How to Write a Heartfelt Thank You Card

Updated on October 30, 2016
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Sadie Holloway is exploring how to live more intentionally, everyday. Her favorite self-help authors are Deepak Chopra and Julia Cameron.

These tips on how to write a thank you card are perfect for anytime a special gift or random act of kindness brightens your day. Saying 'thank you' is so much more than just good manners. Giving thanks for the things that make life richer and more enjoyable is an important part of how we communicate and connect with one another.

If someone took the time to pick out, wrap, and deliver a special gift to you, surely you can find the time to a heartfelt thank you card in return!
If someone took the time to pick out, wrap, and deliver a special gift to you, surely you can find the time to a heartfelt thank you card in return!

Have you ever been rendered speechless by someone's act of kindness? When a friend, a family member, or even a random stranger does something nice for you, it can sometimes be hard to find the right words to express your gratitude. If you want to send a heartfelt, personal thank you note to someone special, these tips on what to write in a thank you card can help you find the perfect words for almost any occasion.

Include these three things in your next thank you letter.

1. Be specific about what you are thanking the individual for. If you are thanking someone for a gift they gave you, describe the gift. For example, instead of saying ‘Thank you for the birthday present you sent me,’ try ‘Thank you for sending me a brightly colored antique enameled pill box.’ When you take the time to notice the details about the gift, you are acknowledging the care and attention the gift-giver put into choosing a gift for you. The more descriptive detail you include in your thank you card, the less likely your note will sound like a form letter that was dutifully sent just because sending a card is 'the polite thing to do.'

You can find an assortment of pre-printed thank you cards with generic impersonal messages already filled in. But your thank you card will be so much nicer if you take the time to craft your very own message of gratitude.
You can find an assortment of pre-printed thank you cards with generic impersonal messages already filled in. But your thank you card will be so much nicer if you take the time to craft your very own message of gratitude.

2. Describe how the gift or act of kindness made you feel. One of the best ways to say thank you for something that someone has done for you is to let them know how their gift made you feel. Did the gift make you feel happy? Did the gift remind you of a special childhood memory? Did their act of kindness reduce your stress and anxiety about something? People give gifts to one another to evoke feelings and emotions, not to help each other amass more 'stuff' just for the sake of having more stuff. Don't just focus on the material aspect of the gift you received; focus on the emotional impact of the gift as well.

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Did you know that World Gratitude Day is on September 22? But you don't have to have a special day marked on your calendar to say 'Thanks!' to someone special.

3. Describe the need that the gift you received helped you meet. Now that you have described the gift or action that you're giving thanks for and you've let the gift-giver know how their thoughtfulness made you feel, it's time to add one final element to your thank you card: the need that the gift helped you fulfill. As mentioned earlier, we give gifts to one another to express and evoke a multitude of human emotions: love, happiness, contentment, and so on. We also give gifts to help make people's lives better. So go on and write about how the gift helped you fulfill a meaningful need. Perhaps you were feeling lonely and bored before your friend decided to take you out for dinner and a movie. Why not tell your friend exactly that--that her time and attention made you feel special and that going out to a movie and a delicious meal satisfied your appetite for mental stimulation and good company. If the healthy cookbook that someone gave you motivated you to try new recipes and improve your eating habits,tell the gift-giver how you were able to address your desire to take better care of yourself. There is something incredibly heartfelt about openly sharing your wants and needs with someone and letting them know how they've enriched your life through a simple act of kindness.

Who's on your letter writing list?

Who is the next person you'll be sending a Thank you card to?

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When was the last time you really put your heart into a thank you card?

Sending a thank you card when someone does something nice for you is essential. Sending one, out of the blue and 'just because' is especially nice.
Sending a thank you card when someone does something nice for you is essential. Sending one, out of the blue and 'just because' is especially nice.

Keep your thank you card messages simple and close to your heart.

In summary, the key to writing a heartfelt thank you card is to be as specific as you can. Let the recipient know exactly what it was they did that you want to acknowledge. Let them know how their gift or act of kindness made you feel and then share what personal need their gift helped you fulfill.

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.

— William James

© 2016 Sadie Holloway

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