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The main purpose of a thank-you card is to show the giver a token of your gratitude for his or her thoughtfulness. It should be written as soon as possible. It doesn't matter how long the note is, but timeliness is important.

There are certain times when a written thank-you is expected and times when it is not. For instance, when you receive a gift for a wedding, it is definitely expected that you send a written thank-you. Even if you thanked the giver in person, a written note must be sent. Any other occasion where you received a gift and thanked the giver in person is optional. So, if a gift is mailed to you or sent by proxy, you have the option of calling or mailing a thank-you. It makes the giver feel good that you are personally acknowledging their gift.

It is expected that you send a thank-you at these types of occasions: if you were the guest of honor at a dinner or party; after an overnight stay; if you were sent a condolence or congratulation card with a personal message; or if someone helped you after you asked them to. Generally, you do not have to send a thank-you in response to a birthday or get-well card unless it deserved a response.

The way you write your thank-you will depend on how well you know the person you are thanking. A formal thank-you is usually written to those you are less familiar with. It is written with a proper tone and uses the surnames of whom you are writing.


Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith,

I would like to thank you for a wonderful evening last Monday. It was very kind of you to include me in your gathering and I look forward to seeing you again.

My best wishes to you.

Very truly yours,
Jane Doe

A thank-you to someone with whom you are more familiar calls for a less formal note.


Dear Beth & Don,

I had a great time last night! Thanks for inviting me and for showing me around town.

Please say hello to your mother for me, and let her know how much I enjoyed her company.

Best wishes,

When given a gift, you should always mention what you received in the thank-you. If you received a gift of money, mention how much was sent and how you plan to spend it. Show that you plan to put it to good use.


Dear Mrs. Smith,

Thank you very much for the beautiful clock you sent David and I. It looks perfect on top of our mantle.

Sincerely yours,
Jane Doe


Dear Bob,

What a surprise it was to get your $100 check! Now I can start looking around for the perfect tent. It's friends like you who make the nicest things possible!


When thanking someone for a note of condolence or congratulations, the thank-you can be light and brief. A sentence to thank, and a sentence to express how you felt.


Dear Mrs. Smith;

Thank you for your kind words of comfort. It makes me feel touched to know that I am in your thoughts.

Jane Doe

These types of thank-you cards are just to let the person know you received their card and that you appreciate them. They don't have to be lengthy, just heart-felt.

A thank-you card can be sent for anything you feel is important enough to be acknowledged. This can range from someone lending you a shoulder to cry on to someone helping you move. A thank-you lets the giver feel good about what they did or gave and lets them know they are appreciated.