The 5 Times When Handwritten Thank You Cards Should Still Be Written

By Aaron Stone

Handwritten thank-you cards are a tradition the world should not forget. In our modern times of technology with instant communication, it’s still thoughtful to write and mail thank you cards for some occasions. 

Sending a thank you text message is easier and faster than taking the time to write a note. However, handwritten thank you cards still have their place. Even when saying thank you at work, there may be times to opt for handing someone a handwritten note instead of sending a thank-you email.

Why Write Handwritten Thank You Cards

People should consider writing handwritten thank-you cards for a few reasons.

First, someone may be delighted to receive something that isn’t a bill or junk in the mail. Overall, the trend of sending personal mail has declined for many years.

Each year from 2017 to 2022, the United States Postal Service (USPS) reported a decrease in First-Class single-piece mail volume. First-Class mail is mail bearing postage stamps such as bill payments, personal correspondence, cards, and letters.

Second, when people write handwritten thank you cards, they can slow down and reflect on their relationship with the person they are thinking. They can take a few minutes to appreciate someone cared about them enough to give them a gift or help them somehow.

Third, writing a thank-you card can also help people realize their sense of entitlement. Gifts are expected at significant life events, such as graduations, weddings, and baby showers. However, the gift-givers could have spent their time and money elsewhere.

Slowing down and writing a handwritten thank you card can help people fully express their gratitude for each gift. Writing a generic “thank you for the gifts” message on social media may not be received well by people who spent hours selecting the perfect gift. People generally like to be acknowledged and have their efforts recognized.

Writing a personalized, thoughtful note shows consideration for the gift giver’s time and energy.

When To Write Handwritten Thank You Cards

When it comes to writing handwritten thank-you cards, they are best for significant life events.

For High School Graduation Gifts

For younger people, the first time they receive significant gifts could be when they graduate high school. Often, parents will host a graduation party. Many relatives and friends will give gifts to help the new graduate with their next life phase, whether going to college or focusing on a job.

Taking time to handwrite the notes may help the graduate appreciate the number of gifts they received. And they may have received gifts from people they do not interact with, such as their parent’s friends or distant relatives.

There will be some people expecting a thank-you note. They may feel the graduate is lazy, entitled, or ungrateful if their gift is not acknowledged.

Sending handwritten thank-you notes for graduation gifts can foster a habit of appreciating and valuing the kindness of others and inspire a lifetime of gratitude.

For Wedding Gifts

Weddings are another occasion where gifts are typically expected. Sometimes, brides and grooms will request specific gifts using a registry.

For formal weddings, handwritten thank you cards are the best choice for expressing gratitude for wedding gifts. The couple should include thank-you notes in their wedding planning. When purchasing invitations, matching thank-you cards may be available.

The newlyweds should do their best to be organized when opening gifts. The bride or groom can record each gift and the name of the person/family who gave it on notebook paper. This step is essential, as it’s unlikely people remember who gave each gift when writing notes after the honeymoon.

Writing wedding thank-you notes may feel like a burden when there are many gifts. Couples can reframe the experience into joy by reflecting on their relationship with the gift giver.

For example, they can think about how much their aunt loves them. Or they can feel grateful for the generosity of those giving large financial gifts.

For Bridal and Baby Shower Gifts

Bridal and baby showers are organized to bless someone or a couple with gifts. A significant amount of time may go into planning a shower. And then guests are expected to bring presents.

As with weddings, those receiving shower gifts should plan to write thank-you notes for the gifts. The shower hostess or another volunteer can list the presents and who gave them as they are opened.

Handwritten thank you cards will take time to write, address, and mail. The best notes will be personalized and mention the gift specifically.

People can set aside time to write the notes in small batches to avoid fatigue, which can also make for better thank-you notes, as people will be less likely to rush or repeat the same message in every note.

The notes should be written within a week or two after the event. It’s best to get them done to avoid thinking about them and any guilt from having not sent them yet.

Following a Funeral

When a loved one passes, people will often make donations in memory of the deceased. They may also send flowers, provide meals, send cards, or attend the funeral.

Many funeral homes sell memorials or thank-you cards with a poem or verse. In these cards, a family member can write a short message to thank those who attended the funeral, helped somehow, or sent flowers.

The family can mail handwritten notes to those who made monetary donations. Their contribution should be acknowledged, which can feel important to those who donated significantly.

Usually, a guest book is at the funeral service. Attendees will write their name and address in the book. So, finding addresses should not be an issue.

The family may also want to write a special pastor appreciation message to the person who spoke at the funeral. The pastor or other may have spent time meeting with the family, discussing what they wanted to be included in the service, or providing emotional support.

For Any Occasion, as Needed or Desired

People should express their gratitude in their handwriting whenever they feel it’s appropriate or know the extra effort of a handwritten card will be appreciated. Handwritten thank-you notes are often overlooked. Some people will say, “No one writes them anymore!” However, they still hold value and can be written whenever a person desires.

For example, sending a handwritten note or letter is appropriate if an individual receives a significant monetary gift, such as a down payment for a house.

Or when someone receives a check in the mail as a holiday or birthday gift, a thank you card can be sent to say thank you for the money. Sending a card in return will acknowledge the check was received. And, since the person mailed the check, they likely will appreciate receiving a handwritten thank-you note.

Another example is when someone throws a surprise birthday party. Parties can take a lot of planning and organizing, while keeping it a surprise can be challenging. When someone goes above and beyond like this, it’s a good reason to write a handwritten thank-you card. 

How To Write Handwritten Thank You Cards

A thank-you card can be written for almost anything using the template below.

Dear Person’s Name,

Thank you for the _______. I am thankful for it because _______. You’re an awesome _____.


Your Name

The key to an excellent thank you note is being specific in the message. The best thank you notes will include the reason for the thank you (gift, help, support, etc.) and why it was appreciated, useful, or helpful.

The writer could also include an optional compliment of the person or gift. When an unwanted gift is received, the person can still say thank you for it without lying about liking it. Instead, use phrases like “Thank you for thinking of me.”

When cost is a concern, choose boxed thank-you cards, which usually will have a lower price than individual greeting cards. Also, online stores may have deals on sets of 100 cards or more. And the cards can be hand delivered to recipients seen often at church or work to save on the cost of stamps.

When cost is not a factor, cards can be chosen based on personal likes, the recipient’s preferences, or beautiful art. As long as the card is blank on the inside, for your message, the front of the card does not need to say “Thank You” or “Thanks.”

For example, people may choose cards with their favorite animal. Or they could look for cards with the favorite animal of the person they are thanking.

Handwritten notes can feel more personal than a text message or a generic post on social media. Writing a meaningful thank you card will help people feel seen and acknowledged for their time, effort, or money. Therefore, people should still write handwritten thank you cards for formal or significant events.