How To Write A Holiday Thank You Note That's Short, Sweet, And Heartfelt

During gifting holidays, many people can be overly generous — and some of those people might live states or even countries away. In fact, you might have gotten a gift from your great aunt who you haven't seen since you were five, but even if it's something totally impersonal or age-inappropriate, you should still take the time to sit down and figure out how to write a holiday thank you note like the grown-ass adult that you are. After all, she thought of you, and it's sweet that she made a gesture to be polite and loving.

Writing thank you notes might seem tedious, or even a little outdated in the days of e-mail and social networking, but it's still the right thing to do. A properly written "thanks" will help brighten up the mailboxes of your friends and relatives who are probably fearing the bills and statements that'll surely come their way post-holidays. There's also something special about knowing someone took time out of their day to write, stamp, and mail the card — which has become tougher and tougher, as mailboxes can often be somewhat hard to locate in certain neighborhoods.

If you need a few pointers on how to craft the best thank you note, here are a few tips to make sure that your card gets the point across that you're totally thankful for the gifts you've received this year.

1. Unless you're feeling the need to DIY your own creative card, pick up a multi-pack.

This depends on how many thank you notes you're looking to send. If your resolution was to be more creative, creating your own card with some help from Snapfish or Shutterfly might be up your alley — or if you're one step away from owning your own Etsy shop, a handmade card using art supplies might be a lot of fun. But if you're more concerned about timing, and making sure you're getting these cards out ASAP, there's no shame in picking up a pack of cards from a retailer. As a bonus, having extra cards at home is always beneficial for future holidays, and upcoming random acts of kindness.

The words inside will always be more powerful than how the card looks, so don't stress out too much over this step.

2. Try your hardest to write clearly.

We all have different types of handwriting, some which may fall on the messy spectrum. While it's totally OK to have your own style, remember who you're sending the card to. If it's someone who's a bit older, or not used to your penmanship, they might have a harder time deciphering what the card actually says. Try to act as if you're being graded on your handwriting like you were back in elementary school. It doesn't have to be perfect, but the more time you spend on making sure your letters are legible, the better.

3. Be specific.

Don't create a generic card. Make sure to point out exactly what you were given. If it was money, try to phrase it as a "generous gift," or "thoughtful present," perhaps with an intent on how you'll put it towards something you've been saving for. Not only will mentioning the present help personalize the card, but it'll make it more obvious that you spent time thanking them directly.

If it's someone you haven't seen in a while, try to open up communication a little in your intro. For example, even a sentence like "Hope you and the family are doing well," or "I saw your vacation photos on Facebook recently, and I'm so glad you got to experience Rome this past year!" will show that you're a bit more attentive towards their feelings. If it's someone you generally hope to reconnect with this year, make note of it — it's the perfect time to try and arrange a future event.

Dating the card is also a good idea, as a bunch of people hold onto thank you cards as mementos.

4. Don't talk about yourself too much.

Make sure you fill the card, but don't go off track. Otherwise, it's less of a thank you note and more of a letter. On that note, don't go into too much detail about yourself. The thank you is about them, not you. If anything, a "I had a great Christmas, and I really hope you did too!" will do. They don't need five pictures of your new baby, or an update about how your dog graduated from obedience school. There's a time and place for that information.

Cards in general are meant to help brighten someone's day, just as the gift you received brightened your day. So it goes without saying that if you have any beef against the person (like, if you think the gift was sent out of obligation since Aunt Agnes still won't shut up about how you screwed up the family guacamole recipe in 2012), don't bring any of it up. Just be courteous and move on.

5. Make sure you have the correct address.

If the recipient has moved a bunch in the past few years, try to verify a correct address before shipping your card. For family members, your parents probably have the information. Otherwise, check for clues on the package itself, if it's still around your apartment. If you still come up short, shoot them a quick e-mail or Facebook note. (While it may be tempting to thank them there, you can keep it brief, proving that the gift was received — trust me, a card is way more meaningful.)

Also make sure that your return address is on there, since there's something slightly odd about opening strange mail. This will also help distinguish your card from accidentally going into a junk mail pile, alongside grocery store ads and credit card offers.

6. Get it in the mailbox.

It seems like common sense, but these things can often sit around. "Going to the mailbox" usually isn't in someone's daily task list, and this brief chore often gets shoved aside for things that seem more important. The sooner you send it out, the better. Your card is not doing anyone any good by living in your car visor for months.

Images: CarolynParraDesigns/Etsy; Giphy (2)