In Tips & Advice

Thank You Note Etiquette

When was the last time you sat down with a pen, wrote someone a heartfelt “thank you” note and mailed it? Not over email. Not by text. Not through a “shout out” on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

As technology continues to inundate our lives and reinforce our expectations of instant gratification and immediate responses, we often forget some treasured, time-honored rituals – like the simple task of writing and sending a “thank you” note – that if still practiced can actually help people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships, as reported in the Harvard Medical School article “In Praise of Gratitude.

As an added bonus, sending and receiving handwritten “thank you” notes helps bridge widening generational gaps and bolster respect and gratitude between young and old, as described by Catherine Kitz of Oakland, California, in a New York Times article. Not to mention, it’s just plain nice!

With the holidays right around the corner, now is the perfect time to pick up your favorite pen and resurrect the art of “thank you” cards. Whether you’re thankful for being a guest in someone’s home, attending a holiday gift exchange, receiving a present or enjoying a surprise tin of homemade cookies, a “thank you” card sincerely portrays your genuine gratitude to others, while also signaling they are vital to your holiday joy.

How To Write A “Thank You” Card

Realizing that an email, text or “shout out” might seem like a quick fix, PrimeLending is sharing these five helpful tips that make expressing gratitude easier and more meaningful:

  1. Start Your Day Right– Writing “thank you” cards positively impact a person’s overall well-being, so why not start your day off with thanks! It doesn’t need to be all-consuming – try getting up 10-15 extra minutes early and grabbing your go-to morning beverage, your favorite pen and your “thank you” cards. To avoid overwhelming yourself, especially during the holiday season and other gift-giving times, stick to writing only three to five cards each morning.
  2. Lead with Thanks – Start your card by explicitly stating what you’re thankful for (i.e., receiving a specific gift, hosting a visit or party, collecting your mail while you were traveling, etc.). While it’s never too late to send a “thank you” card, if you find yourself writing later than you’d hoped to, mention your apology in the next sentence. It can be as simple as, “I apologize for my delay in writing you.”
  3. Get Specific – Once you’ve expressed thanks, include a special detail! For example, if you’re thanking someone for a gift, share how you’re enjoying it or how you’re planning to use the item. If you’re thanking someone for hosting you in their home, mention something your favorite part of the visit. If you’re thanking someone for hosting you at a party, compliment their attention to detail and fabulous hosting skills.
  4. Add a Personal Touch – Finally, before you sign the card, add a heartfelt sentiment about what their gift/hospitality/thoughtfulness/etc. means to you. Nothing will make your recipient feel better than knowing they contributed to your happiness!
  5. Mail It – Don’t forget to mail your cards! All that feel-good emotion you conjured up by writing your “thank you” cards can quickly disappear if you realize your recipients never received them… because you forgot to mail! TIP: be sure and keep a stash of stamps handy so you can send off your card with no delay.

Are “Thank You” Texts Ever Okay?

Sure, but it all depends on the situation and relationship! If your spouse, partner or roommate takes out the trash, a quick text of gratitude works. But, when your Aunt Fran takes time to send your child a holiday outfit, a “thank you” card is a must… along with an adorable photo of your child wearing the outfit! Also, there are some occasions, like staying in someone’s home or attending a party they hosted, when a “thank you” gift is also appropriate.

Here’s PrimeLending’s quick guide for appropriate “thank you” methods, per the act of kindness:

Act of Kindness Appropriate Thank you Method
Took Out the Trash Verbal or Text
Gave You A Ride Verbal or Text
Collected Your Mail Verbal and Traditional Card

Gift is Optional

Sponsored Charity Event Phone Call and

Traditional Card

Email is optional

Social Media Shout Out is optional

Interviewed You for A Job Email and

Traditional Card

Mailed A Gift Phone Call and

Traditional Card

Gave A Gift in Person Verbal and

Traditional Card

Hosted You In Home Verbal and

Traditional Card

and Gift

Hosted You At Company/

Organization/Other Party

Verbal and Gift


We hope these “thank you” card best practices help you share your gratitude this holiday season! Remember, if you’ve got holiday home-buying on your wish list this season, contact a PrimeLending home loan expert to learn about your mortgage options.


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