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Thank you notes/messages

(44 Posts)
teddymac Tue 27-Dec-11 19:18:14

I am increasingly irritated by the fact that my South American daughter-in-law - who speaks perfect English - never thanks me for gifts that I send, either for her or for my granddaughter, born earlier this year. In these days of Skype and email it is pretty easy - just a few words would do. I took a lot of trouble to put together a Xmas parcel of gifts to send to my son, my daughter-in-law and their baby - they live abroad - but not a peep of thanks from her, although my son has thanked me for his gifts and those for the baby. I hesitate to mention it to him as I don't want it to escalate out of all proportion. A personal note means so much. However, the longer it goes on, the more it rankles. To me, it is just basic good manners. I should add that apart from this irritation on my part we get on perfectly well. Does anyone else have this problem? Or am I just being old fashioned and super sensitive? sad

Gally Tue 27-Dec-11 19:32:38

It's the same with our Australian 'outlaws'. They never answer an invitation or thank you for a present. I don't send them any more unless I am visiting and feel obliged to take an offering. Daughter No.2 who is married to an Aussie, always thanks us (as she has been brought up to do) and the 3 children always write or do a little drawing; pity it doesn't rub off onto her 'adopted' family hmm I have to add, that there are also people here in the UK who don't acknowledge presents and they too have been struck off my list as have some 'friends' who never ever say whether they are coming or not - they did it once too often grin

JessM Tue 27-Dec-11 19:45:53

Maybe it is a cultural difference. Not everyone in this country has been brought up to believe that they "should" send thank you notes. So lord knows what the norms are in other countries. I think it is important that you get on well with your DIL teddymac so maybe you need to get past this and accept that is how it is.
It is very easy to go into another country/culture and do something that is perceived as really ill-mannered without realising it. (finishing everything on your plate, not finishing everything on your plate, asking for more food, not asking for more food, accepting food on first offer or not accepting food on first offer the list is endless. My FIL, who was Irish, apparently found his English ILs appallingly rude in several ways e.g. if they offered him food and he refused they would accept him at his word rather than keep pressing him until he accepted... which was of course what any well-brought-up person would do)

Greatnan Wed 28-Dec-11 01:30:40

I am content with a personal facebook thank you, or even a phone call, but I thought my 15-year old GD exceeded the bounds of brevity. I sent her some money via her sister's bank account and she replied 'Thank you'. Just that, no name, no kisses, no warmth. She only replied at all because I sent her a pm to say the money had been sent. I will save my money next year.

Faye Wed 28-Dec-11 02:59:57

My English mil used to tell me often that the English would put the kettle on as soon as they had visitors. She seldom did and I wondered why she bothered to repeatedly tell me that was an English thing to do. I am sure that lots of English people put the kettle on when they have visitors and I also offer tea, coffee or other drinks when people pop in, being an Aussie that is the thing most of us do. I guess it's the same as in any country, some people do send thank you cards, some don't send thank you cards. Maybe her husband thanking you for gifts is an indication to her that you have been thanked.

I also send gifts in the post and my son and dil often take ages to get around to telling me the gifts have arrived. Other times they offer to pay for my flight to come and visit them. I am more than happy my dil and I get on well, she is a nice young woman and how grateful I am that she makes my son very happy.

teddymac don't sweat the small stuff or you just might find some big stuff around the corner to deal with!

yogagran Wed 28-Dec-11 13:53:41

I think that it's common sense and good manners to thank the person who has gone to the trouble and expense of choosing, buying and wrapping a gift. I will admit to feeling very 'peeved' when there is no attempt at a thank you of any kind and think carefully about giving the next time

ninathenana Wed 28-Dec-11 14:03:33

I'm with you on this one teddymac

I sent my nephew a fairly large cheque for his new daughter back in July, I don't even know if it even arrived.

Another nephew always gets his mum (DH sister) to text me to thank me for his 3 yr old son's present. How long would it take to do it himself for heaven's sake !!!

Manners cost nothing

em Wed 28-Dec-11 14:05:51

A few years ago my DS forgot to send a thank-you note to an elderly lady. She informed me via a friend that she would send him no more presents. I resisted the temptation to tell her that in the many years I'd been sending birthday and Christmas presents to her grandson, I'd never once received a thank-you from him but rather than upset friends, continued to send them. This year there has been no email, text or call - never mind a note.

greenmossgiel Wed 28-Dec-11 14:15:33

Then hopefully, next year he'll get b....r-all from you, em!

JessM Wed 28-Dec-11 15:06:31

I still think it would be a mistake to take offence over this one. You fall out with your nephews etc then what the heck. Just stop giving them pressies.
Fall out with your DIL and you will live to regret it. Remember she is the mother of the GC. That puts her, potentially, in a very powerful position. I really think in the particular case of the OP getting indignant is not a good option.

Brusselsgran Wed 28-Dec-11 18:23:38

I think thanks of some sort should be expressed, and with some indication of emotion (i.e. warmth). That said, a written note (snail or email or even a text message) is always so pleasant to receive ..

wisewoman Wed 28-Dec-11 18:34:32

It is particularly difficult when you send a parcel off to New Zealand or even through the post in this country and get no acknowledgement. You wonder if the parcel has arrived but can't ask as it would seem you are looking for a thank you!! Things do get lost in the post.

