Gratitude: What to Write to Show Your Appreciation

Most of us will have written thank-you notes at some point in our lives, expressing gratitude for a gift, a meal, a helping hand in an emergency, or a special favour. These are the ‘big’ gestures we’ve been trained to believe are worthy of a written expression of thanks.

What we don’t tend to say thank you for, or even sometimes notice as often are the everyday, ongoing, quiet acts of care, kindness and thoughtfulness happening around us and for us all the time. Sometimes it takes the disruption of our daily life to remind us how much we count on the commitment of teachers, the dedication of nurses and doctors, the perseverance of posties and delivery drivers, or simply the constant support of friends, to name just a few. These people are so worthy of our gratitude for doing what they do day in and day out. And we don’t have to wait for a special occasion to thank them for who they are and what they do.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to begin, read on for some useful tips and inspiration about what to write in an appreciation card. Some of our ideas are broad enough to suit people in any line of work or area of your life, while others are tailored to specific professions or situations. Feel free to use them as they are, or simply as a starting point for your own personal messages.

A Simple Thank You

Here are some short but heartfelt messages of gratitude that could be sent to someone in almost any situation or profession.

Examples

  • “Thanks for everything you do!”
  • “You are appreciated for all you do. Thank you so much.”
  • “What you’re doing is so important and so appreciated.”
  • “Just sending a little heartfelt appreciation your way today!”
  • “Day after day, you’re there keeping things going, doing what you do… and I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am.”
  • “For all you do—and for the kind, thoughtful way you do it—thank you.”
  • “Just wanted to let you let you know that the things you do are never taken for granted. We see them, and we appreciate you.”
  • “Thank you for always being there, always going the extra mile and always giving it everything”
  • “Thanks for being you, and thanks for all that you do. You’re appreciated more than words can ever really say.”

Helpful Tip: A short-and-sweet thank-you message can be ideal if you don’t know the recipient particularly well or if you prefer to let an accompanying thoughtful gift, treat, or gift card express some of your gratitude.

Say something complimentary

Everybody likes to hear a compliment now and again, especially if it’s for something that they just do as a matter of course. And compliments are a great way to really bump your appreciation up an extra level.

Examples

  • “Has anyone told you lately that you’re awesome? Well, you are, and it’s appreciated!”
  • “It’s easy to see how much you care about the people around you. I’m so grateful to be one of them.”
  • “You really do go above and beyond daily. But lately, you’ve been going above-er and beyond-er. Thank you!”
  • “You’re someone who makes a difference every day, but especially now.”
  • “Thank you. The things you do mean far more than you know.”
  • “When I look for people who are trying to make this world a better place, I see you and everything you’re doing. And it makes all the difference.”
  • “Don’t ever doubt the difference you make. It’s immense—and so is the gratitude in this little note.”
  • “It feels really good to know that there are caring, capable people like you out there. Thank you for everything you do!”

Helpful Tip: Some people will not be comfortable being called “heroic” for, as they see it, just doing what needs to be done. It can actually mean more if you describe them as caring, thoughtful, clever, kind, hardworking, devoted, or something that you know is important to them.

Thanking Teachers and Teaching Assistants

Thank you cards for teachers and support staff have been around for a long time, but after the last year or so there is probably more need for them than ever! Anytime we get even a glimpse into what teachers do on a daily basis, one or two things quickly become clear: 1) They really, really care about what they do and the kids that they teach, and 2) They should be getting paid considerably more than movie stars. But, until that second thing happens, we can at least make a point of expressing our gratitude for them. Because they could not deserve it more!

Examples

  • “Sending all kinds of appreciation to one of our favourite teachers today. Thank you for doing what you do!”
  • “You’re an amazing teacher, and we just want you to know that you’re appreciated.”
  • “Thank you for becoming a teacher. Clearly, this is what you were meant to do!”
  • “I’m so glad that Sarah has the chance to learn from a fantastic teacher like you.”
  • “It’s wonderful to see how much you care about each one of your kids. Thank you for being such a great teacher.”
  • “It’s clear to see how much you care about all of your students. And we’re so grateful that Zach is one of them.”
  • “Teaching is never easy, but right now it definitely has even more challenges than usual. Thanks for your dedication and hard work!”
  • From a younger child:“Thank you for being such a nice teacher! I love how much fun it is learning things with you.”
  • From an older student:“I’ve learned so much from you. I can’t promise that I’ll remember everything you’ve taught me, but I will always remember the way you cared and inspired me to keep on learning.”

Helpful Tip: As suggested in the examples above, involve little ones and teenagers in thanking their teachers, teaching assistants, and other support staff who help them along their way. It’s good for their development—and will lead to more memorable and meaningful messages for the staff on the receiving end.

Doctors, Nurses and Care Home Staff

These are the people who put the “care” in healthcare. And expressions of gratitude from the people they look after, their families, or even complete strangers, can be especially encouraging as they carry out their critical and often incredibly stressful work.

Examples

  • “Just a little reminder that you’re a brilliant doctor doing much-needed and much-appreciated work. Thank you!”
  • “The people you’re caring for are in the very best hands. Thank you for doing what you do.”
  • “Your expert care makes lives better. I know because mine is one of them!”
  • “Thank you for becoming a nurse. You really are an amazing one.”
  • “It helps to know there are experienced, capable doctors like you out there. Thank you for being there with your expertise and caring so generously for the people who need you.”
  • “Sending heartfelt thanks for your commitment and dedication to nursing.”
  • “Generally, we exaggerate when we call someone ‘a lifesaver,’ but in your case, it’s actually 100% accurate. Thank you for saving and improving lives every day!”
  • “This is a tough time to be in your job, but you’ve risen to the occasion with courage and strength. So grateful for you and the important work you’re doing.”

