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Diatribe: Whatever Happened To “Thank You”.


untitledMy nieces are wonderful letter-writers.  From a very young age, their mother would insist that they send a hand-written Thank You note every time they received a gift.  Regardless of whether they’ve received a check or a toy, they always wrote a personalized note of gratitude acknowledging that the gift had been received and warmly appreciated.  I’ve kept some of their notes in my box of precious memories and they always bring a smile to my heart when I receive one.  I’m sure that writing those notes was a complete chore for them as youngsters … I imagine that quite a bit of supervision was required to get them completed … but writing those short notes and addressing those envelopes taught my nieces important lessons that far too many folks have apparently never learned.

An enormous pet peeve in my household stems from the fact that we rarely, if ever, receive an acknowledgement when we give a gift.  While we certainly don’t expect a hand-written note on embossed stationery every time we send a birthday gift to one of the children on our list, it would be nice to know that they child actually received our present.  A parent’s quick telephone call, email, text message or mention on social media would be sufficient to let us know that the package had arrived safely.

When I was younger, at graduation time, seniors would make Xerox copies of the checks that they received from well-wishers so that they would have accurate names and addresses for use in sending thank you notes.

Last summer, we sent what we thought were generous gifts to two lovely young couples whose out-of-town weddings we were unable to attend.  We know the gifts were received, as our cancelled checks quickly posted to our bank account, but almost fourteen months have passed without an acknowledgement.

Is rude to ask “Did you get the gift that we sent you?”

Or should follow-up be the giver’s responsibility?

I understand that traditions change and evolve over time and that proper etiquette itself has morphed to fit our modern, global community … some children today have never seen a postage stamp … but when did we stop saying “please” and “thank you”?  Are we really too busy to be grateful?

I’ll never have to ask my nieces if they received a gift.  And I’m confident that they will teach their children the same gracious habits that they’ve learned from their parents.  And they might get better gifts as a result.  After all, it’s more fun to give a gift to someone who appreciates it … right?

Do you think Thank You notes are a thing of the past?  Should givers simply assume that gifts arrive and are appreciated?


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From → Ovations

  1. Just a note to say “Thanks” for this fine post!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, thanks for writing this. I have nieces and nephews galore. The ones who thank me get gifts; the ones that do not do not.

    But in this case, I would ask Because it is rude and if it is inching towards becoming a custom, we should stop it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This should not be a lost art. We have painfully made sure our kids write them, but it is a chore. Thank you for reminding us. BTG

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thedogs'mother permalink

    🙂 all I can say is you are not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

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