How to Write Really Awesome Thank You Notes Easily

The No-Struggle Way to Get Your Kids to Write Thank-You Notes. Just 6 easy steps to awesome notes every time. From

You — and your children — are probably about to get a huge influx of gifts. And while the presents are fun and all (of course), what’s the right way to handle it so you raise grateful kids? How can you help them focus on the real reasons we celebrate Christmas? The answer is simple: thank you notes!

Teaching them to write thank you notes is not only the polite thing to do, but it also helps your kids experience the joy all over again for the things they’ve received. Psst — and? It makes you look really put together for being someone who actually sends thank you notes. And that’s a nice by-product this time of year… just being honest here!

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The Step-by-Step Formula to Writing Really Awesome Thank You Notes:

(Click here for a free printable version of this to use as a “cheat sheet.” Easy-peasy.)

1. The Opening

Open it with a good ol’ fashioned “Dear ______,”

Simple as that.

2. Here’s an Optional Part

Great for older kids and adults!

Say something personal, as you would if you were writing a regular note or email to the person.

Just because it’s a thank you note, that doesn’t mean it is limited to talking about the gift they gave to you. For example, if this person showed off their amazing dance moves at your recent Christmas gathering (lucky you!), you might write, “I am so glad you could come to our Christmas party. You can really dance!”

To get this point across to kids, I found the book Ten Thank You Letters by Daniel Kirk (affiliate link) to be very helpful. It’s a cute story about a little pig writing a thank you letter to his grandmother, and he does this personal part very well.

3. Get to the Point: Say Thanks!

Thank the person for the item or items they gave you. Mention what it was specifically — NONE of this thank you for the gift business.

I find it a little generic to write a thank you note that doesn’t mention the specific gift you received, as if you forgot which present they gave to you. Yikes! The point is to show them that you are grateful for exactly what they gave you (and that you cared enough to remember what it was).

4. Say Something Extra about the Gift

Say something you like about the gift or how you plan to use it. If the gift was monetary, talk about how you spent the money or gift card — or how you plan to use it if you’re saving up!

This is important because it invites the gift-giver into your world, to imagine how you are enjoying what they thoughtfully gifted you. It’s kind of like a small way of giving something back to them — the enjoyment of knowing their gift was well received.

5. Add a Personal Touch

Here’s where I usually say something genuine and personal — perhaps how you can’t wait to see them again or how you admire their thoughtfulness. I like to use thank you notes to remind the special people in my life why they are truly one-of-a-kind. Relationships are a blessing, and I want people to know that I value THEM personally more than even the gift they gave to me.

6. Double Back on the Thanks

Express your gratitude again by saying something like, “Thanks again” or “Thanks SO much!”

7. The Closing

Close with your name.

Some ideas for signing off include:

  • Love
  • See you soon
  • Yours truly
  • Warmly

… before you sign your name.


Frequently asked questions for Thank You Notes:

1. How long do I have to write my notes?

Shoot for about a week after receiving the gift (or after the event, like a birthday party or Christmas gathering). If you find yourself needing more time — and I’m saying this as nicely as I can — DON’T BLOW IT OFF. I am under the impression that “better late than never” applies here. Seems like a safe bet.

Pro tip: to get kids to write their notes faster, request that they don’t play with, wear, or spend the gift until the note is written. Harsh, perhaps, but it gets the job done! (I actually do this for myself… can’t spend that birthday money until I’ve written my thank you notes. Talk about incentive!)

2. If I receive one gift from multiple people, do I have to write separate thank you notes for each person?

If the people live at separate addresses, yes, please do! For example, Aunt Susan and your adult Cousin Charlotte purchased your child a Christmas gift together, but they live at separate addresses. For those of you keeping score at home — that’s right — you should write separate notes to both Aunt Susan and Cousin Charlotte.

3. Do I need to write a thank-you note for a greeting card?

Traditionally, no — but it’s always a good idea to call the person or thank them next time you see them. People like to at least know their kind gesture wasn’t lost in the mail! But if that greeting card included a gift or money inside, by all means do include it in your thank you notes.

4. My relative sent money. Do I say how much money they gave me when I write thank you notes?

Nope. I didn’t know That’s considered a bit impolite. It’s better to emphasize their generosity and what you intend to use it for as opposed to stating how much they sent.

5. What if I don’t like the gift?

On the rare chance that you or your child received something they don’t like, can’t use, or already have, DO NOT mention that you plan to return it. Find something positive to say “The sweater is a lovely shade of pink!” or even “You are so thoughtful.”

But don’t encourage your kids to lie and say they LOVE it. Not only is that wrong (duh), but also Aunt Fiona might expect little Laura to be wearing that ill-fitting outfit every time she sees you. (Or worse, you may encourage her to purchase another in every color they make! Eek!)

6. What if my child can’t write yet — or has a short attention span?

If your child is young — say, 8 and under — you should write the notes with them.

Around age 3 or 4, you can start letting them help you write notes. Have them color a picture for the recipient as a thank you gesture, or even have your child pose for a photo with the gift — then print and send with the note you write.

You could also ask your child questions and write down the highlights in a note. This sometimes captures some quote-gems, like when my then 3-year-old closed every note he dictated to me with, “You’re my best friend and I love you.” So cute.

And don’t forget: want something cute to print out and use as a cheat sheet over and over again? Here’s a free printable PDF of the 6 Easy Steps to writing a stellar thank you note.

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About Aubrey Hunt
Before hopping on the crazy ride we call motherhood, I studied engineering and taught math and science to middle and high school students. Now, perhaps like you, I fill my days singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider and praying my preschooler will eat a vegetable — any vegetable!