Thanking you kindly…

As a child I was always brought up to write thank you letters, and I mean to everyone. People we saw regularly, people we had already thanked at the time of receiving the gifts and people far away. As an adult, I try to keep writing them but admit, time gets the better of me and sometimes it’s frankly embarrassing after so much time has passed to send a thank you letter so late!

Image Via The Glitter Guide: 7 Sweet thank you cards
Now that we have Bea, its made me think a lot more about thank you’s and the act of writing a thank you letter. Personally, when I give someone a gift, I do it without the expectation of thanks. I don’t give to receive thanks in return, but simply because I want to. I might want to celebrate someones birthday or new baby, or just cheer them up and whilst a thank you is lovely to receive, I don’t count them or look out for them. In fact there are occasions when I would rather NOT receive a thank you letter… I’d would much prefer that new mum spend an extra 5 or 10 minutes cuddling her new baby than thanking me for the gift I sent.

Now we have Bea, a whole new world of thanking people has popped up, and I feel I ought to write thank you’s for all of her gifts too. But when she’s not actually writing them herself, I’m not actually teaching her to appreciate the thought, effort or financial generosity behind a gift (which I would plan to do in future with an older child,) and it is one more burden for an ever growing mummy to-do list. So I’ve decided that we will write thank you’s for geographically distant relatives and people we won’t see to thank. Those that we do see will be thanked in person on receipt of the gift and family/friends can have electronic thank you by way of photo or email messages showing the presents in use.

I’m curious to know readers, what did you do growing up and what do you do now, (or plan to do) with your children?


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16 thoughts on “Thanking you kindly…

  1. As a child I was brought up with writing thank you letters to everyone I received a gift from, unless they were there in person when I opened it.
    Now as a mum of an eight year old, we’re applying the same rule for him. At school every year they make a piece of Christmas artwork that gets turned into greetings cards you can order – which are perfect to write short thank you notes in! I see how much our older relatives love getting the cards and it makes it all worthwhile 🙂

  2. I tried to instil “Thank you” letters into my children as they were growing up. It didn’t work for one at all, it partly worked for another who did them for wedding gifts and worked totally for the other – she sends sort notes for everything she gets and is getting her girls to do the same. At birthdays and Christmas everything they received is noted down and Thank you cards are sent. If I buy them some clothes or a book or a toy – I get a note for that too. Originally they may have just “written” the kiss on the bottom, then went on to do their names and now have moved on to writing everything! Good manners and teaches thoughtfulness.

  3. I hvae always written them but even more so now we have Annie. I make lists on my phone of the presents she received for birthdays and Christmas otherwise you just lose track!

    Because she cant write yet I’ve been making up photo postcards and having them printed at I have to say I don’t write too much on them – just a quick thank you and i enjoyed playing with X etc.


  4. We do thank you notes – often a photo of E with a small thank you on the back (I mean, who wouldn’t want a photo of my delicious looking daughter?!). She also now scribbles on the back. Before she could hold a pen we used to stamp her foot in paint and she would do it that way.

    It was made very clear to me by MIL that her side “don’t do thank you cards” but my side most definitely do. E is 6th in a long line of cousins who all do thank you letters and we are following a trend. My Mum keeps the photo cards on her niece/nephew/random baby picture wall in the kitchen and its lovely to be able to see them layer up as time goes on and the children get older.

    Incidentally, SIL’s child also now does thank you cards so we’ve set a trend on that side too.

    There isn’t however any expectation of when you can receive them. I haven’t ordered our Christmas cards yet – its been on my to do list for ages and people understand. Hopefully.

    **makes note to order thank you cards tonight**

  5. We do thank you cards from our 1 yr old boy ie I write them and he signs at the bottom with assistance!! People have been so generous since he was born we just wanted to make sure it was appreciated. I originally thought I would do far away friends/relatives but then decided it was good practice to do everyone. I do a photo card from photobox with a short note in and everyone seems to love it and closer family and friends tend to keep them and watch his progress. I don’t think you can ever win with this sort of thing… just got to go with your gut.

