Thank You Notes in 5 Easy Steps!

Writing thank-you note notes can be rewarding and is an excellent way to express your gratitude!

Most people are happy to receive thank you notes, so taking the time to write a thank you is worth the time.

There are 5 parts to a thank-you note.

  1. The greeting.
  2. The thank you message.
  3. For what or why are you thankful?
  4. The closing.
  5. Sign your name.

Each part is explained in detail in the template below.

Thank you notes can be enjoyable to write as it gives you an opportunity to reflect on your relationship with the person. You may even learn to look forward to writing thank you notes.

After all, if you want to write a note, it means you have a reason to be grateful. And sending someone a thank you message may make their day.

Because the wording for the thank you message can be challenging, this site is full of examples with posts for many topics. You can see the topic list here (it includes coworkers, boss, dinner, teacher, veterinarian, neighbor, baby shower, birthdays, Mother’s Day, monetary gift, and many more).

Thank-you notes are the best when they include specific details. But sometimes you may need generic thank you note wording.

Thank You Note Template

Note: Words [in brackets] should be replaced as need. The 5 steps are in italics.

Dear [Name], – This is step 1, the greeting.

Thank you for the [whatever you are saying thank for] (this is step 2, the thank you). [One or two sentences about why you are thankful or what you will do with the gift (this is step 3, the what or why).

Thanks again, – This is step 4, the closing.

[Your Name] – Step 5 is signing your name.

The 5 Steps to writing a thank-you note:

1. The Greeting.

The first step is to greet the person.  The greeting starts the note. Some examples of greetings are:

  • Hi [Name],
  • Hello [Name],
  • Dear [Name],
  • [Name]

In the example below, the greeting is “Hi Heidi + Ted”.

Tip: Be sure to spell their name right! Some people will not care what else the note says if their name isn't spelled right. Is it Michelle or Michele? 

The name you use for a person should be the name that you use to address them in person. For example, if you call a couple, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, and never by their first names, use Mr. and Mrs. Jones when writing them a note.

If you are writing a note to your pastor, and you refer to them as Pastor Dan, then use Pastor Dan in the greeting.

2. Write The Thank You Message.

Next, write what you are thanking them for. Being specific. is my #1 tip.  This is done by Including what the gift was.

If someone helped you with something mention what that was. This can be one sentence. In the example note below, my dad thanked us for the meal at China Garden and also the Babe Ruth bars.

Your sentence will usually be Thank you for the _________.

If you want to start with something other than “thank you” read through the 9 tips to a better thank you note.

3. Say What or Why.

For the person to feel like you appreciated the gift, describe how you will use it, why you like it, or compliment it. If you have already used it, tell the person how you used it.

If you are writing a thank you note for money, say how you spent the money or went you are saving it for. This section can be one or two sentences.

You can find generic thank you note sayings here. Whenever possible, generic thank you messages or quotes should be avoided to make your note more meaningful.

For example, only writing “thank you for the thoughtful gift. I really appreciate it.” sounds generic. They may think that you don’t remember what the gift was, which may offend the person. When you remember what the gift was, it’s better to say what it is (but a generic note is better not saying thank you at all).

There are many posts on this site that provide thank you note wording samples for many occasions, events, and holidays. Please review the topic list here.

In the example below, my dad complimented the China Garden experience – “a good time was had by all.” He also said what he would do with the Babe Ruth bars – “take some to Honduras.”

4. Closing.

Next, close the note. This is where you say Love, Sincerely, or my personal favorite, “Thanks Again!”. The option that you choose will depend on your relationship with the person. My dad chose “Love”. This was appropriate since I am his daughter.

Here are suggestions for closing your thank you note:

  • Many thanks,
  • Love,
  • Thank you again,
  • Sincerely,
  • Best regards,
  • Kind regards,
  • Warm regards,
  • With love,
  • God bless,
  • With gratitude,
  • All the best,
  • Thanks again,
  • Thank you so much,

For additional ideas, Postable has a list with more than closings.

5. Sign your name.

End the note with your signature. In the example below, I call my dad “Dad” so he signed his name with Dad.

How well you know the person will determine if you want to use only your first name, full name, nickname, or title (ex. Doctor). With my friends and family members, I sign note cards with Heidi. For others, like a job interview, I use my full name.

Signing your name may same obvious, but I have received cards where the person forgot and also didn’t use a return address label. Based on the context of the note, I was able to figure out who it was from.

