the art of the hand-written thank you note

In today’s day of e-mail, text and social media, it seems as though the hand-written thank you note has fallen to the wayside for many.  It can be conflicting to feel the need to send something immediately {i.e. via e-mail or text} versus taking the time to mail a note that will arrive a few days later,  but I have to say a hand-written thank you note is by far the most elegant and sincere way to say thank you. People will remember it, both in social situations as well as professional.


My mother always instilled the importance of  thank you notes to my brother and I growing up. Today I am thankful for having been taught the importance of it as I am relatively disciplined in this area {although embarrassingly, when things get busy I am not quite as disciplined}.

I remember reading Princess Diana’s biography where I learned that she wrote her thank you notes within 24 hours, this is perfect because it gets done.   As a result, she was known for her lovely thank you notes {just another reason why we all loved her}.

This is a thank you note to designer Bruce Odfield for the shirt he designed for her.


According to the etiquette expert Emily Post, “the letter you write…is always a mirror which reflects your appearance, taste, and character.”

I have been making a conscious effort over the past few months to increase the number of thank you notes I hand-write.  Writing them not only for gifts but if someone takes the time to introduce you to a new client or does you a favor that it is out of their “everyday scope”, there is nothing classier than taking the time to send a hand-written thank you note to acknowledge your gratitude.

Here are a few tips for a beautifully executed thank you note:

  • Invest in beautiful stationery.  There are so many options out there, you don’t have to break the bank, but keep notes on hand so you have them when you need them.
  • Make your note personal to that person.  Tell them what you plan to use the gift for or what you loved about the dinner they made you, and if you have upcoming plans with them, mention them and how you are looking forward to them.
  • The 24 hour rule that Princess Diana had for herself is a good one, we can all learn from that.  It means you’ll get it done right away rather than forget and send it really late.  But if you can’t get to it immediately, it doesn’t take away from the gesture.  It’s always better to send one {even if it’s later} than to not.
  • Make this special.  Take your time, use a nice pen and use your best penmanship.  Thank you notes are truly an art.
  • Don’t be afraid to send a thank you note for the little things.  Whether it’s for someone who watered your flowers while you were on holiday or picked up your children when you were in a bind, the best way you can show appreciation is to send a hand-written note.
  • In terms of stationery know your audience.  Obviously for business stick with something classic {i.e. monogramed stationery} unless you are in a creative field.

Below are some of my favorites.  Some of which I have in my own stationery collection.

the art of the thank you note


Pen 1. Shakespeare Thank You Notelets  by Smythson / 2. arrow note set by SugarPaper {love the lining} / 3. Christian Lacroix Boxed notecards {I have these and love them.  The box includes fabulous coordinating envelopes as well.  I got them at Kate’s Paperie in NY, my absolutely favorite stationery store} / 4. merci beacoup thank you  notes / 5. a big thank you by SugarPaper / 6.  Life Is Beautiful Correspondence Cards by Smythson {everything they do is perfect and beautiful}  /  7. Pomegranate notes {Mrs. Strong}

wishing you a day filled with gratitude,

About Emmanuelle

Event Planning & Public Relations in the Boston Area specializing in fashion, beauty, textiles & consumer goods.
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7 Responses to the art of the hand-written thank you note

  1. Christiane says:

    Very nice Emmanuelle.
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Elizabeth Allen says:

    Love, love, love the hand-written thank you. Try and send one as often as possible and when I do I always hear how often rare it is these days. Personally, I find that, in the writing, we often slow down life (like we say we’re always trying to do) and actually reflect on the grace of what we’re thankful for. So, that said, thank you for the lovely gift of your blog, it’s a highlight of my day. xo -E

    • Emmanuelle says:

      Elizabeth, thank you for sharing! I love hearing that you find it valuable to take the time to send thank you notes to the people in your life. You are absolutely right, there is something about the ritual of stopping to reflect on what we are thankful for, and creating this lovely way to express it, that is so wonderful to do. Thank you for being a reader of my blog, your support means a great deal, and I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and read my posts. xo

  3. Ashleigh says:

    Bravo, Emmanuelle! I actually applauded in to myself after reading this entry. I am a firm believer in the importance of a handwritten thank you note and am frustrated that this is becoming a lost art. Like you, my mother instilled this practice in my brother and me from a very young age. I did not need much reminding (my brother, on the other hand…) as I always found it extremely rewarding to take the time to express my gratitude through written word. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Emmanuelle says:

      Ashleigh, thank YOU so much for sharing. I am so happy to hear that you and others agree with the importance of a handwritten thank you note and am glad that you find it rewarding to take the time to express your gratitude in writing {I too find it incredibly rewarding}. I am sure the recipients of your thank you notes are always impressed with your consistently classy approach to saying thank you!! xo

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