When to Write a Thank You

What to Write in a Thank You Card

When someone does something nice for you, being thankful is the easy part. Expressing thanks is not so simple and deciding what to write in a card can be daunting.
Though difficult, writing a great thank you note is a win-win: the gesture communicates what you think and how you feel and hopefully, your thanks will make the recipient feel as good as you did about their generosity.
Thank you notes are better when written in a personal way with well-expressed thoughts and feelings. Use these sample thank you messages to express your gratitude.

Thank You Card Messages

These are some additional ways of saying thank you beyond what is already written in a thank you card:
  1. Only someone with great taste could get me such a cool gift. Your generosity is as great as your sense of style.
  2. I think you know me better than I know myself. Your gift was exactly what I wanted, even though I didn't know I wanted it.
  3. I couldn't find a card that expressed my gratitude the way I wanted. I need a card that gives you a big hug.
  4. If you could see my face right now, you'd see a look of gratitude.
  5. You made a difference because you are so caring and thoughtful.
  6. I am grateful for you and your generosity.
  7. Words can't express the gratitude I feel when I think about what you have done. I'll just say thanks.
  8. You are truly a blessing in my life. I am not sure what I would do without you. Thanks for all you do.
  9. Taking the time to help me was a very nice thing for you to do. I know that you are a person who sacrifices for others without thinking. Thank you.
  10. The longer I am around you, the more I realize that you are a genuinely generous and caring person.
  11. I don't know if I should thank you or whoever made you such a nice person.
  12. I don't think I could find a more thoughtful, generous person.
  13. You are so generous, I know you'd give me the shirt off your back if I asked. Good thing I'm not asking.
  14. You deserve a bigger thank you than this card. I will remember what you did.
  15. I consider you a gift from God, so I guess I should send Him a thank you card. I know His address, but could you tell me how much postage I'll need?
  16. You have been extremely supportive through this difficult time. You may not realize what a blessing you have been. Thanks for your help.
  17. You have encouraged me during a time when I needed encouragement. Thank you.
  18. That was a really cool way to surprise me. I really like the way you set everything up and made it an awesome time.
  19. Thank you for thinking of me and taking the time to be kind. You have a great heart.
  20. I appreciate the timing of your help. You helped right when I needed it most.

Funny Thank You Messages

Being funny in a thank you card is appropriate as long as you don't take for granted what the person did or gave you.
  1. They say that giving to others can improve your mood and outlook on life. In that case, I think you owe me a thank you for accepting your generosity.
  2. Whoever said "It is better to give than receive" surely never met you.
  3. If I could pay you back in imaginary money, you'd be the richest person in the imaginary world.
  4. It's beginning to look like we have a relationships that is 'give and take.' In this case, you're doing most of the giving.
  5. I have a complaint. You treat me so well, I'm having a tough time finding something to complain about.
  6. I think I'm going to have to file bankruptcy, because there's no way I'll ever be able to repay you.
  7. If I got you a thank you card to match the size of your generosity, it wouldn't fit in your mail box.

Thank You Card Messages for a Gift

These are examples to help when someone gave you a gift.
  1. Do you have limits to your generosity? All I can say is, wow!
  2. I don't know anything else to say except thank you.
  3. You must be reading my mind, because you got me exactly what I wanted. I guess I don't have to actually say thanks since you can read my mind.
  4. Your generosity and your investment of time has been a blessing. Thanks!
  5. You are thoughtful and generous in your gift-giving. You picked a perfect gift for me.
  6. I appreciate your generosity. You are one of the most generous people I know.
  7. Only someone who knows me as well as you do would know to get me __. Thanks for knowing me. I'm thankful for knowing you.
  8. You gave me an awesome gift that I will thoroughly enjoy.
  9. I love my new ____. You really picked out a great gift.
  10. Thanks for being thoughtful. Your gift means a lot to me.
  11. How did you know what I didn't even know I wanted? Thank you!

Words of Gratitude

Use this list of words to help you write your own message.

How to Write a Thank You Card Message

These are some general tips for how to write a thank you card. None of these things are necessarily must-have items, but you can choose the parts that fit your situation:
  1. Mention your feelings. This is not to be confused with your thoughts. Feelings include words like: surprised, delighted, elated, overwhelmed, etc.
  2. Mention your thoughts. Sometimes it's nice to explain how you will use the gift or specific things you like about what was done or given to you.
  3. Think of a creative way to compliment the person. Saying "I don't know how you are so amazing at giving gifts" sounds better than "The gift is perfect."
  4. Speak to the importance of your relationship. Talk about how important the person is in your life, not just what they did or gave you.
  5. Offer to do something nice or give the person in return. In some cultures, it is customary to give a gift when a gift is given. You don't necessarily have to give anything to the other person, but it's o.k. to offer to take someone out to dinner who has just taken you out to dinner.
  6. Use humor. Inside jokes work well, as long as you are staying positive about what you are thanking the person for.
  7. Match the amount of writing to the size of the gift or service. If the person gave you a nice present, then a card will do. If the person made large sacrifices and went above and beyond, then you may want to write a thank you letter.

Who to Send a Thank You Card To

Throughout your life, you'll encounter many people who deserve a thank you. Sometimes people will do or give things in a formal way. This will happen when tied to an occasion, such as a baby shower. Other times people will do things unexpectedly, such as helping you fix your car when it has broken down.
Regardless of the formality, the following are a few people who you'll probably end up thanking throughout your life.
  1. Friends
  2. Family members
  3. Teachers
  4. Pastors or Ministers
  5. Coworkers
  6. Neighbors
  7. Employees
You get the idea that just about anyone can deserve a thank you. The question is not just who deserves thanks but more about when to send a thank you note.

When to Write a Thank You

As a rule of thumb, thank you cards and letters should be sent as soon as possible. If you are thanking people for attending a large celebration event such as a wedding, the typical time frame for the thanks is one month from the event.
Here are some occasions that warrant a thank you letter or card:
  • After receiving a gift
  • After someone does a favor for you
  • After a job interview
  • When a teacher Inspires you
  • After a party has been thrown for you
  • When a profitable business deal is made
  • When medical staff take great care of you
  • When you're feeling blessed by a friendship
Some people think that if they don't get their thank you card sent in a certain window of time, then they should just forget it. This is not true. You can always send a thank you card late. Although not ideal, late is better than never.
It's always the right time to show gratitude for things others have done. Most people don't expect to be thanked for wedding or graduation gifts until at least a month or so after the event. This gives you plenty of time to write something personal or funny in your thank you card.

What Not to Write in a Thank You Card

Just in case you don't know what not to do, here are some examples to distinguish a bad message:
  1. "The gift you sent wasn't exactly my taste" or "I am glad I was able to take it back for a refund."
  2. "I know you were just trying to help, even though it ended up making everything more difficult for me."
  3. "I almost forgot to send a thank you card because I forgot what your gift was."
  4. "Thanks for nothing."