Boxing Day is National Thank You Note Day but is the writing on the wall for the humble thank you note?

09 January 2019

As the nation wakes up with a turkey hangover, many of us will put pen to paper to say thank you for the gifts that we received this Christmas.

Reasons for not sending letter
However, in the age of Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter, is the writing on the wall for the humble thank you note?  
 
Research released by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical ahead of National Thank You Note Day (26 December 2018), has revealed that 59% of 25-34 year olds, and 49% of 18-24 year olds, are put off writing a thank you note because they find writing uncomfortable, are embarrassed by their handwriting, spelling or grammar or simply don’t know what to write.
 
For many families, writing thank you notes is as traditional as turkey at Christmas, however Ecclesiastical’s research suggests that the ease of texting (25%) and a lack of time (12%) are also contributing to the decline of the written thank you.
Its easier to send a text
However, the research also revealed that receiving a handwritten note is the most powerful way of saying thank you, next to being thanked in person, even though many of us revert to using social media, messaging apps or emails to express our gratitude instead.
 
Perhaps unsurprisingly it is the younger generation that are leading the trend away from the penned or spoken thank-you, with only 44% of 18-24 year olds choosing to acknowledge good deeds in this way compared to three quarters of those over 55. Despite this 70% of 18-24 year olds agreed that a written or face-to-face thanks holds the most significance for them.
 
However, there may be another reason to pick up pen and paper today. The research also found that the act of writing a thank you note has a highly positive effect on our own wellbeing. Penning a note of appreciation makes most of us (64%) feel like we’re doing the right thing, but more than half of people (51%) said it also made them feel happy. This rises to 61% among people aged 25-34. 
 
Commenting on the findings, Michael Angell, church operations director at Ecclesiastical, said: “It is extremely heartening that, however people choose to say thank you, gratitude is still alive and well."
While a quick thank you for a good deed goes a long way, a written note still holds value for the recipient

Michael Angell, church operations director at Ecclesiastical

"As our research shows – actually makes people feel happier for having sent it. So we believe that this Christmas tradition will still be a firm favourite for families for generations to come.”
 
The research marks the culmination of a national competition by Ecclesiastical, called Little Deeds, Big Difference, which celebrated the work of church volunteers across the UK and said thank you for their efforts. 
 
Notes
 
About the research:
 
The nationally-representative survey of 2,000 UK adults was carried out by OnePoll in May 2018. 
 
Most common excuses for not sending a thank you letter:
 
  1. It's easier to send a text 
  2. I don't like my handwriting
  3. I don't have the time
  4. I don't know what to write 
  5. It costs too much 
  6. I find writing uncomfortable
  7. My spelling and grammar isn't very good
  8. You can't use emojis
Regions that send the most thank you letters
  1. South West
  2. East Anglia
  3. North East
  4. Wales
  5. South East
  6. Northern Ireland
  7. West Midlands
  8. Yorkshire & Humber
  9. Scotland
  10. North West
  11. East Midlands
  12. London
Use of apps and social to say thanks – by region
 
  1. Northern Ireland
  2. London
  3. North East
  4. Wales
  5. South East
  6. West Midlands
  7. South West
  8. Yorkshire & Humber
  9. Scotland
  10. North West
  11. East Midlands
  12. East Anglia.