The Lost Art of the Thank You Note - Blog Top Image

The Lost Art of the Thank You Note

So when was the last time you sat down and wrote a thank you note? When was the last time you received one?

Just this week in the mail, I received two Thank You notes, and they warmed my heart!  Reading them was like a gift in and of itself.

But it seems that the act of writing and sending a thank you note is becoming harder and harder to come by. How sad is that?


What emotion is more fulfilling than gratitude? What single act can fill someone’s day more completely than calling them by name and thanking them for making a connection.

I have encouraged my kids to write thank you notes for the Christmas presents they received. (My girls are 12 and 14 and so interpret “encourage” however strongly you choose!)

And I encourage each of us to restore and refresh the lost art of the thank you note.  It’s pretty simple, even, and I’m offering five simple steps, in case you’re a bit rusty.

Step 1 – Gather the Supplies

Find a pen. Find paper, put yourself in the presence of both. There is no requirement that they be written on cute little stationery, but if there’s a way to make it handwritten, go for it.  And get a clear picture in your head of what you’re thanking the other person for.

Step 2 – Start with their name

“Dear Aunt Clara.”

“Dear Stuart.”

“My Dear Friend Nancy”

“Mr. Benjamin”

As human beings we are absolutely delighted by the sound of our own name coming from someone we admire, respect, or cherish. And to see it in writing, to know that someone else is taking time to put pen to paper to form the letters of our name, how delightful!

Step 3 – Say thanks

This part is much easier than we make it out to be.  In case you get stuck on this part, try..

“Thank you for the…”

 Now you fill in the blank.  Use an adjective to describe the gift, and name the gift itself.

Mom encouraged us to never tell a lie (if you don’t think the sweater is lovely, don’t call it a lovely sweater) but maybe you can say “thank you for the warm sweater” or “thank you for your thoughtful gift of a new pen and pencil set” or if it’s less tangible, try

“Thank you for thinking of me.”

“Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and your wisdom.”

“Thank you for being an inspiration to me all these years.”

Step 4 – Describe the impact

This is where you add a sentence about how they’ve made a difference or what you’ll do with the gift or what you have done with the gift.

“Every time I use that new gravy boat, I’ll think of your kindness and smile.”

“I used the gift card to enjoy a dinner out with my lovely spouse.”

“Because of your insights, I was able to tackle that challenge and accomplish that goal ahead of schedule.”

Step 5 – Close briefly

Close your note with a simple

“Sincerely, [Your Name Here]”

The thank you note.  Short, sweet, to the point, relevant, handwritten.  These are amazing things. If you can’t write it by hand or your handwriting is really so hideous that no one else could read it, then type it up or have someone else write it for you, but make a genuine effort to send a written thank you.

My personal goal in 2019 is to send one thank you note out each week…I’ll let you know how it goes!

Topics: General Business, Networking

Sinikka Waugh

About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day. Are you ready? If you are, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!


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