An Attitude of Gratitude: 5 Key Components of a Thank You Note

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Last week I talked about how to keep commitments. So to keep in the theme of doing things that improve relationships, I wanted to talk about gratitude. I have been terrible at writing thank you notes over the years! It doesn’t mean I haven’t been thankful, though. So coming into 2019, I wanted to do better at expressing that gratitude. Besides journaling things I’m thankful for, I also started writing out thank you notes. While I never expect thank you notes myself and don’t really notice if I don’t get one, I know that a lot of people take them seriously. I never want someone to think I’m not grateful for the ways they pour into my life. So I decided to share with you my key components of a thank you note to make it a little easier to express an attitude of gratitude!

1. “Thank you for…”

Thank you notes would be pretty pointless if you didn’t actually thank the person for something. The first thing is to be specific about what you are thankful for. If it was a gift, thank them for the specific gift. If it was an action, thank them for that specific action. This is a great opening for every thank you note and a great jumping off point for all the other components I’ll talk about!

2. How it has positively affected you…

Besides the specific thing you’re thankful for, also be specific about how it will positively affect you. People want to know the thing they gifted or the service they provided will be something that will be a positive in your daily life. How has it made life easier? What will it do for you in the future?

For instance, over Christmas, a wonderful couple in our church gifted us with a gift card to a nice restaurant. While it’s obvious that it will be used for food, beyond that it will be used for some much-needed quality time for my husband and I. So, when writing my thank-you note I specified that it would be used for a nice date-night (something that is worth so much more than money right now). Their gift went beyond delicious food and gave us time to enjoy each other.

3. How much they mean to you…

Obviously, if people are doing wonderful things for you, you are loved and important to them! It’s a wonderful thing to feel loved and important to others. So, return that favor by letting them know how much they mean to you! Specify the various ways they add to your life. Beyond being thankful for gifts and deeds, the most important component is to be thankful for the giver and how much they add to your life on a regular basis. What things do they bring to the table besides gifts? Highlight the best things about the giver and how they are the true gift to you!

4. What you look forward to in the future…

Is there an activity coming up in the future that you look forward to experiencing with them? Do you want to get together for a coffee or meal and hang out? Saying thank you isn’t the end of the story. There’s a relationship here and one that will likely mean crossing paths again. Being intentional about spending time with people who are important to you is living out your gratitude on a regular basis. Highlight that not only are you thankful for them, but you’re excited about spending time with them in the future or being there for them when they need you!

5. Repeat your gratitude…

Saying thank you in a thank you note should be a bookend; you should start the note with it and end the note with it. So again, express your gratitude for their thoughtfulness and generosity. That’s the whole point of the thank you note and you want to be sure the message doesn’t get lost.

And there you have it! A great, thorough thank you note that will hopefully delight the recipient! Though, beyond doing it for the benefit of the other person, it helps you live every day with an attitude of gratitude!

What other things do you like adding to your thank you notes? Have you received a well-written thank you note? How did it make you feel?


  • The Thank You note is a lost art as is (quite frankly) the thank you phone call. There is something heartfelt about receiving a handwritten thank you note in the mail. Taking the time to write a note thanking someone goes a long way. I still do it to this day working in sales. A quick handwritten note thanking my new client for their business. Thank you for sharing this (no pun intended)

    • Oh man…I definitely need to get better about the phone calls! Ha! Does a thank you text count? Ok probably not…another area I need to focus on growing! 🙂

  • This was a fantastic article. It takes very little time, but if done right (and thanks for the outline as I have a hard time finding the “right” words and flow) it can be just what the person needs to hear.

    • Yes! Thank you so much! Sometimes a good guide is just the inspiration to let the words flow! Hope it helps people express their gratitude in a more thorough and easy way!

    • Yes! I had to learn how to reprioritize my life for stuff like this. What was making me too busy to be grateful? That stuff had to get on out of the way! 🙂

  • This is exactly how I teach my students to write thank you notes. My own kids wrote hundreds of them over the years—for Christmas and birthday gifts, Eagle Scout gifts, and graduation presents.

    • This is so great to be teaching your students this! Well done and a trait that will certainly help them become better humans! 🙂

    • That was a problem for me as well. I wanted to write “Thanks for….sincerely, me”. Ha! I had to realize that gratitude is more than just the thing you were gifted…it’s really a mentality that you can share in-depth. Hope this can help others!

    • Ha! Working towards things is always a positive step in the right direction! Keep going and one day you might be a regular Martha Stewart! 😀

  • Receiving a great thank you card is one of the best things. I know that I always appreciate a nice card in the mail showing appreciation of something I did. My mom is very adamant about sending thank you cards and thus passed this along to me. I remember many an afternoon I’d spend after my baby showers writing thank you cards to the various people who gave us gifts. It not only will make the gift giver happy to receive but also makes you feel good to thank people for their wonderful thoughtfulness!

    Great post!

    • It’s great when parents pass this on to their kids. I can’t say my mom was the best at this herself (ha…probably why I struggle), but so many other people around me who have done this have inspired me to get on it and show more gratitude. It also makes me notate this as an area to focus on with our future children.

  • I think this post is a great reminder to good manners which have seem lost over the last few decades. I know, I try to always send thank you notes though the mail and I know I feel appreciated when I get one. Good manners never go out of style!

    • I know! There are some things like this that I think, “How did we get so far away from the good examples of the people who raised us?!” It seems like the more time goes on, the less gratitude is focused on. Hopefully, we can be voices of positive influence! 🙂

  • this is such a great reminder that we should be showing gratitude towards those who help us and contribute positive into our lives everyday. thank you notes aren’t written enough but they really should be!

    • I agree! That’s why I’m trying so hard to remember and take the time to do so! 🙂 Hope I can inspire more to do the same.

  • I instilled this in my four kids and do hope they took that practice with them in life. I always send thank you’s and I do hope it’s not too late to salvage this doing practice! Thank you for the reminder!

  • These are so useful reminders as Thank You note has become a forgotten art these days. A handwritten thank you note or a small thank you card is so priceless and can not compared with an email or text messages. Thanks for sharing this post.

    • Yes! Handwritten notes are so few these days! There’s just something about a personal note that can make you feel so good!

  • Great post! I don’t expect Thank you notes any more but it sure is nice when I receive one. Thanks for the reminder & tips. I need to get in the habit of doing this more often.

  • A thoughtful thank you card if such a lovely gift. I do wish I sent them more often. Even though they may not be ‘in writing’ I do go out of my way to express appreciation and gratitude, at least daily to people in my life. Purposeful little extras.

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