When I was growing up, my mom was adamant about thank you notes. In fact, her whole family was. One great uncle literally stopped sending me Christmas gifts for a few years because I had not written him a thank you note for one. True facts. So I’ve written quite a number of thank you notes in my day, and I usually keep it short and sweet and to the formula.
But recently, Andy and I got a thank you note from the wife of one of his coworkers, for whom we had bought a baby gift. It was so well-written and personal that it blew me, the long-time thank you note writer, away. If we extrapolate out what she wrote, it’s a good reminder of the important elements to include in a thank you.
The first paragraph was specific to the gifts we had given. It’s always polite to let the person know you’re really writing a note for them and not just a generic thank you to everyone who gave you something.
Then she included a tiny bit of detail about how they’re doing regarding the baby’s upcoming due date. Both of these sections were infused with a lighthearted humorous tone that made it fun to read, and hopefully fun to write, as well!
(If you received a Christmas or birthday gift, this section could include how you celebrated the holiday or what the next thing you’re looking forward to is, i.e. “I enjoyed having friends over and watching Dr. Who on my birthday. Someone made me the best cake I’ve ever had!” or “Now that Christmas is over, I can’t wait to get back to school and start working on my senior Honors thesis.”)
Finally, she wrapped up with a personal mention that she hoped we were well and looked forward to seeing us at the company’s holiday party (at which we sat together last year), if not before.
She signed it, “With gratitude!” which was a heartfelt ending to a succinct note covering just the inside of a 3×5 folded card.
I would like to say I write thank you notes pretty similarly, but it was a great reminder to receive a note that hit all of the high points. To convey my thanks for a gift or trip, this format works for me.