If someone gives you a gift, if you’re like most people, the giver gets a high-five and effusive thanks. Or a maybe a quick, “Thanks, pal” text if the gift arrived in the mail. And that is usually sufficient for most relationships. But if you want to take your gratitude game to the next level, you should consider a return to the handwritten thank you note.
It seems antiquated, but since almost no one does it except your dentist on your birthday, you’ll stand out as particularly thoughtful. And that’s what it’s all about people, in the race to the top of the “awesomeness” scale, a handwritten thank you note might just be the thing that puts you over the top.
Let’s Taco ‘Bout Some History
Wonder when people started sending this 3×5 folded gratitude cards? We did. So, here’s a bit of history to wow and impress your friends and coworkers at happy hour or taco party (that you’ll definitely send a post-party thank you note for, especially if the queso was spectacular).
Best they can tell Chinese and Egyptian culture first started with what was the initial thank you note prototype — friendship and good luck notes exchanged on papyrus. Then, around 1400 Europeans started sending each other written social cards…the first greeting cards, quite literally. Eventually a German immigrant, Pouis Prang, brought greeting cards and thank you notes to America in 1856.
The history is a little light, but mildly interesting nonetheless. And if you’re looking for another day to celebrate, December 26th is Thank You Note Day. Which just sounds like a holiday parents made up to get their kids to write thank you notes to their grandparents for their Christmas gifts. As they should since according to science, expressing gratitude makes you more likable.
How to Write an Awesome Thank You Note
Getting to the practice of sending handwritten thank you notes can change your life. This guy wrote a whole book about it. Even if First-Class Mail continues to be on the decline, getting something other than junk mail means something to people. It conveys a thoughtfulness that a text does not.
So, if you’re ready to up your thanks-giving game, here are some general thank you note tips and tricks.
- Make is personal. Include a sentence or two that shows you wrote the note specifically for this person and that’s just not a generic thank you. Do better than the thank you note you get from your CEO on you work-versary.
- Mention the gift. Let the giver know what you liked about it, what you planned to do with, etc. If you didn’t like it, keep that to yourself and do NOT ask where they got it. You can still express appreciation for their thoughtfulness even if you plan to donate the gift.
- Keep it short, simple, and sincere. There’s not pressure to write a dissertation. A short, simple, sincere thanks with the aforementioned couple of sentences about what you value or appreciate about this specific person, should do the trick.
- Write a practice draft. Pro tip, open a document online or on your computer or in a notebook, write out a draft of what you want to say. It’ll help you organize your thoughts and minimize having to scratch out something that you’re not satisfied with. If you put the draft in a spreadsheet, you can add a column for date sent and keep track of the thoughtful people in your life.
- Better late than never. Unless you’re recently married and sending out thank you notes for all the wedding gifts (you have a year to send those), timeliness is best. BUT a late thank you note is still better than never sending a thank you note.
- Express thanks for the small things. Maybe it’s ridiculous, but if someone gives you the last big chip to scoop up the last of the queso, they deserve a thank you note. It’s the small things, people. Expressing thanks for them means something. And no one is ever going to complain to get an extra bit of gratitude.
They say people don’t necessarily remember everything you DO, but they always remember how you made them FEEL. And expressing gratitude is fundamental to social interactions that can invoke those warm fuzzy feelings that make a recipient feel appreciated and make you look like a not terrible human being.
And want to read some examples of people who know how to write a thank you? Read 11 Amazing Thank You Notes from Famous People on Mental Floss
Taco Thank You Cards
Ready to plow through your own thank you cards. Here are some taco-tastic taco cards sure to delight. Your thoughtfulness won’t be the only awesome thing about these cards. Browse this collection on Etsy or checkout taco cards on Zazzle.
Save for later on Pinterest!