Sunday, January 08, 2006

Thank you etiquette

This was a lovely home-made card I received from Didi (and her Mummy) for the present we gave her for Christmas. I’m delighted with it, but I certainly didn’t expect it, because she thanked us beautifully for her present when we gave it to her.

This led me to thinking about something that bothers me from time to time. As a busy working mother, with a huge number of things to do, I have to work out which things I should do out of politeness. So I do think that if my children receive a present in the post, they should write or telephone to thank the sender – out of courtesy but also so that the sender is not put in the uncomfortable position of having to ask us if we received it. However if they have thanked someone in person for a present as they receive it, I don’t feel that I should add writing an additional thank you letter to the huge long list of things I’m supposed to do as a mother. However I have a sneaking suspicion that some people might feel that only a written thank you is acceptable. I‘ve had this conversation with flesh and blood friends but I’d be interested in what any of you virtual friends in blogland think.


Blogger Caroline said...

As a non-mother, but aunt to 9 plus adopted aunt to several more I know that getting a written thank you matters a lot to me. But I don't get many...

However I also remember the horrors of writing thankyou letters when I was a child and have a lot of sympathy with them being short!

1/08/2006 9:46 PM  
Anonymous rachel said...

I have just read Lynne Truss' "Show The Hand -the utter bloody rudeness of modern life" She cites someone (can't remember who) who begs not to be sent a "thank you" letter because his father spent his life writing "thank you" letters for "thank you" Letters. I don't know how we can win this one. I guess a sincere thank you is enough - god knows I seem to be surrounded by peope who don't seem to have "please", "thank you" or "sorry" in their vocabulary.


1/09/2006 2:12 AM  
Blogger Julie Oakley said...

Caroline and Rachel it's interesting to read what you think. I suppose for me the sincerity is what really matters. I don't particularly appreciate the mass produced letters we get from some of the parties the children go to - you know 'Dear (insert name here) thank you for coming to my party and thank you for my present'. I tend to think 'for crying out loud this woman has just organised a children's birthday party - invitations, party food, entertainment, party bags - does she really have to put pressure on the rest of us party-organising mothers by sending out letters thanking people for coming?
I really like getting the occasional hand crafted or hand written or personal e-mail when I feel the person is genuinely thanking me for something that they feel is particularly special, but I don't expect it and I personally find that a verbal thank you is quite enough.

1/09/2006 9:17 AM  
Blogger Kala said...

Funny, I have been going through the same predicament and figure it's easier and a lot less guilt ridden just to pick up the phone or send a quick email to say thanks but it depends who it is. an easy solution is a little greetings card with a simple message that my son will write himself, even if he only writes thank you! Glad it's not just me who worries about these things and doesn't have enough hours in the day!

1/11/2006 1:34 PM  
Blogger Julie Olson said...

I agree with the mass thank you post. I don't like them. It has to be personal. I am a mother of 3 kids under 7 and illustrate children's books and the like as well. Time is precious. However, I do ask my children to write personal thank you notes for gifts at Christmas or thoughtful gifts at other times. The general birthday party gift, I let be thanked at the party. Whatever works. I don't expect to receive either and am never offended if I don't.

1/12/2006 5:01 AM  
Blogger Felicity said...

Interesting question Julie. I think you should be grateful for getting mass produced thank you letters :) I've never seen one. I call children's parties 'Dump and Go's' because the parent usually dumps the child with cheap pressie without a hello or goodbye. You are expected to do the same at theirs. At my very first party, I dropped Alex then about 4 or 5 (and very shy) said hello at the door and the mother looked horrified that I expected to chat! Yes, a simple thank you would be nice but that would be a miracle from people who only need your child to make up the numbers to make theirs look popular.

1/18/2006 5:36 PM  

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