Monday, March 30, 2009

Thank You Notes

Brown-Eved Girl wrote a post about etiquette issues, not sending thank you notes, among the issues. And she got a few crappy comments about offending readers. She later apologized for offending folks.


Isn't this kinda backwards? She writes about etiquette and gets rude remarks. Sort of baffles the mind.

Anyway, when I was a child, I had to write Thank You notes. When I was in earlier grades, these notes sort of sucked the air out of some of the fun in getting stuff. About 2:30 PM on Christmas Day, my mother would say, "I want you to have all of your Thank You notes written in the next two days.

So for the next two days, I thought about Thank You notes. I would look at my pile of toys and sigh. Darn it, I needed to write Thank You notes. And I would look at my gifts differently as well. Oh, Aunt Mary got me a dress for my Drowsy Doll. She doesn't really like pink all that much and will probably not wear it all that much. But I still have to spend hours writing Aunt Mary her freakin' Thank You note. Ten minutes in those days seemed like hours. I actually think if children were allowed to play with nuclear material, the Manhattan Project would have taken two weeks, or a week-and-a-half without nap time.

As I matured, I started enjoying writing Thank You notes. I had special paper, would write my Thank Yous in flowery prose, and I would place the stamp up-side-down on the envelope. It went from being a chore to something I really wanted to do. Oh, and I could tell on my siblings for not writing their Thank You notes. An added bonus.

Now I still write the notes, and now, I think it sets me aside from others. Everyone is so busy with this and that, twittering about what they are doing, downloading music for their iPods, writing Facebook entries. They don't have the time to write a Thank You note and send it in the mail. At times, I have thought about e-mailing Thank Yous, but it just does not seem the same. It won't have the same impact, I guess.

I know most people have stopped sending Thank You notes, but it doesn't seem like these people should send Brown-Eyed Girl a bunch of hate comments so that they feel better about not observing this custom. Thank You notes may be dying out, but good manners should be observed.

I feel like I should be ironing my husbands shirts, watching Ozzie and Harriot, and preparing a pot roast for dinner tonight. Yikes.


74WIXYgrad said...

Just because you show courtesy by practicing what should not be a dying art does not make you old fashioned in any way. It does show how considerate you are and sensitive to others' feelings.

Xmichra said...

I was about to say something along the same lines as 74wixygrad... having manors doesn't make you a prude. it makes you sincere and appreciative. Nothing wrong with that.

I make my daughter do thank you cards (i help her though, she is five) and she, for now, enjoys it. we have scrapbooking card stock and little *thank you* embelishments for her cards. I don't make her go through every single item though. She receives the majority of her gifts from a few people, so mention of her favorite thing that was given, and a thank you for the time to choose her other gifts is suffice for me.

I never wrote thank you cards when I was a kid. We started doing this with Kira so that she would appreciae what she had and the people who gave gifts to her. I was finding that she was becoming too greedy and didn't realise the cost on items or care about the cost and thought. This was a good way o correct that, and now when she receives a gift she sees the effort.

Anonymous said...

And as an aunt who receives thank you cards, I always love the misspelled words and cute drawings. It inspires me to write thank you cards in return.

Under the Influence said...

I used to be good at thank you notes. Not so much anymore. I do make a thank you call, though, if the person sent me something through the mail. If they gave it to me in person, though, I figure a face to fact thank you is sufficient!

Anonymous said...

I guess I am kind of random, apologizing for being forward/passionate about getting on my soapbox about thank you notes!

I, too, was like you as a child. I hated, loathed, despised taking the time away from my precious toys, books, and music to write the notes. Now I enjoy it and look forward to buying new stationary on which to write thank yous!

Leesa said...

WIXY: Thanks, sweetie.

Xmichra: I remember reading, long ago, that manners are to make people comfortable in a social setting. And another nice thing about getting a Thank You note is that you know the person received the gift.

Jules: I have nieces and nephews as well, and I love the uniqueness of the Thank You notes of children.

Under the Influence: the Thank You note reminds the person that you appreciated the gift as well.

Brown Eyed: I completely understand.

LarryLilly said...

Your classy Lessa, what else is there.

You send little thank you notes when the giver expects nothing, for it was a gift, not a debt.

As a parent we encouraged (demanded) our kids to write thank you notes. But I guess its hard for boys to keep at it.

Advizor said...

As a kid I was expected, but not forced, to write thank-you notes after my birthday, especially to my grandmother who always gave us very nice things, usually clothes. I didn't enjoy it, but I did it, and later in life, i found out that my Grandma absolutely loved getting them. Grandpa had died years earlier and the family was pretty scattared, so the gifts she sent and the cards that returned were important to her.

Now, as an adult and a writer, i love sending thank you cards to those I know, those I meet, and people who have helped me at work. While it's unusual to send thank-you cards to co-workers, it has made my life easier, my relationships better, and work more enjoyable.

Ian Lidster said...

I knew instinctively you were a well brought up young lady and would write thank you notes.

I was made to when I was a kid. My mother insisted. Actually, it's a pity we've lost so many of those social niceties. Makes the world more civilized.

Malach the Merciless said...

Hey Woman make me some Bacon and Eggs!

btsea said...

I had to write thank you notes as well. I hated it when I was little! I was a terrible printer. Even later on it was kind of a chore. But I agree--it is a good thing to do, and the people receiving them really appreciate it I think, even if it's just a child's one or two sentences with an I Lvoe You at the end.

Looking at some of my ancestors letters, I wondered why we were taught the style (if you can call it that) of penmanship we were taught in my gradeschool. People of earlier generations had a much more elegant form of penmanship to express themselves with I think. Check out the Declaration of Independence! I've thought of getting this Spencerian Method book for awhile now...but who wants ot practice penmanship?!

Spencerian Penmanship:

Busy Bee Suz said...

Cliff sent me over.....
I agree....thank you notes are a MUST, especially for wedding gifts. I seem to recall a one year rule for writing the thank you though.
I have had people in my family that I have given generous gifts to for weddings and they NEVER sent a thank you...I have to say, I hold a bit of a grudge and when they were having babies and parties later on...I skipped the gifts!

I have my girls write thank you notes for birthday gifts before they even use the present they have recieved.
great post....good to bring this subject to the forefront.

Lara said...

By the time my oldest son was one, one of the common words in his vocabulary was "ay oo" (thank you). But courtesy is not common. It must be taught, just like most other things.

I have always made my kids write thank you notes for any gift that was not received, opened, and thanked in person. (These are usually checks or cash, so I just say 'We'll cash the check when I have the thank you note in my hand ready to send out.')

And when they were small, we also stressed SAYING thank you, even if it was something they didn't really like. We discussed how the giver would feel, and ultimatums were given that any refusal to say thank you would result in all gifts from that special occasion being given back to the givers.

Leesa said...

Larry: but it is polite to let the person know that you received the gift, as well. I like your perspective.

Advizor: Wow, thanks for sharing. I could have cut-and-paste your response to improve my post.

Ian: Thanks, sweetie!

Malach the Merciless: Over easy, you like them over easy?

btsea: I think current penmenship has to do with speed, not appearance.

Suz: Hmmmmmm. Thanks for coming over.

Lara: How cute for a one-year-old. Thanks for the story.