Writing thank you notes when you've received gifts for Christmas, a wedding, baby shower, birthday or other special occasion is both polite and necessary. Not only does it show your gratitude to the giver, it assures them that you received the gift personally, especially if it was shipped or mailed to you.
How to Begin a Thank You Note
As a general rule, a thank you note should be written in pen, not with a pencil or printed from a computer. If you make a mistake, it is permissible to white out the mark as inconspicuously as possible; don't cross it out or otherwise make a mess of the ink. Always begin by addressing the giver. Write "Dear Mr. Jones" or "Dear Jennifer" followed by a comma. Capitalize each proper word in the salutation; if you are writing to more than one person, you don't need to capitalize the word "and" in a sequence of names. Skip a full line and indent the first paragraph in the thank you. If you're at a loss for words, you can never go wrong by starting with the words "Thank you for..." If you transition between thoughts during the note, begin a new paragraph and indent it as well.
Add Personal Touches to the Note
Dempseyandcarroll.com suggests writing specific words of gratitude as opposed to generalizations. Instead of writing "Thank you for the nail accessories," say "Thank you so much for the cheery pink nail polish and the beautifully engraved manicure kit." Make mention of what you did with the gift and how much you enjoy using it. If you're writing about money, Dempseyandcarroll.com recommends not mentioning the cash or check itself. Thank them instead for their kind generosity and perhaps tell them what you plan to do with it--i.e., save it, purchase some new clothes, or go see a movie with your family. This is especially important in case the letter is intercepted by someone else; you should never disclose the amount given.
Closing the Note
Hallmark.com suggests thanking the giver again at the end of your thank you note. This is an appropriate way to transition between the body of the letter and your name at the end. Saying something like, "Thank you again, and I look forward to seeing you next summer" can add warmth to a thank you note as well. There are many ways you can sign off, depending on how well you know the person or how close you are in relationship to them. If it is a family member, you could write "Your granddaughter, Allison." If it's a friend, use something like "Your friend, Janice." If you don't know the person very well, "Sincerely" or "Best regards" are both appropriate.
Timing Your Note
Dempseyandcarroll.com suggest sending your thank you within one week of receiving the gift. If it slips your mind, it's better to send it a little late than not at all.