The maelstrom of holiday gifts is finally ending for the year, leaving a trail of torn paper, crumpled fabrics and scruffy ribbons in its wake. Now let’s move on to a less vaunted but still very important year-end tradition: writing thank-you notes.
A handwritten message may seem like a chore or a relic from a bygone era, but experts say they’re worth the extra effort. We spoke to etiquette coaches about how to write a good one. These are their tips.
For a small token or an act of service — say, watering your office plant while you’re away or saving yourself the last brownie — an email or text might suffice. But if someone gave you a gift or went out of their way to do something nice, a handwritten note is best.
Choose your medium
If you have high-grade stationary and A+ calligraphy skills to add some extra pizzazz to your note, great! But you don’t need to buy any special tools to make the gesture meaningful. A folded piece of paper – even a post-it note, if that’s what you have on hand – will also work. It’s the message that counts.
Keep it short and sweet
The ideal note is short and precise. Begin by thanking the person, specifically, for their gift or kind act. Write down how you plan to use their gift or how their actions made you feel. And then reiterate your thanks and mention the next time you see the person.
Sign, seal, deliver!
Choose a closing greeting appropriate to your relationship with the person you are thanking. “Sincerely” or “Best” suits a colleague or a boss. For someone close, consider “Warmly,” “Love,” or a playful “XOXO.” Once you’re done, send it: the faster the better, but there’s no limitation on gratitude.
Learn more about the importance of thank you notes and how to create a great one.