How to Write a Thoughtful Thank-You Note

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The art of writing a thoughtful thank-you note is declining because more and more people take the easy way out and either telephone, email or text their gratitude. But if you're truly grateful for the gift or service given to you, nothing expresses your gratitude like a handwritten note.

Be sincere in expressing your gratitude for the gift you were given or the service you were provided. Be specific about what you like and, if you don't love the gift, write instead about how it makes you feel.

Reference the gift or service provided. By doing this, you make your note personal and the receiver knows you are really focused on the gift. Explain why this gift is special to you.

Include how you plan to use the item, especially if you were given a gift card, gift certificate, check or cash.

Don't be afraid to use somewhat formal wording, such as saying "I greatly appreciate your thoughtfulness," "Your generosity was much appreciated" or "Thank you for your considerate and unique gift." On the other hand, be warm and affectionate as long as that's how you really feel. You might say, "I don't know what I did to deserve such a great mom" or "You always were my favorite aunt!"

Compose your thank-you note on a piece of notebook paper first and then copy it to a nice note card or piece of stationery once you're happy with your wording. Use your best handwriting -- making the thank-you note as attractive as possible just adds to your message.