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The Ageless Power of a Handwritten Thank-You Note

Oct 19, 2023 | A Far Cry…From Home, Blog Posts, The Writing Process, Writing

“I send thank-you notes, not emails, even if I’m staying at a friend’s house or something. I’m very old school.” – Margot Robbie (Australian actress)

In our fast-paced, digitally dominated world where communication is often reduced to a series of quick emails, text messages, or social media posts, the art of expressing gratitude through a handwritten thank-you note may seem like a relic of the past. However, the power that resides within those carefully crafted words on paper is timeless.

In my personal and professional life, I have received many handwritten thank-you notes ranging from a boss thanking me for being part of the team, to a student who was thrilled to receive a scholarship in honor of my late son, to an acquaintance thanking me for sharing my grief journey with them through my book, A Far Cry…From Home.

The following handwritten thank-you note came from a young man who was a scholarship recipient:

“Dear Mrs. Richards, I would like to start by saying how incredibly honored and grateful I am for receiving the Tyler Richards Memorial Scholarship. This will undoubtably be an accomplishment I will cherish and appreciate as I move forward into college and life. I will be a psychology major, and I hope to be a psychologist, and maybe even a psychiatrist! I believe that I can make a change in people’s lives, and I know that the characteristics Tyler and I share will help me along the way. With much appreciation, GM”

I keep these kinds of notes not only as a reminder of my son, but also the heartwarming power of sincere thanks. I’m sure this young person will “pay it forward” in the years to come.

The Personal Touch

In an era of instant messaging, taking the time to sit down with pen and paper demonstrates a level of personal investment of which digital communication cannot compete. The effort it takes to compose a thoughtful message and put it into writing shows a genuine connection and appreciation for the recipient.

Tangible Reminders

Handwritten thank-you notes have a tangible quality that digital messages lack. The recipient can hold and keep the note as a physical reminder of the gratitude expressed. In a world where emails are often deleted and messages easily lost in the constant stream of information, a handwritten note stands out as a cherished keepsake.

Emotional Impact

The personal touch of a handwritten note makes the message more emotionally meaningful. The time and care put into crafting each word expresses sincerity and thoughtfulness. This emotional impact can create a lasting impression while nurturing a deeper connection between the sender and the recipient.

Professional Advantages

In the professional world, the power of a handwritten thank-you note is even more evident. Whether following up on a job interview or expressing appreciation for a professional favor, a handwritten note sets you apart from the crowd. It demonstrates a commitment to going the extra mile and showcases your attention to detail.

Connection in a Disconnected World

In a world where screens hold most of our interactions, a handwritten note provides a welcome break from the digital noise. It brings a sense of warmth and authenticity that is often lost in the virtual realm. In a time when personal connections can feel fleeting, a handwritten thank-you note creates a lasting impression that transcends the limitations of technology.

A Timeless Tradition

The tradition of expressing gratitude through handwritten notes has stood the test of time. From historic letters exchanged between dignitaries to the simple thank-you notes we write today; this practice connects us to a timeless tradition of human expression. It links generations as a reminder that, despite technological advances, the power of a heartfelt message on paper endures.

The handwritten thank-you note is a small yet powerful gesture that bridges the gap between the past and the present. It serves as a visible reminder of our connections and the impact we have on each other’s lives. So, the next time you feel the urge to express gratitude, consider putting pen to paper. Your words may leave a lasting impression that outshines the fleeting nature of digital communication.

Tips for Writing a Stellar Thank-You Note

  1. Greeting
    Use the correct form and spelling of the person’s name, i.e.: Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith, or Dear Anna,
  2. Express your thanks
    Begin with the two most important words: Thank you. (Thank you so much for…)
  3. Add specific details
    Tell them what you are thankful for. Your thoughtful gift of Charles Martin’s latest book will help as I recover from surgery. Receiving this uplifting book will be a reminder of your friendship as I continue to heal.
  4. Restate your thanks
    – Again, thank you for your generosity/kindness/thoughtfulness.
  5. End with your regards
    Sincerely, (this is a safe standby, but you might choose a warmer option)
    – Yours truly,
    – Warmly,
    – Love,

By following a few simple rules, writing a sincere thank-you note should be heartwarming, not about being perfect, but about expressing gratitude in your own unique way. Your recipient will never forget how you made them feel by simply saying “thank you.” Words have power. When used correctly, they can change the world.

Thanks for reading!

– Sandy Richards

Sandy Richards is a devoted mom and celebrated author whose experience of losing a child has allowed her to connect, inspire and heal with other grieving parents through her memoir A Far Cry ...From Home and her blog. In addition, Sandy strives each day to inspire children to read, imagine, and smile through her award winning children’s books and ongoing volunteerism in her local school district. Sandy lives with her husband, Joe, in Milford, MI.