The Anatomy of a Great Thank You Note

The Anatomy of a Great Thank You Note

You went to the store and bought a pack of thank you note cards, but when you get home, you realize they’re blank. *Cue the panic*. What makes a good thank you note that doesn’t come off sounding cheesy? Is there some sort of template you can follow? Sure! This info can be applied to your all your big event gift receptions: weddings, graduation, birthdays, and more.

Calligraphy thank you note to show example for wedding, graduation, interview, or gift



“Dearest Aunt Belinda on my mother’s side…” Nope. During this whole process, write like you talk. You don’t need to use an over the top vocabulary because you are being polite. Using your normal words and sentence structure make the notes jump off the page and seen as something you genuinely took the time to write.

If you call Aunt Belinda, Bella, then use that. She’ll be expecting the salutation to match your interactions. “Hello Bella,” “Bella,” “Hi Aunt Bella,” are all welcome beginnings.



Acknowledge their effort and state what was given. If someone is going out of their way to give something, it’s always thoughtful to mention it. “Thank you for thinking of us. That toaster was a great idea for our new house.



This is the big one. How will you use the item you received? People want to know that when they invest money in something that it will be used rather than sit in a closet forever. Take some time to really consider how this item could make your life easier or how you will be implementing it. “This toaster is so fast, it’s going to make cooking breakfast a breeze! Hello, snooze button”

**Side Note** Some people give really off-the-wall gifts, like an infomercial hot dog stand, and how the heck are you going to use that as a vegetarian? Brainstorm time! “This is going to come in so handy when I’m looking to rotisserie vegetables in the winter and can’t make it out to the grill.” Think out of the box, but be real about it. If you can’t find something really nice to use it for, consider taking the person to lunch instead of a note.



This is optional, but can make some people feel warm and fuzzy. Emphasize how you know this person. You can also add an invite out or something here if appropriate. “I’m really glad to have an aunt like you. Maybe we can grab a movie sometime soon?”



Thank the person once more, and sign your name. That’s it!




Dearest Aunt Bella on my Mother’s Side,

Thank you for your generous offering of a toaster. It is great. See you at Christmas.



I’m not getting a thank you vibe. More of a “meh, they probably just wrote this to check it off their to-do list”.

Now let’s compare it to:


Hi Aunt Bella,

Thank you so much for thinking of us! This toaster was a great idea for our new house. It is incredibly fast and going to make cooking breakfast a breeze. Hello, snooze button! I’m really glad to have an Aunt like you. Maybe we can catch a movie and a bite to eat soon.

Thank you again,



Much more genuine, and definitely feel like the recipient took time out of their day to show their appreciation. As a gift giver, this means a lot to me.



  1. Write like you speak. You don’t need to be uber formal to be polite.
  2. Recognize the gift and appreciate the giver’s effort
  3. Explain how you will actually USE the item – may require some brain power
  4. Emphasize your relationship and extend an invitation
  5. Thank again and sign off.

Boom! A fool-proof way to maintain etiquette without coming across as disingenuous.

If you’re interested in creating a one-of a kind gift through custom calligraphy or custom wedding stationery, I’d love to talk. You can find more about my current writing styles here or we can devise something completely you just like I did when working on this Bar Mitzvah. Check out my latest work on social media

Chelsea is a professionally trained classic calligrapher from Seattle, Washington.  She has been mentored by some of the top calligraphers in the world including employees of the White House.

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