Gratitude Messages: What to Write in an Appreciation Card

Gratitude quote

Most of us have written thank-you notes expressing gratitude for a gift, a meal, or a favor. These are the special-occasion gestures we’ve been trained to deem thank-you-worthy.

What we don’t tend to notice or say thank you for as often are the ongoing, faithful acts of service happening around us and for us every day. Sometimes it takes an interruption to daily life to remind us how much we count on the dedication of teachers, the expertise of nurses and doctors, or the dependability of mail carriers, just to name a few. These pros are absolutely worthy of our gratitude for doing what they do day in and day out. And we don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving or Christmas to thank them.

If you aren’t sure how to begin, keep reading for tips and inspiration about what to write in an appreciation card. Some of our ideas are general enough to work for helpers in any line of work, while others are tailored to specific professions.

This post is part of our Caring and Creating during Tough Times series.

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Simple Thanks  

Here are some short but heartfelt messages of gratitude that could go to someone in just about any profession.

Examples

  • “Thanks for doing what you do!”
  • “You are appreciated for all you do. Thank you so much.”
  • “The work you do is important and so appreciated.”
  • “Sending a little heartfelt appreciation your way today!”
  • “Just wanted to express our deep gratitude for the dedicated work you do day after day.”
  • “For all you do—and for the kind, thoughtful way you do it—thank you.”
  • “We could never take for granted the hard work you do. We see it, and we appreciate you.”
  • “Thank you for your friendly, dependable service through every season, and especially right now.”
  • “Thank you for going the extra mile for all of us who depend on you. I simply couldn’t be more grateful.”

Pro Tip: A short-and-simple thank-you message can be especially perfect when you don’t know your recipient well and/or when you prefer to let an accompanying gift, treat, or gift card express some of your gratitude for you.

Compliments  

Everybody likes to hear now and then that they’re good at what they do. A sincere compliment is a great way to take your appreciation up a notch.

Examples

  • “Has anyone told you lately that you’re great at what you do? Well, you are, and it’s appreciated!”
  • “It’s easy to see how much you care about the people you serve. I’m grateful to be one of them.”
  • “You go above and beyond daily. But here lately, you’ve been going above-er and beyond-er. Thank you!”
  • “You’re someone who makes a difference every day, but especially now. So grateful.”
  • “Thank you. Your commitment and professionalism mean more than you know.”
  • “When I follow Mr. Rogers’ advice and look for the helpers in this world, I see you and the critical work you’re doing. Thank you.”
  • “Never doubt the difference you make. It’s huge—and so is the gratitude in this little note.”
  • “It’s a good feeling knowing there are caring, capable people like you working hard for everyone around you. Thank you for all you do!”

Pro Tip: Some helpers may balk at being called “heroic” for what they see as simply doing their jobs. It may actually mean more to them if you describe them as good, great, capable, competent, caring, committed, dedicated, devoted, expert, excellent, hardworking, kind, professional, reliable, smart, or something similarly down-to-earth.

Teacher/Educator  

Anytime we get a glimpse into what teachers do on a daily basis, a couple of things become clear: 1) They really care, and 2) They should be getting paid like rock stars. Until that second thing happens, we can at least make a point of expressing our gratitude for them.

Examples

  • “Just sending a big thank-you to one of our favorite teachers today. Thank you for doing what you do!”
  • “You’re an outstanding teacher, and you’re appreciated. Just wanted you to hear that today!”
  • “Thank you for being a teacher. Clearly, you were meant to do it!”
  • “I’m so grateful my daughter has the chance to learn from a great teacher like you.”
  • “It’s touching to see the heart you have for each one of your kids. Thank you for teaching.”
  • “It’s easy to see how much you care about your students. So grateful our Colin is one of them.”
  • “Teaching is never easy, but it definitely has some extra challenges right now. Thanks for hanging in there with dedication and heart!”
  • From younger student: “Thank you for being a nice teacher! I like that you wear purple fingernail polish and never give homework on weekends.”
  • From older student: “I’ve learned so much from you. I may not remember it all forever, but I’ll remember the way you cared and the way you inspired me to keep learning.”

Pro Tip: As suggested in the examples above, get kids and teens in on thanking their teachers, counselors, and other education professionals who help them along their way. It’s good for kids’ development—and it will probably lead to the most memorable and meaningful messages for the educators on the receiving end.

Healthcare Professional  

Nurses, doctors, and other health professionals really do put the “care” in healthcare. Expressions of gratitude can be especially encouraging as they carry out their critical and often stressful work.

