The Joy of Thank You Note Writing


By Heidi Bender

Earlier this week, while I wrote my boss a thank you note for my annual raise, I reflected on the thank-you note writing process.

Thank-you note writing is often viewed as a dreaded, boring, time consuming task. We can change our mindset towards thank you-note writing and find joy in the process making it feel less like a chore.

Finding the Joy in thank-you note writing

Be intentional about looking for the joy. Decide in advance that the thank-you note writing will be enjoyable and a time of positive reflection. The few minutes it takes to write a thank-you note can become something you look forward to doing once you associate joy with note writing.

Think of thank-you note writing as an opportunity to remember what was given to you or the help that you received. Do you feel happy when you think of the gift? Try viewing the gift as a blessing. This should help bring on the joy. Someone gave you THEIR time, money, help, advice, or something else worthy of your gratitude.

Another way to feel joyful, is to reflect on your relationship with the person who gave you the gift. Hopefully, you are on good terms with the person and remembering them will bring a smile. Smiling while writing the note will improve the thank-you note writing experience.

Joy can also be found in choosing the card for the recipient. My love of cats is while known amongst my friends, family, and coworkers. I appreciate it when someone sends me a card with a cat picture on it! And I take pleasure in choosing a card I think the recipient will like when I hand write a note to someone. I can imagine that they will smile when the see the card.

An example

Let’s take the note I wrote to my boss this week. The annual raise at my current workplace is expected. How could I possibly find joy in writing this note? Some people will admit to feeling entitled to the raise and therefore will not say thank you for the annual increase.

Here are some reason that I felt joy when writing the note:

  • I got a raise! While it was expected, I am still thankful for it as it was not guaranteed.
  • I felt thankful for having a boss that I enjoy working with during the past year.
  • I was able to browse my cards and pick out design specifically for my boss and the perfect cat sticker for the envelope.
  • I felt like the card may brighten his day, even if only for a few minutes.

By far, I’ve written more thank-you notes to my parents than anyone else. My parents have been a blessing in my life and writing them a thank-you note for their latest generosity warms my heart. They have consistently blessed my life with their time, help, many dinners, and more. Writing a thank-you note can be a reminder of things that are sometimes taken for granted.

The next time you write a thank-you note, I challenge you to slow down and find the joy.

Heidi Bender has been writing thank-you notes for more than 30 years! She provides thank-you note writing tips and examples on her website:

Chair & Pen publishes stories on the writing process and the writing life. It is edited and curated by Writing Coach Annalisa Parent. To learn more about how to work with Annalisa, visit

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