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thank you letters

(62 Posts)
etheltbags1 Mon 21-Dec-15 20:08:04

As a child DD used to write thank you letters with much reluctance, however I insisted because my rather controlling mother kept nagging me and it was easier. When she left home DD said that although she had had a lovely childhood, the one thing that spoiled her Christmases and birthdays was my insistence on thank you cards, she said that now she was in her own home there would never be another thank you card again. She claimed that as she opened her presents I would hover with a pad and pen writing down who had given what, this was true so that I could remember what she got from whom.

Her partner said that he had never written a thank you card in his life, simply saying 'thanks' as he received a gift, he reckoned I was being obsessive.

As a child in the 50s I had never heard of thank you cards but the only gift I got from afar was from an uncle who visited with a parcel and I would say 'thank you' face to face.

Nowadays if I get a gift from someone I don't see regularly I just phone them and my DD could have done this when she was a child, certainly as a teenager with her mobile. My mother however insists its an age thing and that old people like to have a card to prove they have chosen a good present and because they don't have many cards so they look forward to one in the new year to cheer themselves up. Does anyone on here look forward to a thank you card. I know my DGD will not be encouraged to write them. It may also be a middle class thing, trying to be posh I suppose. Any comments

Coolgran65 Mon 21-Dec-15 20:19:07

It's a long time since I received a thank you card, perhaps occasionally for a wedding gift. Also with emails/FB nowadays perhaps an acknowledgement is more likely to be made that way.

I do understand what you mean, it's one thing to say thank you when receiving a gift, it's another to let the person know that you liked the gift.
I don't think anyone bothers much with this tradition.

etheltbags1 Mon 21-Dec-15 20:23:41

I just hate the thought that I made my DD so unhappy over a wretched card. We are more like sisters and that is a nagging regret.

Charleygirl Mon 21-Dec-15 20:26:19

I was brought up to send a thank you card/letter. Nowadays I send an email to say thank you.

A while ago I was invited to a teenagers birthday party. I handed my gift to her mother as the girl was speaking with somebody else. I was not thanked and there was no acknowledgement afterwards. I thought that was rude but maybe I am old fashioned as I had gone to a lot of bother and expense to choose a gift for her.

GillT57 Mon 21-Dec-15 20:30:09

If the present is given face to face and the recipient thanks the giver there and then I think there is no reason to write a thank you note at a later date. However, if the present has been sent by post I think it is polite to send a quick note/email/phone call of thanks, apart from anything else the giver then knows the gift has been received. I can understand that your DD felt uncomfortable with the process, but surely she would be offended if a well thought out and considered gift wasn't even acknowledged? I too used to hover at birthday parties with pen and paper to write down who had given what so that the thank you note was right! My god daughter never acknowledges gifts, and it does bother me as I sometimes send cash and wonder if it arrives.

Coolgran65 Mon 21-Dec-15 20:47:54

ethel although I said up thread that I reckoned thanking you cards weren't commonly done nowadays, I do remember standing over my son(who is now 40) getting him to do his thank you replies. When noone else bothered.
We all have nagging regrets, absolutely.

I do think that when a child draws something to our attention that we did as a parent, we take it to heart. It is most likely that doing the thank-yous was certainly a chore to your dd but perhaps the words 'the one thing that spoiled Christmas and birthdays' were stronger and more hurtful than she actually meant them to be. Maybe you are like me..... I'm an over thinker .... and yes I do have many parenting nagging regrets that pop up into my head even after 20 or 30 years.

As commented by GillT57 I do get irritated by folks not acknowledging a gift that is sent in the post. I've been known to wait a few weeks and then text/email saying..... did my package ever arrive?

Leticia Mon 21-Dec-15 21:06:04

I wouldn't worry about it, if it wasn't one thing it would be another. I used to get special notepaper as a child and loved writing letters. There are other things that I mention to my mother but they didn't bother me really.
I made my children write thank you letters to people they didn't see- people like it.

etheltbags1 Mon 21-Dec-15 21:26:13

I must admit I do ask if someone has got their present or if it fits/is liked etc.
I remember my late in laws who thanked me upon receiving their presents and I thanked them for ours but the next day I would ring and say that my presents were liked, 'oh I love the jumper' etc (even if I hated it).They never ever mentioned my presents to them I was always hurt.

Luckygirl Mon 21-Dec-15 21:40:47

Oh yes - I remember slaving over thank you letters a a child - I generally put the same on them all!

My GC who live away do send a note - but it always looks to me as though Mum has generated it on the computer - usually with pics of the birthday or whatever.

I tend to send emails - how lazy is that?

grannyqueenie Mon 21-Dec-15 21:40:49

I did that hovering with list in hand thing too! Then nagged/ encouraged the children to write thank you letters.That's probably why most of them never think to write thank you letters nowadays, nor encourage the the grandchildren to acknowledge gifts either. I'm old fashioned and would love to receive a little note...even a text or email from the budding teenagers would be nice...but I'm not holding my breath!

etheltbags1 Mon 21-Dec-15 21:43:53

Im glad Im quite normal to have been hovering with notepad in hand.

