Thank you cards are cards which are sent with an expression of thanks. Sending thank you cards is a cornerstone of etiquette, as people greatly appreciate receiving such cards, and they will be more inclined to offer gifts, services, and other things in the future when they have been thanked with a formal written card. Stationery supply stores usually carry thank you cards along with blank cards which can be used to send thank yous, and it is a good idea to keep some on hand to make it easy to remember to thank people.
Although pre-printed cards which say “thank you” are available, it is a good idea to include a hand written note in a thank you card, as this indicates that the card is being sent as a serious expression of appreciation, rather than as an obligation. A typical note references the reason the card is being sent, often with a discussion of why the gift or service was beneficial, and it ends with an expression of thanks and the sender's name.
For example, a thank you card sent to a grandparent after a birthday might read: “Dear Grandmother: Thank you very much for the birthday greetings and the check. The money will come in handy to buy books next semester. It was very nice to see you at my party, and I hope that we get to see you again soon. Thank you again, grandchild.” In the case of a particularly large or remarkable gift, a full letter may be included in a thank you card.
Thank you cards can be sent to express gratitude for gifts, and also for services, like hosting a party, helping at the scene of an accident, or offering professional advice. While an oral thank you is also expected and appropriate in these situations, a formal written thank you card is considered a basic courtesy, and children are often taught to write thank you cards at a very young age, so that they establish the habit. Many businesses are also in the habit of sending thank you cards to clients, especially new clients, to make them feel welcome and appreciated.
In addition to using blank or printed cards from a stationery supplier, it is also possible to make one's own thank you cards. Card-printing kits which can be run through a printer are readily available, and people can also make cards from scratch with their own cardstock. Handmade cards are sometimes greatly appreciated, and they can be a great option for people who do not have a lot of money to spend on a thank you card.