We know even suggesting you write a thank you-card for every gift is a bit archaic 鈥 an Instagram post of your beloved new item seems to do just fine. But of all the old-school manners that are disappearing from modern etiquette, this tradition is one is worth preserving. Expressing gratitude (and taking time to write it out) is good for our brains. Since fewer and fewer people do it, writing them makes you stand out 鈥 especially after a job interview. And because it takes more effort, the recipient feels extra-special. But we know finding the right thing to say isn鈥檛 always easy. You don鈥檛 want to sound trite or contrived. Luckily, there is a recipe you can follow to write a quick and meaningful note every time.

A woman writes a thank-you note

1. Start with the thanks. You don鈥檛 need to beat around the bush, but you do need to be specific. Don鈥檛 just say, 鈥淭hank you for the gift.鈥 That鈥檚 the written equivalent of a lazy mass text. Instead, acknowledge their specific gesture: 鈥淭hank you for the gift card,鈥 or, 鈥淚 appreciate you writing my letter of recommendation.鈥 This little detail makes all the difference.

2. State why you鈥檙e grateful. People tend to put a lot of thought into gifts. They want to know you actually like the present and will put it to use. Again, be specific, but don鈥檛 ramble. You can note why you love the item or when and how you鈥檒l be able to use it. For example, 鈥淭he necklace is the perfect statement-piece. I can鈥檛 wait to wear it to my best friend鈥檚 engagement party next month.鈥

3. Close it. Acknowledge your in-person relationship. That could mean recalling a recent encounter (鈥淚t was great to see you at Christina鈥檚 birthday鈥), a possible time to talk or visit in the future (鈥淚鈥檒l call you when I鈥檓 in Chicago next month so we can get drinks鈥), or a mix of both (鈥淚 had an awesome time at dinner last week and can鈥檛 wait for our next girls鈥 night!鈥).

4. Sign it. End with an appropriate sign-off 鈥 whether that鈥檚 a professional 鈥渟incerely鈥 for bosses and mentors or a sweet 鈥渓ove鈥 for family. Then, actually sign your name 鈥 yes, in cursive.

It鈥檚 best to send a note right after you receive the gift or gesture, but if you forget, don鈥檛 let the fact that it鈥檚 belated stop you from sending one at all. Ideally, it won鈥檛 take you months, but later is still better than never in this case. Take your time to make it pretty. You don鈥檛 necessarily need personalized stationery (though that鈥檚 a nice touch), but do practice good penmanship. The reader shouldn鈥檛 have to strain to read your handwriting.

How often do you write thank-you notes? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)