Copy 'n' paste thank yous to make your friends & family feel all glowy & special-like

September 27 | Guest post by jennylynne
Photo by Honeysuckle Photography
Photo by Honeysuckle Photography
I am truly thankful for all of the gifts we've gotten, and having to write all of these thank yous to everyone is not something I'm going to whine about. But let's be honest — it's not easy to come up with crap to say when you have dozens of thank yous to write… especially when someone got you something really cool, but it's from your registry. It's like, "Wow, thanks for getting me the thing that I picked out, it's GORGEOUS! I have such great taste!"

Then there are things like kitchen towels/cloths that you really really wanted and got, and want to say thanks, but it's freaking boring to go, "OMG I WAS DYING TO HAVE THESE MULTICOLORED FOOD NETWORK DISH CLOTHS! YOU ARE THE BESTEST!" And wow, does that sound effing domestic or what?

Anyway, here are some stock phrases and other ideas I came up with during my own thank you writing process. They might not be the exact right tone for you or your loved ones or the gifts you got, but if you're having this same issue of writer's block with too many to write out, maybe it'll help you brainstorm…

For gifts from your registry or useful household stuff:

  • "I really love this XXXX. It will look great in our living room/kitchen/bedroom."
  • "How did you know this was the thing that I wanted most from the registry?"
  • "Thanks for the towels — now I can throw away FH's old falling apart ones!"

For gift cards or cash:

  • "This will really help us out with some things we need for our new home."
  • "We used this/plan to use this to buy XXXXXXX/pay for honeymoon/etc."
  • "You are way too generous!"

For unique decor:

  • "We can't wait to find a special place for this in our home."
  • "It's really gorgeous, you have great taste."
  • "WTF is this supposed to be?" (Just kidding… I would avoid statements like this!)

For hosts & hostesses:

  • "Thank you so much for helping plan a great shower. I hope I can do the same for you."
  • "I loved the decor/food/etc.!"

For thematic gifts:

(For example, my mom's roommate got us s'more supplies and roasting sticks, along with camping dishes; my cousin got us a little laundry bin filled with cleaning supplies. Both super awesome gifts, I think!)

  • "What a brilliant idea — I'm going to steal this the next time I have to buy a shower gift!"
  • "This has to be the most creative and thoughtful gift I have gotten so far!"

Jokes:

One of my friends said not to send her a thank you… she thinks they are dumb because people just throw them away. My thank you to her said, "This isn't a thank you, since you said you didn't want one. This is just a note to tell you how much my hand hurts from writing all these thank yous. But the gift you got me was really cool!"

Another friend and I had this five subject notebook in high school we used to write notes back and forth. The back section was labeled "Cartoon Section." It was not for notes, but for hilarious, nonsensical pictures and comics we drew for each other. In addition to the proper thank you in the card, I blocked off a Cartoon Section and drew something hilarious that only she would understand.

My mom got me a nightie with a matching silk robe, which apparently is what she got my sister for a shower gift and what her mother got her. It's meant to be a wedding night outfit. I wrote, "Thanks for the great new outfit! Am I supposed to wear this to work or what?"

General banter:

(For if you just said thanks for the whatever and need to fill up more space to make it worth the stamp.)

  • "It was great to see you again!" (If you saw them.)
  • "Hope to see you again soon!" (If you didn't.)
  • "Sorry we missed you at shower/recent family event/etc."
  • "Hope your baby/dog/cat/hamster is doing well; we'd love to see pictures!"
  • "I can't believe (insert child's name) is getting so big! She/he looks just like (insert appropriate relative's name)."
  • "I hope you and (significant other) can get together with FH and I sometime soon!"

Share your favorite clever thank you templates in the comments!

  1. AWESOME SAUCE!!!

    Thank YOU so much for posting this–very helpful for writers cramp/block-prone people like me! <3

    6 agree
  2. This is great advice. I always found if you stick to writing what you're going to do with said item (ie Camera: "We'll take tons of honeymoon snapshots with this and we can't wait to show them off!" or Money: "This is so thoughtful because we've so been wanting a pasta machine to make fresh pasta. You should come for dinner and try it out!") then you're golden.

    3 agree
  3. This is awesome! However, since you are so good at it, I think you should just come over and write them for me when the time comes! ;o)

    6 agree
  4. I always learned the basic formula of:
    Dear Their Name, Thanks for the ________. I plan on using it for ____/ I think about you when I wear it. ect.
    Warm Regards, My Name
    But having banter for after I've said think you is always nice. I always run out of things to say before the page is full.

    0 agree
    • I thought thank you cards were a nice time to reflect on how much I enjoyed our shower. I've been following the rough formula of:
      1. Salutation,
      2. Thanks for coming (if they did, if not, sorry I missed them)
      3. How they made that day extra special (i.e. "it's always great to see your smiling face" or "You always have brought comfort in hectic times.")
      4. "Thank you also for the ____," then a short anecdote about my reaction or FH's reaction or how crappy what we had before was, or what I imagine us using it for.
      5. Thank again and then peace out.

