No one has loved you (or put up with you) like Mom has. Or let’s say it wasn’t “Mom”—maybe it’s been a stepmom, grandma, aunt or other special person in your life. No matter who they are or what you’ve called them, the support and care they’ve shown you over the years is enormous.
So it’s always worth telling these people how much they mean to you.
Wanting to make your words of thanks feel like as big of a deal as their love? Well, we think you should write an old-fashioned, pen-on-paper appreciation letter to express your gratitude. Here’s why, plus a bunch of ideas to help you say it in the way that feels genuine to you and your relationship.
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An appreciation letter is just what it sounds like—a letter telling somebody how grateful you are to have them in your life and how much they’re valued and loved.
It can be any length, but normally it’s longer than just a few sentences. After all, one of the perks of writing an appreciation letter is that you have plenty of space to say everything you want to say.
Technically, yes, you can write an appreciation letter to anyone. But we’ve found that most often people are looking for advice on what to write to Mom or a mom-like person in their life.
And it’s no wonder—for most folks, Mom is the person who taught them how to love. Not to mention how to eat with a fork and brush their teeth and basically be a functioning part of society. She’s given a lot over the years and that tends to inspire people to share their gratitude at some point.
That said, the recipient doesn’t have to be a biological mom. It could be your adopted mom or stepmom. It could be a grandma, aunt or godmother. It could be someone who nurtured you and your dreams, comforted you, gave good advice—and maybe bossed you around a little. It could also be someone who isn’t technically family, but whose support, guidance, wisdom or love has made them “like a mom” to you.
Okay, but…why a letter, though?
Most people love getting handwritten letters. First off, they’re very personal. You’re using your own words and stories to express what they truly mean to you. And Mom knows your handwriting better than anyone.
Second, hand-writing a letter takes time, which shows that you care enough to make an effort. And, of course, heartfelt and thoughtful letters often become treasured keepsakes to be reread over and over as years go by.
But also? You might also be surprised how good writing an appreciation letter makes you feel. You’re creating something meaningful for someone you love. Plus, putting the reasons you’re grateful on paper can deepen your own appreciation for the person you’re thanking—in this case, Mom.
Sometimes the hardest part of writing is knowing where to begin. So here are some simple ideas to help get you started. No matter which idea—or combination of ideas—you choose to use in writing your letter, just know that the most meaningful part about it is the effort you make and the memories it’ll let Mom relive.
Compliment Mom on something specific
One of the best parts of writing an appreciation letter is having the opportunity to get really detailed. It helps the person you’re writing to feel seen and loved for who they are. So whatever you love about Mom, tell her—but be sure to also tell her why!
For example, maybe Mom makes the BEST mac and cheese. But when you think about it, you realize her mac and cheese is the best because:
- You were always taken care of when she cooked for you.
- You loved the casual conversations you had over meals at the kitchen table.
- Comfort food was part of how she helped you through tough times.
Whatever the compliment you’re paying her, don’t be afraid to go into detail about why that trait or ability sticks out in your memory and means so much to you. She’ll love the opportunity to see herself through your eyes, and it’ll bring up great memories for her, too.
Thank Mom for something specific
Another way to get detailed and show Mom how much you were paying attention to all her caring actions is to thank her for specific things she’s done for you. You can talk about what it meant in that moment or how it impacted your life down the road. Some thought-starters for this idea include:
- Thank Mom for a skill she’s taught you. It could be something big like how to read and how she fostered a lifelong love of books. Or it could be something small like how to load the dishwasher…and without her, you’d be THAT roommate.
- Thank Mom for a lesson she’s taught you. Maybe she taught you the importance of being honest, and it’s made a huge impact in your relationships. Or maybe it was the importance of changing your underwear—which can definitely also have an impact on relationships.
- Thank Mom for something she’s done recently. Maybe she got you a thoughtful gift or suggested something fun to do together. Think about times this year that Mom has gone out of her way to show that she’s thinking of you, and tell her how much that means.