JessM Wed 28-Dec-11 19:31:41

Oh I always ask my Dss "Did the parcel arrive" . Have developed thick skin over years. Once i thought one had gone missing for about a month, turns out the neighbours had it all the time...

teddymac Thu 29-Dec-11 10:36:41

Thank you for all your thoughts - interesting to hear the range of views. They helped to put the matter into perspective.
I think the bottom line is that it could well be a cultural thing and, as one of you said, the most important thing is that she makes my son very happy.
In spite of my grizzle, I am very fond of her and wouldn't want to do or say anything that might change that. Having got it off my chest, I'm over it now!

Elegran Thu 29-Dec-11 11:02:38

Jessm Once I sent a parcel to my daughter not long after they had moved. In an absent-minded moment I sent it to their old address. When I realised I checked with her - no they had not passed it on. Checked the parcel tracking - yes it had been signed for. Name signed matched new owners.

She went across town to the old house to collect it - no they had not received any parcel for them, they had been away, their house had been occupied by relatives at the time. They don't know nuffin about it, nohow.

Impasse, their word against mine. I bough a replica present and claimed against the carrier for leaving it with someone of a different name. Got the money back OK, but DGD had to wait for her present, and a lot of ill-will was generated.

Had I not asked, I would never had known it had gone astray, and DD would have thought I had not sent anything.

Annobel Thu 29-Dec-11 23:33:00

My GC are being brought up to say thank you for their presents. The ones who can now write for themselves do so. They have their own email addresses so I'm happy for them to do it that way. My DS2's partner makes cards with photos of the boys to say thank you. Very thoughtful.

nanajan Fri 30-Dec-11 12:27:52

This brought back memories of my childhood,when my Grandma sent me and my sister a tin of toffees every year (which was always in our stockings!). Inside the wrapper would be a stamped addressed envelope for our thank you letter, which we always did (although I found it a pain), but it stood me in good stead as I always send thank yous now, and my children (mostly) remember to say thankyou - grandchildren tell me thanks on Skype or by letter which is nice, so its is good to receive thanks. I used to send gifts to some of my nephews children but after about 6 years of no response, not even a confirmation they received things, I gave up, especially now we have seven grandchildren of our own and money is scarce, so we just send to them and give our children and partner/spouses a gift - that's quite enough strain on our small pensions!

gracesmum Fri 30-Dec-11 13:48:00

I remember leaving presents for our cleaners (a couple) some years ago. I got a slightly embarrassed "Thank you " phone call saying thank you for the wine, and was there something else as they had found a ribbon and a gift tag. There had been a box of chocolates - there was now a slightly poorly greyhound with stomach ache, fortunately nothing worse, but she had eaten the chocolates, the box and the wrapping paper.

NewGranLin Fri 30-Dec-11 14:09:43

Although it annoys me when I don't get a thank you I can't honestly remember sending letters when I was growing up, but we did see more of family in those days so always gave a spoken thank you. I have stopped sending presents to nieces and nephews who do not acknowledge them. It is so easy nowadays with texts, facebook etc.

BurgundyGran Fri 30-Dec-11 16:40:34

I always e-mail or telephone to say that gifts have arrived. I speak to my daughter in England very often and say thank you by phone, text or Skype.

My grandchildren here in France write thank you notes but in French as they are not good at writing English yet so my daughter puts a note in to explain them.

NannaJeannie Fri 30-Dec-11 17:35:34

I am going to go against the grain here. If I give a present face to face then I would expect a thank you and eye contact. If I send one in the post or pass one via a third person, then it has gone, the gift has been given. A lot of thank you letters are written as a chore and tend to be a bit samey.

The gift is a gift, I dont expect written stuff back, and I do think it is a cultural thing.

yogagran Fri 30-Dec-11 18:26:37

gracesmum grin

johanna Fri 30-Dec-11 19:29:11

To Teddymac,
Yes, it really hurts.
They don't realize how much thought and care we put into those presents.
Their non-reaction really makes us feel that we are at the bottom of their queue.
Maybe they can't help it.
They seem to lead such " fast " lives, either trying to keep their heads above the water, or making sure to stay at the " top of the heap! "
It is a completely different world to the one we grew up in.
I am sure they know this, and maybe even resent us for it. Especially dil's.

MDougall Fri 30-Dec-11 23:33:59

I agree with most of the posts here - and think it is very sad when an adult or child is not taught to either say or write a thank you when you have bothered to post a parcel to them or they have been to an "event" such as a birthday party at your home.

So........whenever I receive a present in the post, or stay with one of the famiy or attend a party or dinner - I always write a thank you to them and somehow, over time, this has had an impact as now, they do the same to sometimes it does embarrass people into returning the gesture, albeit the modern trend is to do it via Facebook, text or whatever - it is the gesture that counts.

A thank you is really appreciated and really can make someone's day!!

GrannyTunnocks Sat 31-Dec-11 14:51:17

It is nice to get a thank you note or even a phone call or text but it is not worth making a fuss about. Young people are a bit lax about such things. My daughter decided a few years ago to stop sending Christmas cards. It bothered me at first but I would not fall out with her about it.