      Granted, for some of the lesser-known relatives this was more difficult. In which case I added more filler about how thoughtful or nice/beautiful the gift was and how generous the giver was. It takes a little more time to actually think about the person you're writing to and how they improve and enrich your life, but I think it makes all the difference and actually puts me in a good mood. I get up a little early to get about seven cards out per day before work.

      3 agree
    • I really like that link — thanks, it's now bookmarked! :)

      0 agree
  5. Yes! We're hoping to start on our thank yous in the next two weeks so this is definitely being bookmarked for then!

    0 agree
  6. Some great ideas here. :D

    I've been kinda dreading writing thank you's for the wedding because my mum has had me writing them for birthday and christmas gifts since…probably a bit before I could write a legible letter and it's always felt so cold and formulaic. I'd much rather just say thank you in person or over the phone but apparently that doesn't work.

    The thought of writing 70 or so doesn't seem so bad if I can mix it up a bit. And of course send totally informal notes to my friends.

    (BTW, you joke about having to ask 'WTF is this?' but I had to do exactly that for a birthday present once. It was a bundle of different kinds of cloth, obviously hand made with a lot of work put into it but I could not for the life of me work out what it was supposed to be. It turned out it was a shoulder bag that had gotten crazy tangled in the post.)

    2 agree
  7. Thanks, Jennylynne, for this incredibly useful post!

    0 agree
  8. oh wow, perfect timing on this one! thank you so much!

    0 agree
  9. I really don't want a shower …
    So I came up w the idea of getting disposable cameras, and taking photos with the gifts, after opening!
    We can show how much we like it, using it or something else, then write a bit on the back.
    I already did, the thank you note, after my baby shower, so I got the method down :)

    3 agree
  10. Hysterical…..yet incredibly useful! I shudder to think I obsessively took photos of baby #1, alongside each gift, printed it and included in my baby gift thank yous…..BEFORE digital cameras were available! (13 years ago) Where were you when I needed you?

    0 agree
  11. When I wrote my five billion thank yous after graduation, I essentially said "thank you" to the giver and then told them what I was going to use their gift for. Also, don't overthink or get too formal. These are your friends and family, after all!

    0 agree
  12. We just finished our thank you notes and actually had a lot of fun with them—and this was a hugely helpful jumping-off point. It seemed like a really tedious task, but we wound up going completely rogue with them, making references to eating panda bears (TY for the bamboo cooking utensils!) and illegal substances (quoting Liz Lemon: "You're my heroine. And I mean lady hero. I don't want to inject you while listening to jazz."). I'm a classical journalist so to my editor who gave me a set of wine glasses, I gave him a top ten list of drunken composers who would have made good use of the gift. And, taking a page out of 27bslash6's book, I drew my mother a picture of a seven-legged spider (http://www.27bslash6.com/overdue.html) as I could not come up with the words to thank her properly for all she did. Since my husband and I are the cultural reference sort, the notes were pretty true to us—and because we freeballed them all, it didn't take any more time than writing out a standard TY note for each person.

    1 agrees
  13. You didn't specifically say otherwise, but thank you also for not specifically saying "they must be written!!" The link in a comment above DOES say that and I always find it quite Othering when TYcard advice doesn't consider people's realities. Besides my lifestyle of eliminating paper whenever possible, my hands do not handle hand-writing well due to multiple disabilities and injury. My STDs and invites are almost exclusively emailed, and people should expect their thank you cards the same way. I promise, it's just as heart-felt when I select the stationary whether it's digital or wood-pulp, especially if that means the thank you cards can be customized to the receiver. It's just as sincere when I type the words as when I write them. I'm still doing paper stuff for the ~15 or so people who do not have access to email or at least not with any regularity (like my grandmother who doesn't have internet and uses the library exclusively for books). They will get hand-written thank you's, but I'm saving my hands for them. And if I can figure out how to do it right, I might even print computer-generated cards for them, too.

    1 agrees
    • Dude. Emailed thank yous are 100% better than no thank yous and, in my mind, at least as good as a card. I love me some stationary and keep just about every piece of personal mail I get but really all I want to know is that my gift didn't get lost!

      1 agrees
  14. We did a honeymoon registry and that was it. So no actual gifts… Luckily I had the foresight to take photos of us actually doing the things people had contributed money towards, and included those in the thank you cards. For example, one of the things people could give us from our registry was money towards dinner at the best restaurant in town. Every evening we had our waiter take our photo. I'd include details about how this dish or that dessert was to die for, etc. I think it really helped our friends and family connect with us and what they had paid for, rather than feeling like they just forked over cash we spent on whatever.

    1 agrees
  15. I totally read that last one as (insert INappropriate relative's name here) like we're supposed to say every baby looks like "Creepy Uncle Jeff". LOL

    I thank you for this super helpful article. My fiance does not as it sent me on a 15 minute rant about the fact that we haven't received thank yous from the last three weddings we've attended and therefore I am demanding we write them on our honeymoon.

    0 agree

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