Say More Than Thank You

7 Tips for Better Thank You Cards

party invitations photo

Find yourself at celebration after celebration lately? June’s end is typically when graduation parties, along with their barbecues, bonfires, and late-night talks with friends seem to dissipate.  If you happen to be the host of one of these affairs, you might feel some relief after lugging the mountainous party trash to your curb.  However, you have one final necessary task… Thank You Cards.  The upside? It’s the graduate’s job to write them.  The downside? If you’re their parent, it’s your job to make sure they do so.

After a large graduation party, what is often so intimidating about writing Thank You Cards is the sheer amount of them.  You inevitably find yourself writing nearly the same words to everyone. I thought it could be useful to cover some tips for writing better Thank You Cards and attempt to dispel the tedious feeling they often produce.

Tip #1: Create your environment.

Choose a space that makes you happy.  When you’re in a better state of mind, the words you write will be as well.  Just avoid writing cards in bed or in front of the TV, where your brain is tempted to sleep or become distracted.  Music creates a nice ambience, but if you’re someone who has trouble finding words while hearing others spoken, play favorite songs in instrumental versions.  You want to be comfortable, but not too comfortable.

Tip #2: Pick your stationery. 

You will have more or less to say depending on whom you are writing.  For an employer, a short, but formal card might suffice.  A note to your lifetime friend may require a long page or two.  Never forget that a card you select is a representation of yourself.

The writers of each of these cards have very different, yet distinct personalities.

Tip #3: Have a formula.

A two-fold tip.  First, be sure to personalize each card to its recipient.

Secondly, have a plan of attack that applies to most cards.  You may stray from it for that lifelong friend, but you’ll breeze through everyone else without too much redundancy.

Your formula could look something like:

  • Dear ________,
  • Thank you for  _______.
  • How you plan to use the gift.
  • Inclusion of a fond memory shared with this person.
  • If you are a graduate: Inclusion of your plans for the near future.
  • Your thanks again and best wishes.

Tip #4: Hand Write.

If you don’t have the time to refer to my previous post, “Why Hand Write?”, I’ll give you the meat and potatoes: Writing with one’s hand is an act that portrays consideration and personality.  Your handwriting is you.


In addition, be sure to hand write the addresses on each envelope.  Frankly, using typed address stickers looks a bit lazy and will make your card easy to confuse with the mass-produced bills and advertisements that clog our mailboxes.

Tip #5: Write for the intangible too.

Sometimes the most significant “Thank you”notes are those that recognize favors and gifts that cannot be purchased.  For Grads, a great person to write is a teacher or coach who positively impacted their lives.  Even if this individual was not present at the celebration, they have contributed something invaluable.

Tip #6: Include a photograph.

Consider including a photo of each card’s recipient with you, or friends and family, at your gathering.  Remember that tagging a picture on Facebook is not at all the same gesture.  The act of choosing a photo to send shows the thoughtfulness in your thankfulness.

Tip #7: It’s never too late to thank someone.

Because writing Thank You Cards can seem daunting, procrastination is a popular response.  You might get to the point when you wonder whether it will be too embarrassing to send a card because it’s so long after the event.  Know that while it will be more relieving to you and timelier to send Thank You Cards soon after your event, it is never too late to say, “Thank you.”  Never.

Write in thanks to those who enhance the beauty of your life.

Elsa Guenther
Creative Writing Specialist


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