Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Thank-you notes - the big debate

So, not that I'm ashamed of the way I am, but somehow I feel the need to put a big old disclaimer on the top of this post.

I know I'm old-fashioned and I'm very okay with that :)


1. The other day MandyH and I were chatting behind the scenes about thank-you notes.

She did an incredible amount of work (and that's being very diplomatic because it was about 10 times more than I would do!) for a family member's wedding who didn't bother to thank her properly, just a thank you at the end of a text.

I'm slightly (okay, extremely) horrified.

Where are the manners???

(some would say, "well, she said thank-you" but I'm about the how)

2. I get that people send texts for everything these days - invites, thank-yous and so on.

I also get that it's quick and you can tick it off the to-do list easier but I just feel better (about myself) if I do a "proper" thank-you note.

On Saturday when the kids were opening gifts, I had to slow them down so I could write down who gave what... for the thank-you notes.

The comment that hurt me... "oh don't bother to send me a thank-you note. It's just a waste of paper"

(stab to my heart)

Me who said I was going to send a note? (because due to my severe time constraints this year - normally I allow myself a whole week to get the thank-you notes out - I actually didn't do paper thank-you notes, I did an emailed version)

Person Oh, you always send cards and things and it doesn't even matter to me

(further stabs to my heart)

Me actually, it matters TO ME. I want the children to learn to thank people properly.

And, for the record, she still got a thank-you note. Teehee!

Okay, so on an intellectual level, I get that these things mean nothing to some people but let me explain from my point of view.

When I make the effort with something and I get a nice thank-you (via email or written, sorry but somehow texts just don't do it for me as much - maybe because they get deleted?), I glow with delight because the person appreciated the effort and hopefully liked the thing. And I'm a words person. If you've ever written me a really nice card, I probably still have it.

By the way, don't stop sending me texts if that's your thing... I just like an email more :) and a note even more :) :)

I also think it's just good manners to say thank-you if someone posted something to you. There have been people who don't say thank-you and I wonder and wonder if they've received it.

And then I eventually break down and ask (awkward!) and the answer is "yes. sorry I forgot to tell you". That is not good. I like to think I'm above these things but I'm actually not. I probably won't go to as much trouble for you again.

The same with the kids.

I know that most people wouldn't put shopping for a birthday present and wrapping it high on their "Love to do" lists.

They obviously made a considerable amount of effort.

So I like to say thank-you properly. And I want the kids to do the same.

Last year I did them all myself and this year, I did emailed cards plus some photos attached. The kids can talk this year so we're still busy making the rounds of kiddie phone calls this year... hang in there, we'll get to you eventually. Once they get the phone, they like to chit-chat :)

I have some questions for you.

What's your thank-you style?
How do you instill a spirit of gratitude in your kids?

If you're very different from the way I am, and you feel like that person, I'm (now) open to listening. Please feel free to tell me why you do things the way you do.


  1. Oh gosh yes! A spirit of gratitude! So important. I love hand written but also emailed thank you notes, but honestly even a text is better than nothing. I promise you that very few moms even go to the trouble of thanking at all - even just in a text. And I do think that is very bad manners.

  2. I love Thank You notes! As Phoebe got older, and could write her name, I would write the note and then have her sign her name if it was a note from her. Now we have her write her own Thank You notes.

  3. Courtesy demands you say thank you when people do or give you things. Granted paper thank you notes is so 'last season' to some folks, but you have to say thank you whether by email, sms, call however you choose to do it, just do it!. Saying thank you will never be last season, it will always be in vogue. It's just rude and very very bad manners not to say thank you.

  4. I look at it as a formality. My family was always very casual and a simple thank you when you receive a gift was completely adequate. But my husbands family sends formal thank you's for every little thing! Which is nice, but is it really necessary? No. I kind of resent the implication that I am somehow unappreciative or don't have good manners if I don't sit down and write a thank you.

    I guess it's just one was brought up. I would be interested to know how most people feel about this. Maybe even with a map and age/demographics?

  5. I'm old fashioned like you. I love to send and receive mail! Plus, I try to use the time as a teaching moment - at three, we sit down together and he "writes" a note, too, for thanks and discuss how blessed we are and how much we love so-and-so. I love the saying "The best attitude is gratitude."

