Say Thank You Like You Mean It

Everyone likes to be acknowledged.  Everyone likes to be appreciated.

In the season of giving we have many opportunities to say thank you, not just for gifts but for generous gestures as well.  We need to make sure that we thank people like we really mean it.  We may not be good at it but that is when we need to require a little more from ourselves .  We can learn, we can get better, we can practice.  Practice makes perfect, right?

Be Timely

Do your best to thank someone in a prompt manner.  As soon as possible is preferable.  This shows the gift giver that you enthusiastically accepted the gift.

If You Weren’t Timely

If you procrastinated, forgot, or got distracted you shouldn’t just say “It’s too late” and give up.  Do it as soon as it comes back into your mind.  Apologize for your short comings, “I am sorry I didn’t get to this sooner but I wanted to make sure you know how much I appreciated your gift”.

An easy way to make sure you are timely is to do it immediately if you are doing it electronically or have a set of thank you cards stamped, with the return address on them, ready and waiting to be used.  If it is convenient you are more likely to do it.

Be Specific

“Thanks for the gift, I really appreciate it” is really lame.  It doesn’t sound thankful or appreciative.  When you thank someone tell them why you like it and/or how it will benefit you.

“Thanks for the chartreuse sweater!  It looks great on me and I look forward to wearing it, it’s so cozy.”

“Thanks for the monogrammed weed whacker!  Can’t wait to use it, it is going to make taking care of the yard so much easier.”

“Thank you so much for the monetary gift!  I am going put it into my savings account toward my vacation fund.  Thanks for helping me meet my goal.”

Being specific sounds more sincere doesn’t it?  That little bit of extra effort (one or two sentences) can make all the difference in making you sound truly appreciative.

Let Your Feelings Show

The more personal the gift, the more feeling you should show.  Let the giver know why you are so appreciative.

“I was excited to receive that vase because it reminds me of the one my grandmother had.”

“Thank you for helping me with the event.  I am grateful for how hard you worked and it took a lot of stress off of me.”

“Thanks for getting me the dinner set I was longing for.  It was so nice for you to remember what I wanted and I am going to smile every day when I use it.”

Appreciation can only propagate joy! Click To Tweet

There is More Than One Way to Say Thank You

The Immediate Way

In person and with a hug. This is, of course, assuming they are in the room with you and you are on personal enough terms to be dispensing hugs.

The Easy Way

If you can’t do it in person, a text or an email works.

The Holy Grail

The hand written note.  Some believe this is going out style.  I am championing the cause to keep it alive.  Who doesn’t love a handwritten note sent by snail mail (such a joy among the bills and the ads)?  It not only shows that you took a little more effort to say thank you, it is something that sentimental folks can hang on to long after the moment has passed.

If you aren’t good with words or are still unsure how to say thank you, you don’t get a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card.  There is the internet!  Until you get better at, borrow someone else’s words.  Here are a few resources…or just Google it.

The Gift

Gifts are usually appropriate when there has been hospitality (dinner, lodging, etc) or the gift of a non material sort.  What you give has everything to do with the person you are giving it to.  You really need to put some thought into this.  Don’t give wine to a beer guy and don’t give candy to a diabetic.  This really needs to be personal.

Thank You Enhancers

There are extra things you can do, in addition to your original thank you, to take your gratitude up a notch.


Send a picture of you wearing or using the item the giver gave you.  This works especially well to if you have somehow transformed the gift.  If you are given art supplies, send them a picture of the painting you made.  If they gave you kitchen equipment, send a picture of the edible item you made.   A picture reinforces that the gift wasn’t stuck in a closet somewhere to rot.  It’s sort of like proof of life!

Public Thank you

You can show your appreciation publicly by showing your item off to a group, “Look at the beautiful scarf I got from Jane!”  You can also make sure that when you get compliments on your gift, you acknowledge the giver, “Thanks so much, Jane got it for me, doesn’t she have great taste?”.  It just might get back to Jane through a third party and will give her great satisfaction that you are continuing to enjoy it.

Of course, these days we can also employ social media where we can document our gratitude for the masses to see.

Follow Up

If you are using a gift someone gave you and feel a spark of appreciation, even months later, send them a quick note to let them know.  How fabulous will it be for them to know that their gift keeps on giving?

“It was chilly this morning and I wrapped myself up in that blanket you got for me for my birthday.  It made me think of you and I am so grateful for the warmth!”

“I was having a bad day today and I looked over at the photo you sent me and it made me feel better.  Thanks again!”


If the opportunity arises, remind them of an extra special gift they gave you in the past and let them know you have fond memories.

“Remember when you surprised me with those ballet tickets?  That was a great performance!”

“That set of books you gave me when I was 16….I still have them and I still read them.  It was one of the best gifts I ever got.”

Take the thank you seriously and say it like you mean it.  It can only propagate joy!

Do you have any other suggestions on how to say Thank You?

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