The Lost Art Of The Handwritten Thank You Note

I have noticed a trend recently that people are not sending hand written cards or notes anymore. This cannot be more apparent than the hand written thank you card. We were all taught by our parents (usually our mothers) how to write a proper thank you note. But sadly, I think we have all forgotten in this age of digital answers to everything. Personally, I just don’t think that a hand written note of any kind can be a greater sign of love. Suddenly, we are just “too busy”. We don’t take the time to reach in our hearts and take pen to paper…including spelling errors and messy handwriting.

For clients I suggest they have a card writing basket. Gather all of those cards and note cards all in one basket. Don’t forget to put a couple of nice pens and some stamps. Now when you go to write that note, you just grab your basket and sit in your comfy chair and get it done.

I recently had a conversation with a friend whose child did something beyond nice with love and time spent on a project. I mentioned did you write a thank you note. The response was no but I could send a text. Really? We all can do better than that. My kids still have the hand written notes that I sent them almost a year ago displayed in their room. My kids also have the hand written notes that they have received from teachers as well. Kids know that how special a handwritten note is from a parent or teacher. Now we just need to take the time to make it happen.

My oldest is graduating from high school this spring and when I ordered his graduation announcements I also ordered thank you notes. Can I tell you how many thank you notes I received last year from the graduation gifts and money I gave? Maybe 1 out of 10? Sadly, parents, this begins at home. I am as guilty as the next person in “forcing” my children to write than you notes to family after they are given a gift. Or worse yet, forgetting to “force” them to write those notes. But graduation is that time in life where you learn the art of the handwritten thank you note. If our children don’t learn it by the time they leave high school….when will they?

I have also started in my business to send handwritten notes. I tell myself that I cannot deposit the client’s check until the note is written. This is great motivation to get the notes written. I have other business owners that send me handwritten notes and I think it is a great personal touch. It really shows me that they are taking the extra time to thank me. My CPA will even laminate when I am in the paper and give it to me. Now that is going the extra mile.

The steps really are not that hard. The hardest part probably is to find an actual thank you note, a nice pen, their address and a stamp. But once you have created your card writing basket, you have it made.


1. Dear <person’s name>,

2. Tell them how much the gift meant to you or how you plan on using it.

3. Compliment the gift giver by telling them how thoughtful or kind they are. Or mention something personal about them or one of their family members.

4. Choose your sign off. I love “With Warm Regards” or “With Love”.

5. Sign your name


To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at


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5 Responses

  1. Nancy

    Mother always told us we couldn’t use or wear a gift until we wrote out our thank you note. If you do it enough, it turns into a habit and each one you write is easier to do. Sure is thoughtful to receive a thank you note when you have mailed a gift and you aren’t sure if they received it or not. Hoping this lost art doesn’t completely fall to the wayside.

  2. Ms Simplicity,
    You are so right and thanks for writing this fantastic reminder for all of us… This is something that all of us need to do more and I really like the accountability you put on yourself to not to deposit the check until the thank you has been completed. Bravo!

    Warmest regards,


  3. Vickie

    What a great article! I’m an elementary school secretary and always mail a thank you note to all of the students that give me a gift. If they took the time to choose something for me (even if it’s a plate of cookies), I feel that it’s important to acknowledge their thoughtfulness. I always try to start the note with something like “I’m sitting having hot chocolate from the cute mug you gave me. I love it! …” We were invited to four wedding last summer ~ it’s amazing that all but one must have lost our address between us receiving their invitations and them receiving the gift we sent.

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