etiquette poll

Oh look! I got the poll thing to work again! Yay!

My topic today is THANK-YOU NOTES.

Yay! Thank you notes!!

Historically, I am really, really bad about the thank you notes. I did them for our wedding, but after we had kids it was all downhill from there. And the kids’ gifts: Forget It. Especially at Christmas; they tear into their stuff, gift tags get tangled up in wrapping paper, and it’s impossible to get them to slow down and write down each gift’s sender for thank you notes later. Christmas mornings I tend to be sluggish but happy, munching fudge and chugging coffee and/or mimosas, and am not up for much of anything, let alone fussing at the kids to slow down and let me record their gifts. Their birthday parties are pretty much the same way, although I do actually write down the givers’ gifts and names with some vague idea of making the boys write thank you’s later.

So, yeah. Which, apparently, according to the interwebs, is just hideously rude and unforgivable, and PEOPLE NOTICE if you don’t do it, so you MUST.

Which. Sigh. I get expressing gratitude, but isn’t opening the gift in front of someone and giving effusive thanks at that moment enough..? And certainly an email or phone call would cover it otherwise, right…? I mean, I’m all about meaningful written correspondence, and like to write letters of support and sympathy and the occasional random hello note, and I LOVE Christmas cards, especially photo ones.

But does anyone actually notice and think less of you if you don’t send thank you notes? And do all you other mamas make your kids write thank you notes for their birthday and Christmas gifts? We can all agree that the whole process (procuring cards, writing them, addressing them with current addresses) is time-consuming and not that fun, right?

(fyi, this comes on the heels of me finishing up the next-to-last batch of baby shower thank you notes from this spring. Clearly, I grumble and whine about it, but do it anyway, because it rankles to think that Emily Post would fuss at me for rudeness and I don’t want our gift givers to think I’m not grateful for the gifts they gave us.)

Food for thought: a CONSPIRACY. Emily Post-types, the stationery lobby, and the USPS. I’ve got no proof, but it could be that SOMEBODY’S palms are getting greased. ahem. Emily?

AND CHECK IT OUT: If you don’t like the given responses, you can do a write-in! Whee!

Edited to add: Hmm, very interesting spread of opinions. I am curious, now, whether you feel that thank you note-writing is a particularly feminine activity. Does your husband or do men you know write thank-you’s for shared gifts? Do they teach the kids to write them and make sure that they do? If not, and you do, does that bother you, since you probably are just as busy as he/they are? Or do you feel that it’s fair that it’s women that do thank you notes because it’s just a ladylike thing, like having showers (the gift kind, not the cleansing kind) and ladies’ lunches?


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Meghan Cobble
    Aug 06, 2009 @ 03:11:28

    Well, this is a mighty hot topic, Mama Jamz. In fuego if you ask me.

    I love mail. Like the surprise I actually got in the mail from YOU just the other few-coupleish weeks ago…WITH PHOTOS might I add!!

    LOVE IT! THANK YOU!!! The boys adore the pics and look at them all the time to tell me stories about their cousins and what they do to make them laugh. They actually have a game that they play where one pretends he is “Fishmaster” and the other pretends he is “Rockinrolla” and then off in character they go! TOO CUTE~

    Anyhoo, thank you cards…

    I kinda do like thank yous cards too.

    But, I’m just gonna lay out here, emkay?

    I am only satisfied if the hand written thank you card is not a stock response. I even want it to be their best handwriting.

    POW>BAM-BAM>SHWING…GASP from all of your other readers.

    “The nerve of this girl writing this on a comment. Who does she think she is anyway? Can she not just be grateful for the time spent?”

    I hear’em. Oh yeah, I hear your swear words.

    But I kinda want and have high hopes for a intimate thank you and nice choice in words.

    Not just a “thank you and I appreciate it or you were so kind to think of me.”

    I HEAR YOU, readers!!!!

    But I totally play double standard on this. My handwriting is “no count” to use Kenny’s words. All scribbly and little. Yet I expect and hope for perfecto strokes all perty like.

    It is clear that after my own post inside of yours with this comment that I should have just voted on the poll and kept my stuck-up little thank you note fingers shut, huh?

    I’m so on the fence on this one.

