The importance of sending handwritten thank-you notes

You know what’s harder than helping your kid write a thank-you note? Helping yourself do the same thing! (That’s why you get a full year after your wedding to write gift thank-you notes, right?)

While emails or even texts might be acceptable on informal occasions, handwritten cards can impress friends, relatives, and potential employers alike. When should you write a personalized, handwritten note?

  • After a job interview - that very night, if possible
  • After a bridal or baby shower
  • After a wedding, to attendants and for gifts
  • After receiving a birthday or holiday gift
  • After an unexpected kindness
  • After an illness

We know they’re easy to put off. But here are a few ways to stay organized and get the notes written in a timely fashion.

Baby shower or wedding gift thank-yous to write? Make sure that someone else – not you who are getting married or you who are about to be baby parents – is taking notes about who’s giving what gift, Maids of honor and best men; best friends; distant relatives who want something to do – this is where you come in! If the helpful people are up for it, they can even address the envelopes and stick on post-it notes identifying the giver and the gift. Overwhelmed at the number to write? Set a goal of two to four a day, with weekends off, until you’ve thanked everyone.

Buy cards you like. Keep a stock on hand, along with stamps and favorite pens, in a thank-you note box or drawer. The cards can be fun or serious, depending on your mood.

Writing a thank-you note for a job interview? Think about these steps:

  • Address your note to the hiring manager
  • Mention the title of the job for which you interviewed
  • Talk about your interest in the position,
  • Write, briefly, about a specific answers or ideas that seemed to spark the hiring manager or hiring committee’s interest
  • Thank everyone for their time and, finally
  • Include your contact information.

Writing a thank-you note for a birthday or holiday gift? Remember the tips for kids! Mention the gift, say something specific about why you appreciate it, try to be as genuine as possible without lying, and make the note look pretty.

Writing a random thanks for an unexpected kindness? Match the look of the thank-you card to the tone of your thanks – gentle, boisterous, quirky, sweet, amused, honored, direct, and everything in between.

If you’re writing a note on behalf of a bereaved family or person who’s too ill to write him or herself, stick to a script. Include a simple thank-you sentence mentioning the gift or helpful action, write a sentence that says how much the person or family appreciated the thoughtfulness of the gift, and (with permission) sign the name of the ill person or the bereaved family. Pick muted colors for these thank-you notes.

You can bring joy with just a few minutes of thoughtful writing. The world could use a little more of that. So good luck with your notes! We thank you for writing them.

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