Examples

  • “Just a friendly reminder that you’re an excellent doctor doing much-needed and much-appreciated work. Thank you!”
  • “The people you’re caring for are in great hands. Thanks for doing what you do.”
  • “Your expert caring makes lives better. I know because mine is one of them!”
  • “Thank you for being a nurse. You’re an amazing one.”
  • “It’s a good feeling knowing there are experienced, capable doctors like you out there. Thank you for being there with expertise and caring for the people who need you.”
  • “Sending heartfelt thanks for the dedicated work you do as a nurse.”
  • “Most of the time, I’m exaggerating when I call someone ‘a lifesaver,’ but in your case, it happens to be accurate. Thank you for saving and improving lives every day!”
  • “This is a tough time to be a nurse, but you’ve risen to the occasion with courage and strength. So grateful for you and the important work you’re doing.”

Pro Tip: Remember the counselors, psychiatrists, or mental health professionals you may know, too. Their health work is often lower profile but still critical and worth recognizing with a message of gratitude.

Mail Carrier  

It’s customary to thank mail carriers during the holiday season, but the work they do is year-round, and our thanks can be, too.

Examples

  • “Just a little out-of-the-blue thank-you for my favorite mail carrier.”
  • “You’re appreciated! Thanks for always delivering.”
  • “It means a lot having a mail carrier as friendly and dependable as you. So glad we’ve got you to count on.”
  • “Your reliable service always means a lot, but especially during recent weeks. Thank you for the work you do.”
  • “TO: One outstanding mail carrier…FROM: One grateful mail recipient…THANK YOU!”
  • “Thank you for all the smiles you deliver.”
  • “Even bills are a little easier to take coming from a nice mail carrier like you. Thanks!”
  • “You probably know some weird things about us based on our mail. Thanks for not judging…and for the important work you do!”

Pro Tip: If you’ve got sidewalk or driveway near your mailbox, you could put your artistic skills to work and sidewalk-chalk your message of thanks.

Retail Worker  

All of us count on the dependable employees who keep grocery and hardware stores, pharmacies, and other busy retailers running smoothly. Your message of thanks to them can be a bright spot in the middle of a stressful workday.

Examples

  • “Be well, take care, and please know how grateful your customers are for you.”
  • “The work you’re doing isn’t easy, but it’s so needed and appreciated. Thank you.”
  • “Thank you for your cheerful service. Your friendliness makes my day every time I shop here.”
  • “You are literally keeping the rest of us going. Thank you for the sacrifice you’re making—and the huge difference you’re making, too.”
  • “Thanks for showing up and doing good work every day like it’s no big deal. It actually IS a big deal, and you’re appreciated for it.”
  • “Thank you for the essential job you do. I know this can’t make up for anyone who’s been rude while you’re just trying to do your job, but I hope it helps to know there are people who see and appreciate you. I’m one of them!”
  • “Thank you for making a point of telling us about the Wednesday sales. It’s nice knowing you’re looking out for us. We hope you’re looking out and taking good care of yourself, too.”
  • “Thank you for going above and beyond to provide great customer service during a challenging time. All of you are truly appreciated.”
  • “So grateful our neighborhood grocery store is staffed by the best and friendliest employees anywhere. Y’all are the best, and we’re grateful for each one of you!”

Pro Tip: If you know your recipient’s name, address your message to them: “Hi, JoAnn—” or “Dear Mr. Jones.” If not, get creative: “To my favorite cashier:” or “Dear 95th Street Hy-Vee Team,” etc.

Restaurant or Delivery Worker  

After being good and eating in for days on end, takeout can be such a treat. But that deliciousness doesn’t happen magically. It takes a dedicated team to prep, cook, package, and get it to your car window or front door—and that calls for a thank-you.

Examples

  • “We hope you’re staying safe out there and taking good care of yourself. Thanks for taking care of us!”
  • “You have no idea how much happiness you’re delivering with every takeout bag. Thank you for keeping the goodness coming!”
  • “Original Pizza night is pretty much like Christmas Day around here. Thank you for continuing to serve up the best.”
  • “Just wanted to tell you what a highlight your new Friday family specials are. We look forward to them all week. Thank you!”
  • “Thanks for delivering the good stuff. You’re so dependable—and fast! It’s appreciated.”
  • “You’re serving more than food—it’s comfort and hope during an uncertain time. Thank you for continuing to do what you do best.”
  • “Thank you for the good eats and the great service. You have my loyalty forever!”

Pro Tip: Gratitude for a job well-done is always welcome, but gratitude accompanied by a generous tip is likely even more welcome.

Closing Thoughts  

Who are some of the other helpers and service providers you might want to reach out to with a message of appreciation? Consider spiritual leaders (pastor, priest, rabbi, and similar), public safety pros (fire and police), hairstylists, barbers, home and yard maintenance providers, or anyone else who regularly crosses your path and makes life better.

Whomever you’re writing to, you can round out your message with one of these grateful closings…or choose one of your own.

Examples

  • Warmly,
  • Sincerely,
  • Thank you!
  • Warmest thanks,
  • With thanks,
  • With deepest thanks,
  • With heartfelt appreciation,
  • With gratitude,
  • Gratefully,
  • Blessings,
  • God bless,
  • Beyond grateful,
  • Feeling thankful,