    .mac 🙂

    p.s. I STILL hear you even though you are whispering, reader people of the Jamz bloggie!!!!

  2. thisbumpyjourney
    Aug 06, 2009 @ 11:17:13

    LOL – not at all, mac. I hear you, and *clearly* you are in the right. I’ve been thinking about taking this post down b/c of the whole incendiariness of the whole thing, plus it shows how rude I am.

    I guess I was just hoping for validation of my slacker ways. Sigh.

    And you have two active little scooters at home – how do you DO it? I am so impressed. I was proud of myself for this last batch I did, that took me, like, three months, and they are full of scrabbly handwriting and weird sleep-deprived wording. It just seems so monumentally hard to have the quiet time and peaceful concentration to write really thoughtful notes to a long list of folks. I think the whole mulitple-baby-showers-after-baby-came-home thing is working against me, along with my general laziness.

  3. Meghan Cobble
    Aug 06, 2009 @ 12:25:37

    Now don’t be taking this post down. 6 votes already attest to the dilemma of a frappin’ thank you card or lack thereof.

    It’s a real topic.

    Not rude. REAL!

    .mac 🙂

  4. Wendy
    Aug 06, 2009 @ 14:00:58

    I’m really good about thank you cards for showers and weddings but not at all good about thank you cards for Christmas and birthdays.

    With most of my close friends, we’ve pretty much made a deal that no one is on the hook for thank you cards, for any gift (showers included). We all have jobs, small kids, etc and we know we are all busy so everyone gets a free pass and no one feels bad. It is nice.

    As my son gets older, I may have him draw a picture as a thank you and tuck in a photo of him playing or wearing whatever gift, rather than just do the stock card.

  5. Mike
    Aug 06, 2009 @ 21:31:57

    I have to admit, sending thank you notes/letters/cards etc was not my thing. Oh of course, growing up mom made sure I expressed some kind of written gratitude for gifts I’d received least she severely limited my air supply or other life supporting substance.

    So, after getting married….wow, now she can do all that hand written stuff. I mean she has much better hand writing than i have or will ever have. Heck,
    isn’t that one of the reasons us guys get married…you can/get to write the thank yous….thank you very much! She could do the ole’ go to the card store, search for just the right card or cards, wait in line to pay, drive home, hand write the card, address it, stamp it (out of stamps again, rats) and finally take it out to the mail box. And how many times did she not have just the right card for other stuff that came up? The process didn’t turn me on…so glad she had a more caring bone in her body!

    Well, how time and technology has changed that whole “ball game.” As of a couple years ago now….I’ve taken over 99% ok 100% of the thank you, birthday, wedding, get well, condolence, her piano student welcome aboard, congrats for moving to new level, recital pic cards etc you name it….zap they get a heart felt, “hand written and signed” live greeting card with envelope, stamp and all that jazz…. by tapping one little ole’ “send” button on the same black box I’m writing this response. Would I have taken over that “family female function” if it wasn’t a blast to do? That’s a negatory!!

    Anyway, enough said….my theory is an attitude of gratitude is one of the best up lifters for both the sender and receiver of thankfulness on the planet for improving human relationships and ultimate happiness. But hey, that’s just me. Sorry, got carried away there…. 🙂

  6. thisbumpyjourney
    Aug 07, 2009 @ 00:52:26

    wow. feeling somewhat inadequate here with regards to the ol’ correspondence. **sniff**

    But THANK YOU poll respondants and commenters! Clearly I needed a talking-to, huh.

    That’s nice what you and your friends have going, Wendy. I guess I pretty much have that unspoken arrangement with my close friends and family, too.

    And Mike – hello! Good for you with the e-thank you’s *I* think that’s terrific and would love an email thank you anytime. 😉

  7. Erin
    Aug 08, 2009 @ 16:18:32

    I’m a big thank you note writer, but somehow the only one in the family who actually bothers with it. The poll wording had me in a quandary, as I’m not ever “offended” when I don’t get a thank you for something, but more sad. Sad in that old tradition and niceties are dying out because we’re all too busy. Sometimes I am left wondering if the gift was even received, and if it wasn’t, is someone left wondering why I dissed them for their big day?

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