Helpful Tip: Don’t forget the mental health professionals you may know, too. Their work might be lower profile than some but it’s still critical, and well worth recognising with a message of appreciation.

Postal Workers and Delivery Drivers

People often give thank you cards, perhaps with a small tip inside, to their Postie or their local delivery driver around Christmas time, but don’t forget, the work they do goes on all year-round, and we can say thank you at any time, too.

Examples

  • “Just a little out-of-the-blue thank-you for our favourite Postie.”
  • “You’re the best! Thanks for always delivering.”
  • “It’s great to have a Postie as friendly and reliable as you. So glad we’ve got you to count on.”
  • “Your dependable service has always meant a lot, but especially recently. Thanks for the work you do.”
  • “TO: One outstanding Postie…FROM: One grateful recipient…THANK YOU!”
  • “Thanks for all the smiles you’ve delivered.”
  • “Even bills aren’t so bad when they’re delivered by a lovely Postie like you. Thanks!”
  • “I dread to think what weird stuff you know about us based on our post. Thanks for not judging…and always delivering!”

Helpful Tip: If you’ve got path or driveway, you could put your artistic skills to work and use pavement-chalks to express your message of thanks.

Retail Workers, Hairdressers and Beauticians

We all count on the dependable employees who keep grocery and hardware stores, pharmacies, and other busy retailers, as well as hairdressers, barbers and beauticians running smoothly. A simple message of thanks to them could be a bright spot in the middle of a stressful workday.

Examples

  • “Stay safe, take care, and please know how grateful all of your customers are for you.”
  • “None of this is easy, but you are so needed and appreciated. Thank you.”
  • “Thank you for always being so helpful and cheerful. Your friendliness makes my day every time I shop here.”
  • “You are literally keeping the rest of us going. Thanks for the sacrifices you’re making—and the huge difference you’re making, too.”
  • “Thanks for showing up and doing what you do every day like it’s no big deal. It actually IS a pretty big deal, and you really are appreciated for it.”
  • “Remember you’re essential. And appreciated!”
  • “Thank you for everything you’re doing. I know this won’t make up for the people who’ve been rude while you’re just trying to do your job, but I hope it helps to know there are other people who really see and appreciate you. You’re doing a great job!”
  • “Thank you for always going above and beyond to provide great customer service, even now. You are all appreciated so much.”
  • “So grateful that our local shop is staffed by the best and friendliest employees anywhere. You’re all amazing!”

Helpful Tip: If you know your recipient’s name, address your message to them: “Hi, Jo—” or “Dear Mr. Jones.” If not, then get creative: “To our favourite check-out person:” or “To Everyone at {Shop Name},” etc.

Restaurant or Take-Away Worker

After eating at home for days on end, a meal out or a take-away can be a real treat. But that deliciousness doesn’t happen by magic. It takes a dedicated team to prep, cook, plate and package, and get it to your table, car window or front door for you—and we think that that calls for a thank-you.

Examples

  • “We hope you’re staying safe and taking good care of yourselves. Thanks for taking such good care of us!”
  • “You have no idea how much joy you deliver with every take-away. Thanks for keeping the goodness coming!”
  • “Pizza delivery night is almost as big as Christmas Day around here. Thank you for always serving up the best.”
  • “Just wanted to tell you that we’re loving the new specials. And we look forward to trying each and every one of them. Thank you!”
  • “Thanks for delivering the good stuff time and time again. You’re so dependable—and fast. And it’s so appreciated!”
  • “You provide way more than just food—it’s comfort and hope and care during an uncertain time. Thank you for continuing to do what you do best.”
  • “Thank you for the great grub and the great service. You have our loyalty forever!”

Helpful Tip: Gratitude for a job well-done is always welcome, but gratitude accompanied by a generous tip will probably be even more welcome.

How to Get Your Thank-You to a Retail, Restaurant, or Delivery Worker

  • Post it to the store or restaurant location addressed to “All employees/All staff” etc.
  • Retail: Hand deliver to a customer service point addressed to “All store employees.”
  • Check-Out Staff: Just put it on the conveyor belt for them and say, “This is for you.”
  • Delivery Drivers: Leave your card where they will drop off the delivery, addressed “To: Delivery Driver Dude” etc.
  • Pick-up or Drive-thru: Deliver your card or note as you pay for your order.

Closing Thoughts

Who are some of the other people in your community or circle that you might want to reach out to with a message of appreciation? Maybe spiritual leaders (vicars, priests etc), or emergency services staff (ambulance, fire, police), cleaners, gardeners, plumbers, or anyone else who regularly crosses your path and makes life better really.

Whoever you wish to show your appreciation for, you can round out your message with one of these grateful endings…or don’t be afraid to come up with your own.

Examples

  • Warmly,
  • Sincerely,
  • Thank you!
  • Thanks so much,
  • With thanks,
  • With warmest/deepest thanks,
  • With heartfelt appreciation,
  • With sincere gratitude,
  • Gratefully,
  • Appreciatively,
  • Bless you,
  • So grateful,
  • Feeling thankful

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