Manners Matter: The anatomy of a thank-you card

Photo by Kate Penn

After attending our friends’ wedding celebration last week, I couldn’t help but think back to my own nuptials many years ago.

Each August, I still pull out the wedding VHS and invite my husband to watch with me and reminiscence.

After the honeymoon, we had stacks of gifts and envelopes to sort through and organize to make sure each person was written a very thoughtful “thank you.”

I enjoyed handwriting those then, much the same as I enjoy helping my own children write thank-you notes today — after birthday parties or anytime they are on the receiving end of someone’s kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity.

This week, let’s examine the anatomy of the thank-you card and when you should write a thank-you note.

When to write a thank-you

Obviously you should be sending a note whenever you receive a gift from someone. In our house, the everyday “Manners Matter” chart states that before playing/using a gift, a proper thank you must be given to the sender.

If your child is not old enough to hand-write a proper thank you, assist them with stamping letters. Using rubber letter stamps can be a super fun way to get your child involved in creating a thank you and the recipient will certainly appreciate the effort. You’ll also have the added benefit of building fine motor and literary skills!

Your child might be more likely to write thank-you notes if they have a designated drawer or container where stationary, stamps, ink pads, stickers, envelopes, pens and specialty paper are always accessible.

Attending a wedding? A great gift idea for brides to be is to provide thank-you stationery, cards, envelopes, decorative stampers, elegant or theme-related stickers and, of course, postage stamps.

Other occasions that constitute a thank-you note

A verbal thank you is nice but a handwritten acknowledgment of someone’s effort is required in the following scenarios:

  1. When ill, if visitors bring you soup or reading materials.
  2. If you stay overnight somewhere — or if your child goes on vacation with a friend.
  3. Anytime someone throws you a party.
  4. When someone does you a favor or extends a special kindness — sewing a dress for you or feeding your guinea pigs when you are out of town.

How to write a thank-you note

The thank-you note consists of three parts:

    1. Thank the giver and name the gift.

    2. Say something nice about the gift.

    3. Use a nice closing and sign your name.

Be careful to write neatly so the recipient is able to clearly read your message. Also double check for spelling and grammatical errors.

You want the person to feel that you are spending the same amount of time and thought writing the note as he or she spent picking out the gift.

Anytime you write from the heart, your thank you will brighten someone’s day and make them feel appreciated.

Related posts

  1. Write foolproof thank-you notes every time
  2. Navigate a wedding with your kids in tow
  3. Helping children have manners that Sparkle and Shine

Heidi Thomas

Heidi Thomas is a certified etiquette trainer from Sparkle and Shine Modeling and Etiquette program at GYDance. For more information on Thomas and the program, visit Greater York Dance's website,

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4 Responses

  1. Abbey says:

    Handwritten thank yous are so important! Such good advice that is simple to follow! :)

  2. Heidi Thomas says:

    Thank you Abbey!

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