I thought I was being a bit OTT. now I can tell DD that I know several people who 'hovered' as well as me.

tanith Mon 21-Dec-15 21:46:04

I wasn't brought up to write thank you cards and so my children never got the habit , now I can hardly complain if I never get them. I'm happy that they all say thankyou or send a FB message.

etheltbags1 Mon 21-Dec-15 21:51:01

as I said above I think its older people who like thank you cards, my mother keeps all her cards for ages on the mantelpiece and shows them to everyone who calls, the same for birthday and xmas cards.

M0nica Mon 21-Dec-15 21:52:40

If the giver is present when the gift is opened and can be thanked orally then I do not think a thank you letter is needed, but if the giver isn't there then some kind of acknowledgment or thanks is essential. It doesn't have to be a letter these days, an email or phone call should be equally acceptable. Personally I still write thaank you letters when required whether for a present or after a visit to a friend.

If I gave presents to anybody and never got an acknowledgement and thanks I would stop giving. I currently give presents to the children of my two god children and always get a brief letter of thanks. DGC are being brought up to write thank you letters, DDiL is usually quite discrete about noting who gave what.

I think every child can think of something one of their parents did that was a constant cause of mortification when a child. For DS it was the very nice violet Jaeger suit I wore at Prize Day the year I was on the stage in a prominent position because I was chairman of the PTA. He still remembers with shuddering loathing his embarrassment at the time. As a child I always found the way my mother dressed a mortification because she dressed so well and was so stylish people were always remarking to me on it. As I was the antithesis of my mother it always seemed an implied criticism of me. It probably wasn't.

Leticia Mon 21-Dec-15 22:11:17

If writing thank you letters was the only thing that spoiled a lovely childhood then you did a good job and have nothing to worry about!
It is one of those debates that crop up regularly on MN, I could bet there will be one after Christmas, and it is a fairly even divide between those who think it important and make their children write them and those who never make them write them.
I think that email and phones will probably kill it, which is a shame.
If someone bothers to send a present I don't think it is too much to expect a letter in return.

whitewave Mon 21-Dec-15 22:21:13

Just good manners to say thank you. Hard cheese if they don't want to do it.

M0nica Tue 22-Dec-15 07:22:46

Writing thank you letters can have spin-offs. DGD has started writing letters to DH and I, just because she wants to. We live 200 miles away so only see them every few months. At the beginning of December we received a lovely letter saying how excited she was about Christmas and spending it with us. We email and speak on the phone, but there is something special about a letter. We also regularly send both DGC postcards whenever we go away. Children love receiving a letter or package on the post.

TriciaF Tue 22-Dec-15 07:45:23

Ethelbags - for goodness sake, don't feel bad about making your daughter write the letters - you were teaching her what was regarded as fairly normal at that time. And showing gratitude is so important.
I did the same with ours and it disappoints me if , for example, I send a cheque for a grandchild, and they never even acknowledge it, though I can see it has been cashed. I fact I've stopped sending to one of them for that reason (though there's more to that story.)

Leticia Tue 22-Dec-15 08:11:01

You make it sound as if you were doing something dreadful to her! I would just give her a bright and breezy 'it can't have been as bad as the sweat and tears it caused me to get you to write them!'
It is worth it. My son hand wrote some thank you letters for his wedding and I think he was very surprised at the pleasure it gave and the amount of comments - a phone call or email wouldn't have got a comment, it is not the same as a nice,newsy letter. I put it down to his letter writing training as a child! There were times when I thought perhaps it wasn't worth the effort it took me to get them to produce them but I am glad that I persisted.

Synonymous Tue 22-Dec-15 09:58:04

Personally I always write, my DC have always done so and my DGC are being taught by super DDIL that it is appropriate and how to do it.
I have a whole collection of really sweet letters I have received over the years and still enjoy looking at them. smile
When my nieces and nephews stopped writing I took it as a signal to stop sending. If one takes the time and effort to do something special one should be able to expect at least an acknowledgement since often the time and effort and thoughts behind the gift or action are more than the monetary value. It is all part of the 'glue' which holds families and society together.
(DH says that not writing thank you letters is downright rude!)

Evertheoptimist Tue 22-Dec-15 10:39:03

I always expect a thank you card or letter for wedding presents and new baby gifts. Christmas and birthday presents don't bother me, for some reason!
Last year we gave a substantial cheque to a friend, to give to her son for his wedding present.
Still waiting on an acknowledgment from him. Grrrr.

winifred01 Tue 22-Dec-15 10:56:26

I once read somewhere that the next time you send a cheque after one has not been acknowledged you do not sign it! Soon get a reply!

Synonymous Tue 22-Dec-15 11:01:09

winifred01 - tchgrin

witchygran Tue 22-Dec-15 11:01:15

If you send a present to a relative or friend, that you have taken time and effort to choose for them, it is not too much to expect a thank you, either written or telephoned. (An email is a bit lazy.) I wrote thank you letters, my DD wrote them and now my DG writes them. It teaches children good manners and consideration. Evertheoptimist, I would telephone and ask meaningfully, whether the son had written to you, as you are afraid the letter may have gone astray!

kazzer Tue 22-Dec-15 11:01:35

Grandchildren didn't thank for birthday, Christmas? If no thanks, no more