened and you didn’t write down who gave you what gift, do not panic.
Try not to think about how you wished you had been better organized. Don’t try to figure out why you thought you would be able to remember them all. None of that will help now.
Write down as many gifts and the gift giver’s name as possible. If you can’t remember, still send a thank you note. You will have to be a bit generic and say “thank you for the gift” instead of naming what the gift was.
This is better than not sending a thank you note at all. Including another sentence thanking them for coming to the event will help it feel more real.
Do not write them all at one time
This is key and very important, so let me repeat that: DO NOT write all the thank you notes at one time. Also, do not feel like you need to write them all on the same day. Both will lead to that feeling of overwhelm that we want to avoid. Plan to write the thank you notes in several sessions.
Also, take breaks. I recommend writing no more than five notes at one time. If you have 100 to write and want to finish in a week, plan to write about 15 a day. This can be done in about 90 minutes if you spend no more than 5 minutes on each note and take a 5-minute break after every 5 notes. If you have 49 to write, write 7 each day. Do the first 4 and then take a break and write the next 3. You get the idea.
If these notes are wedding thank you notes, have your spouse help.
Decide not to feel overwhelmed
Your mindset is important. If you think you will be overwhelmed, then you will feel overwhelmed. Decide that the thank you note writing will be enjoyable. As you write each thank you note, reflect on the gift and the giver and what they mean to you.
Remember how you felt when you opened the gift. Think about how you will enjoy the gift. Smile if they traveled a long way to attend your event.
Read: Learn how to write a thank you note.
You may also want to read how to write a thank you note for money since money is a popular gift.
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.