Example using a real thank you note

This thank you note was written to my husband and me by my dad for the birthday presents we gave him. The gifts were a gift card to China Garden, his favorite Chinese restaurant, and some fun size Babe Ruth bars. His birthday was shortly before he left on a mission trip to Honduras.

Thank you note example

The note says:

Hi Heidi + Ted,
Thank you for the delicious meal at China Garden. A good time was had by all.   The Babe Ruths are my favorite candy bar. I will take some to Honduras.
Love,
Dad

As you can see, my Dad’s handwritten note includes all five parts of a thank you note.

You may also notice that his handwriting isn’t that easy to read. That’s okay! I could still make it out. Don’t use “no one can read my writing” as an excuse to avoid handwritten notes.

Thank you note tips

  • If you decide to send a text message or perhaps an instant message (ex. to a coworker or boss) instead of a handwritten note or email, the greeting, closing, and the signing of your name can be omitted.
  • You may be wondering if your thank you note should be handwritten. Handwritten notes will stand out and be more memorable in most situations (job interviews may be an exception).
  • Many are choosing other methods for saying thank you, such as text messages and other ways, but I still prefer a handwritten thank you note with today’s technology.
  • Choose a card appropriate for your situation. Read through my 7 tips for choosing a card.
  • Read this article if you have lots of notes to write (like after weddings, baby showers, or high school graduation).
  • For your first ever thank you note, read the tips here. Or check out my “stuck inside, write notes” guide.
  • And read this post for 25 thank you note writing tips.

Thank you note wording examples

The thank you message will be the hardest part of the note. Knowing what to say when you want to express your gratitude can feel difficult.

The best thank you notes feel sincere, so you may need to paraphrase an example to make it sound like it came from you.

Remember the goal is for the recipient to know they/their gift is appreciated.

My recommendation is to make the note personal and specific. If you need to write a generic note, there is a list of wording suggestions here.

Otherwise, this site has hundreds of examples to provide you with the inspiration to write the perfect note. You can browse the topics here. Look for a post for the occasion for which you need to write a thank-you note.

thank you space cat meme

How long can you wait to send a thank you note

My advice is to send a thank-you note promptly. Within a week is a good timeline to aim for.

It’s better to get that note written than to procrastinate. Otherwise, you may end up spending more time thinking about writing the note than it would take to actually write it and mail it (if doing handwritten).

However, when you have many to write following an occasion where many gifts are received, you will need more time. Within a month or two seems reasonable (the rules are made up and a little arbitrary). Even Emily Posts says that a year is too long for wedding gifts.

You can read through my tips for writing 100 notes or more here.

To take your thank you note writing to the next level, check out the tips:

About The Author
Heidi has been writing thank you notes for more thank 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.

7 thoughts on “Thank You Notes in 5 Easy Steps!”

  1. I really miss thank you cards. I always send them, but it’s been years since I’ve received them. I actually stopped mailing gifts to nearly everyone, because they couldn’t even be bothered to text me to let me know it arrived safely. I send cards instead. It’s kind of sad, but sending gifts and hearing not a peep was upsetting me, and who needs that?

    • I’ve heard the same from others about not receiving any sort of thanks for a gift. One of the reason I started this blog is to encourage more people to write them, even if they’ve never written one before.

    • Oh I know what you mean about not receiving any confirmation of receiving a gift OR any kind of thank you! BTW – I make hand-made cards and had offered on the 31 Dayers Facebook page (when Heidi posted her “Thank you” blog) that I’d send anyone a card if the sent me a private message…that offer still goes!!! I have TONS of handmade cards – some made by others that I was using for “donations” for an event I went to earlier this year…That offer still stands!!

  2. Thanks for the quick and easy guide. A quick question though… Should I start my comments around whatever text is displayed on the right side and then “carry over” to the left to finish? Or start on the left? (I feel cramped on the right but people expect to read the inside of the card so I’m not certain.)

    • I recommend using a card that is blank on the inside. if you are using a card with pre-printed text, you can start on the left and carry over if needed. It just depends on how much you have to say and the size of the card. This is a great question for a full blog post!

      • Oh I know what you mean about not receiving any confirmation of receiving a gift OR any kind of thank you! BTW – I make hand-made cards and had offered on the 31 Dayers Facebook page (when Heidi posted her “Thank you” blog) that I’d send anyone a card if the sent me a private message…that offer still goes!!! I have TONS of handmade cards – some made by others that I was using for “donations” for an event I went to earlier this year…That offer still stands!!

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