“Writing Thank-You Notes,” Friend, Nov. 1986, 8
Courtesy makes everyone’s life more pleasant. Saying thanks is so easy that most people do it without thinking about it. People say thank you for having butter handed to them at the dinner table. They say thank you to people who do them favors, give them gifts, or provide them with special treats.
Saying thank you is easy. Writing thank you is a little more difficult. But thank-you letters can be easy to write if you follow a few simple tips.
Remember that you’re thanking a person for the time and thought and effort that he put into doing something for you—making a visit pleasant, running an errand, or giving a gift. So even if your Great-Aunt Louella doesn’t remember how much you’ve grown and sends you a shirt three sizes too small, she is thinking of you, and you should thank her for her thoughtfulness.
Thank-you notes or letters help the givers realize that you appreciate them. They may already know it, but just as you like to be told when you do something kind or thoughtful, so do other people. And if a gift has been sent through the mail, a thank-you letter also lets the sender know that it arrived.
It’s easy to write thank-you letters if you master a simple formula: three with three. A thank-you letter should be at least three paragraphs long, with at least three sentences in each paragraph. The first sentence of the first paragraph should include a thank-you for whatever was done for you. The second sentence should compliment the giver on the gift or favor. The third sentence should say something about how you plan to use the gift or how much you enjoyed the favor.
In the second paragraph ask questions that show that you are interested in the giver. Ask about a favorite hobby or activity. Tell the giver that you’re thinking of him and that you hope everything is going well.
Tell something about yourself in the third paragraph. Writing about things that you’ve done or are looking forward to doing will make the giver feel closer to you.
If you have more that you want to say, say it. On the other hand, if that’s all that you have to say, finish the letter with another thank-you for the gift or favor, close with “Lots of love” or some other closing, and sign your name.
Great-Aunt Louella will be happy to know that you cared enough to write and tell her that you appreciate her. And you’ll feel good knowing that you have made her happy.
Dear Great-Aunt Louella,
Thank you for the visit this weekend. I really had a good time. I’ll have fun showing my family the pictures we took.
What have you been doing with your stamp collection? I think about you whenever a new stamp comes out or whenever I see an unusual one. I hope that your collection is growing.
I’ve been taking lots of pictures. I still have much to learn, but I’m really enjoying it. I hope that I’ll have some pictures of the family to send to you soon.
Thanks again for letting me come.
Lots of love,
Dear Great-Aunt Louella,
Thank you for the socks. They’re really great for keeping my feet warm. I’m going to wear them the next time I go camping.
Are you still doing volunteer work with the animal shelter? I’m sending you pictures of the new one that’s being built here. I hope that you’ll enjoy sharing them with your friends.
I’ll be starting school again in a few weeks. I’ll be in the fourth grade this year. I hope that my teachers don’t give me too much homework.
Thank you again for the socks.