- Thank Mom for something major. Maybe she supported you when you came out. Maybe she was there for you through struggles with mental or physical health. Maybe she helped you achieve one of your proudest accomplishments. Tell her that knowing she was in your corner through it all made all the difference in the world.
Make a top-ten list
Everyone loves a good “Top Ten” list, and moms are no exception. Plus, there are SO many possibilities—you can go funny or sweet, memory-based or make it about the future. Here are some “Top Ten” ideas you might consider including in your appreciation letter to Mom.
- Top 10 Reasons I’m Glad You’re My Mom: Fill it with a mix of compliments and things you’re grateful for.
- Top 10 Mom Moments of 2022: If you spent a lot of time with your mom, list your best memories with her from the past 12 months. It’s like a heartfelt highlight reel.
- Top 10 Greatest Mom Quotes: Make a list of the funny or memorable things she has said over the years…or the nonsense words she says. Like when she can’t think of the word “screwdriver” so she asks you to hand her the “hoobie-doobie.”
- Top 10 Best Mom Memories: Share everything from the first memory you can remember with her to your most recent memory made together.
- Top 10 Wonderful Ways I’m Like Mom: This can be fun, because she may not know all the ways you’re like her. And she’ll love knowing she shares those traits with you.
- Top 10 Things I Can’t Wait to Do with Mom: From sharing time with her future grandkids to finally taking that trip to see Scottish castles, she’ll love knowing you’re thinking about your future plans together.
No matter what kind of list you choose to make, don’t stress about making it exactly ten items long—there’s nothing wrong with making it shorter or longer.
Feel like writing just isn’t your thing? As much as we love handwritten letters, we think video messages are a great way to go, too!
With Hallmark Video Greeting Cards you can record a video message telling Mom all the wonderful things you would have otherwise written down. And she can actually download the video to keep or even share it on social to brag to everyone about what a thoughtful kid she has.
Write a letter from your former self
This idea takes a little more imagination and creativity, but don’t let that scare you away! It’s really fun and she’ll love having the opportunity to relive her time with you. To make this idea come to life, write each paragraph of your letter from a different stage in your life.
- Start as a baby. You can include funny things that you’ve heard stories about (“Sorry about that colic!”) and more earnest thoughts like, “Nothing makes me cozier than snuggling with you in the big green chair.”
- Move on to early childhood. Include the little song she used to help you learn to tie your shoes. Or your most memorable Christmas morning. Or that time you learned that you really, really should not cut the dog’s hair.
- Include a paragraph from when you were a teenager. This is a good way not only to reminisce but also to say what might have gone unsaid. Like, “Remember that party you didn’t let me go to? I know now you were looking out for my safety. And I’m glad.”
- Wrap it up with wherever you’re at now. Tell her how much her love and support means, how her hard work has influenced your own personal success. Whatever you feel will be meaningful to her, share it.
Finish with a warm closing
Right before you sign your name, add a warm closing. You can write your own, or you can pick one from this list, which comes from our article on what to write in a Mother’s Day card.
- With love,
- Lots of love,
- Love always,
- Love, always and forever,
- Much love to you,
- All my/our love,
- Love you,
- Love and cuddles,
- Hugs and kisses,
- With much love and admiration,
- Wishing you happiness,
- Warmest wishes,
- With heartfelt thanks,
- God bless,
- Con Mucho Cariño,
Once you’ve got your letter down, you can put it in an envelope with a Mother’s Day card or birthday card or by itself. Then all you have to do is send it in the mail—or, if it’s an option, deliver it in person. Maybe with some flowers!
Want more tips for making your appreciation letter to Mom feel special?
- Take a look at these tips about gifts you can tuck right in to a letter or card.
- Or you can get fancy with your envelope. Here are some ideas about how to decorate an envelope or even design and create one.
- Or, if you have kids of your own, ask them to help decorate the envelope—or, if they’re old enough, to write their own appreciation letters for Grandma.
No matter how you deliver it though, just know—your appreciation letter to Mom is going to be one of the best things you’ve ever given her.
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