  6. I love thank-you notes--sending and receiving. I think if someone has gone to the effort of doing something thoughtful for me, it's reasonable for me to sit down and write a note--which can take all of a couple of minutes--to thank them. Texts don't do it for me either; I'm far from formal, but a text feels too casual to me. My son writes thank-yous now, and I love it. I spell the words and he writes them, and I hope that when he's an adult and can make up his own mind that he'll still send them.

  7. i absolutely believe in thank you notes. i was forced to do them as a kid and now they are like a habit. and i get upset when people don't say thank you. (like my sister....she never even mentions if our mailed gifts arrive!) i like to try to send pics of the kids using things, too! it makes it more personal.

    i will admit, however, that i've told newlyweds and new parents to NOT send me a thank you. i'd prefer if they spend their time that they would have used to write it on sleep or kid bonding :)

  8. I don’t usually do notes but that’s only because it’s more of a schlep ito having to go to the po. I do think that it’s a LOVELY touch and I LOVE LOVE LOVE receiving them. I usually do emails and I call. I have sent thank you sms’s too (doesn’t happen often though – it really depends on who it is and what I’m thanking them for – I know now not to send you one) and I honestly don’t mind receiving a thank you in sms format. For me it’s all about the fact that the person said Thank You and not specifically HOW they do it. Basically it boils down to the fact that they are using their words to affirm me. I make Joshua call and actually, now that I think about it I can probably let him email too because he does have an email address. My favourite way of thanking someone is to take the person a gift and add a thank you note – however this is not always practical and it can be difficult to do this if you don’t know the person well.

    Btw...I never buy birthday cards for people. I ALWAY buy a thank you card and make a point of thanking them for what they mean to me (I write it all in my bad handwriting) and I also obviously add my Happy Birthday wishes into the Thank You card. My family thinks it’s weird but I LOVE doing it this way.

  9. I love the idea of thank you cards but just never get myself organised enough to actually do it!!

    I generally do sms or email!

  10. I am (at least I always try to be!) very similar to you. I try really hard to write thank-you notes, and I definitely appreciate getting them.

    It really galls me not to at least get an email acknowledgment, especially when I send something in the mail. Those cards I sent to K&C? I sent two packages to people in the US at the same time. I finally got an email about one, a couple of days ago, and the other (in town!) I haven't heard from. I COMPLETELY understand how busy a new mom is...but it only takes a moment to send an email to let me know you got it! Grrr... Certainly we're not saying we only buy things to get the thanks, but - particularly through the mail - I at least want to know it didn't get lost!

    You'll appreciate this...we went to a very sweet birthday party a week ago. I have a handmade thank-you card to send the hostess (coordinating with the party theme, no less). :) She just made us all feel so at home, and of course we were honored to be included in her daughter's first birthday celebration. I've gotten laughed at a couple of times before, sending a thank-you for the party before the host has thanked her guests for presents...but I just have to let someone know when they did a great job. :)

    I CANNOT believe Mandy hasn't gotten anything more for the AMAZING amount of work she put into that wedding. That's enough to make my blood pressure rise...seriously! Who are these people???

    OK. Off my soap box now. ;)

  11. BTW, I LOVE Julia's "thank you" birthday wishes...awesome!!!

    And I meant to also add, that would have really shocked me too, had someone gone on and on about not sending them a thank-you...just a waste of time. Ack! It's one thing to say, "You don't have to thank me," but to go to that length? That's pretty awkward! ;)

  12. I feel the need to clarify that she wasn't family, I'm just a bleeding heart for someone who has given more than they have received in life. Also, I did just receive a written thank you for my gift that included a simple thanks for everything. I'm not fishing for praise, but come on!!

    I very much love to show my appreciation and gratitude and I am really trying to show that to the girls. I will admit that I'm not so great at hand written notes, but I do love to reciprocate and show my thanks. I also think it helps with maintaining friendships, a back and forth game if you will.

  13. Gee, that was very nasty of her,that would have hurt me too!!! I totally always say thank you, either by sms or email. I don't often get around to making phone calls. And I really appreciate receiving a thank you, and whether someone has received a card that I sent. I know a lot of people don't say thank you these days, but I agree that it is bad manners not to. And I will make sure that my kids learn to say thank you too!


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