A thank-you letter is a great way to show gratitude to friends and family members who helped make your birthday special. They can be used to communicate your appreciation for a gift or simply someone's presence at your birthday festivities. As with any greeting, it is important to make the thank-you letters personalized and sincere.
Make a list of individuals who should receive a thank-you letter. Write down the presents received along with the names of the gift givers for easy reference during letter writing. Thanking an individual for her specific gift will make your letter personalized and sincere.
Choose stationery that fits either the theme of the birthday event or your personal style. Remember to select matching envelopes to complement the stationery. Note cards are generally more appropriate than 8 1/2-by-11 inch sheets of paper for this type of letter writing.
Start each letter with a salutation. The letter should be casual and, except in very rare cases, should address the recipient by his first name. Formal salutations can be used if the gift giver is a higher-up whom you greatly respect.
Begin the body of the letter by thanking the individual for helping to make your birthday special. This would be the appropriate spot to express gratitude for attending a party or gathering if you had one.
Continue your letter by stating the purpose. Thank the individual for a specific gift or contribution that made your birthday memorable. If you received a gift, it is important to describe how you will use it. Try to make the gift giver feel as if he selected the perfect birthday present. If you received money or a gift card, communicate what you plan to purchase with your monetary gift.
Write a statement that explains why this person is special to you. This is also a good place to express a desire for future contact.
Close the letter by expressing your gratitude one more time to remind your recipient of the letter's purpose.
Sign the letter with an appropriate finish such as "Sincerely" or "Best Regards." This should be followed by your name. Your first name is acceptable for close friends or family members. Add your last name for business colleagues or acquaintances.
Write each letter by hand. Typed thank-you messages are impersonal. The envelopes should be addressed by hand, as well--including the return address.
If the thank-you letters are for a child's birthday, have the child write the letter if he is old enough. The letters will be more meaningful if it comes from the birthday boy or girl. Send thank-you letters when a gift is not opened in the presence of the giver. If you are able to say thank you in person as you open the gift, a thank-you card is not required (although it will certainly be appreciated). Visit the Thank You Note Samples website for suggestions on wording letters (see Resources below).
Write the letters immediately following your birthday. The thank-you notes should be sent within 2 weeks of the event. Recipients may view you as insincere if they receive your note months after the fact.