Thoughtful Wording for a Thank You Note

writing a thoughtful thank you note

The Spruce

After receiving a gift, attending a dinner party, or leaving someone's house from an overnight stay, you know you need to write a thank you note. However, you might not know exactly what to say. Most people want to send them, but it can be a huge struggle for some. They don't always know how to put their thoughts into words.

Purpose of a Thank You Note

If you are at a loss for words when you sit down with paper and pen and try to write something to show gratitude for someone else's generosity, follow this advice. You don't have to use fancy wording or write anything worthy of an award.

The main thing you need to do is show how much you appreciate the gift or hospitality. Even if you didn't care for the gift or if you didn't have a wonderful time, you should still send a thank you note. After all, the person thought enough of you to get you a gift or prepare her home for you.

What You're Thanking the Person For

Of course, you'll need to use some of your own wording, but with a basic outline, it shouldn't take too long to jot a thank you note to let others know how much you appreciate their gift, their hospitality, or their thoughtfulness.

At the beginning of the note, you need to be clear with the person what you are thanking them for and be specific. If this is for a gift at a shower, birthday party, or some other event that involved multiple gifts from a lot of people, have someone jot down who gave what as you open them.

If this is for an act of service, such as someone volunteering to mow your lawn or babysit your children, be clear. Mention the gift, service, or act you're thankful for and show what it means to you. Even when a thank you note isn't expected, thoughtful wording is important.

Show Gratitude

You might think that the importance of showing gratitude in your note is a given. However, there are some people who overlook writing a simple "Thank you," even though that was the purpose of the note. Even if you don't care for the gift, you should send a thank you note with an emphasis on the person's thoughtfulness.

Phrases to help with the opening line:

  • Thank you for the...
  • I am grateful for...
  • I am thankful for...
  • I appreciate the...

State the Gift or Act

Don't take the easy way out and simply state, "Thanks for the gift." Although this is officially a thank you message, it lacks the personal touch that makes the note seem sincere. This will be the second part of the opening line or first sentence.

Here are some examples:

  • Thank you for the lovely candlesticks.
  • I am grateful for your warm hospitality.
  • I am thankful for your friendship and willingness to listen when I need to talk.
  • Thank you for watching my children during my dental appointment.
  • I appreciate the gift card to my favorite restaurant.
  • Thank you for hosting my family during the holidays.
  • Thank you for the gift, but most of all, thank you for being at my Bar Mitzvah to help me celebrate such an important event.

Mention Your Reason for Being Thankful

This may include what you plan to do with the gift or how it helped you. Most of the time this part will be the second sentence of your thank you note.

Here are some examples of this part of the thank you note:

  • My husband and I will celebrate our anniversary soon, and we will use the candlesticks to make the setting even more romantic.
  • You made me feel like part of the family during our visit.
  • I have had a difficult time making my decision, and you helped me tremendously by being there for me.
  • They serve some of the best seafood in town, so I always look forward to eating there.

Here are some things you can write if you didn't care for the gift or your overnight visit wasn't as pleasant as you had hoped:

  • With the weather being so cold lately, the scarf was a very thoughtful gift.
  • It was so sweet of you to give me the box of mixed candies.
  • You clearly put a lot of time into getting your home ready for me, and I appreciate your hospitality.

Add a Closing Statement

This should be something that is specifically targeted toward the person you are sending the thank you note to. You may write one or two sentences, depending on what you want to say and how well you know the other person. Avoid something generic that could go to anyone.

Here are some ways you can end the note:

  • We would love to have you over for dinner sometime soon.
  • I look forward to seeing you and John next time you are in the area. Give us a call before you come so we can clear our schedule.
  • If you ever need someone to talk to, please don't hesitate to call.
  • Maybe next time we plan a trip to (the name of the restaurant or venue), we'll give you a call, and hopefully, you can join us.

Sign the Note

Personal signatures emphasize your relationship with the other person. If you have some sort of "friendship buzz phrase," this is the place you can use it. Otherwise, come up with something that leaves the other person feeling good about what you are thanking her for.

Here are some examples:

  • Love
  • Warmly
  • Friends always
  • Pals forever
  • Affectionately

Timing of a Thank You Note

The best time to send a thank you note is right after you receive the gift or whatever you are thanking the other person for. However, if a week or two has passed, don't let that be an excuse not to send one. Just do it as soon as you can. One of the biggest mistakes some people make is procrastinating on sending a thank you note.