  6. When Matilda was born, we sent out postcards with a picture of her on them as thank yous – we did this when she was about 6 weeks old and some people were STILL snippy about how long we took. *sigh*

    For her Christmas, we’ve got photos printed, stuck them to plain postcards and… uh… left them in a pile with the list of who gave her what. It’s on the to do list for this weekend… We’re probably in a few bad books again.

  7. I will do thank yous for new baby and Christening because often items are posted or not opened until after the event. But for birthday and Christmas I am not bothering. I have never recieved notes or even phone calls from the various children I’ve bought for over the years so will just get my son to say thank you in person.
    I like doing photo postcards for new baby thank you, means all the family get a cute picture to keep. I like having the ones we recieve up in my kitchen too.

  8. I awlays wrote a thank you letter as a child as did my husband. So far for chistmas and birthday for Dexter we have written his thank you cards for everyone who has bought him a gift. For those frends that live near us and also for relitives further away.
    When he is older, he will be writting them. It is labour intensve but I want him to apprecate the gift that person has given him. I was rasied that way and I want to pass that onto thim. Both Nik and I think it’s good manners.
    Saying that, out of all the people we buy presnts for we only get 2 thank you cards back, always the same people, which goes to show that not eveyone thinks the same. xx

  9. I do the same as many of the above. I try really hard to write thank you’s for everything that Connie receives throughout the year. I keep a list during the present opening which I tackle over the following few weeks. I usually try and get her to help me in some way. Usually for birthday I cut up postcard size pieces of her artwork and have a ‘thank you’ stamp which actually make really lovely cards with not much more effort than a bit of pritt stick once you have all the bits to do them quickly. For Christmas I usually do a photo postcard on snapfish using a wintery photo taken sometime during the Christmas holiday and this year Connie’s enjoyed attempting to write her initials and kisses on them all.

    For any gifts that appear occasionally through the year I try and use one of those photo postcard apps and just take a quick photo of her using/ wearing the gift and do the rest via the app.

    I don’t expect thank you’s for gifts we give but I do love rceiving the photo or creative ones and know my relatives do too. If anything has slipped since becoming a Mum, it’s the thank you’s from us adults!

  10. Thank you for writing this! And welcome back.

    My daughter had colic and I had no family support or friends with children. I felt like I’d been hit by a bus and could barely remember my own name or health appointments for the first three months. Not sending printed photo thank you notes made me feel very guilty and added to my anxiety about not being a good mum, and I made sure to thank everyone in person when I saw them and hoped they would understand. When my son was born it was so much easier and I did send thank yous as I had time and headspace but I would never judge someone who didn’t. Birthdays and Christmas we keep small (parties for 5, not 30, where we open presents and say thanks there and then) and make sure the kids appreciate and say thank you but I’m afraid writing thank you notes and sending them is something we have opted out of, just like Christmas cards. I doubt any of this stuff has ever crossed my other half’s mind, by the way – is that the same for everyone else?
    Best wishes, Beck. X

    • Absolutely…..if it was left to my husband nobody would ever receive a birthday card or gift, let alone a thank you. I have accepted the fact that it’s part of my role in our family as I’m the one who it matters to the most.

  11. As my three children got older I found the post- birthday and Christmas nagging to do thank you notes to be such a pain that I devised a scheme where I got thank you cards ready for Christmas morning and after opening each present the child had to quickly write a note before moving on to the next present- worked like a charm!

  12. I am another one who had to write them as a child- it was almost a competition with my cousins at Christmas, who would get them out first? Not that this made us want to write them, it just heaped pressure on my poor old mum. I have memories of desperately asking how long a paragraph had to be….

    But I do think it was a good thing to learn- it pays to be able to write cheerful grateful little compositions, at work or not. We would get so bored that you had to try and be original- life skill acquisition time.

    I must admit I do get a little huffy when there are so many easy ways to thank someone and someone doesn’t bother. New mums get a pass, but teenage recipients who can’t even be fussed to text me- grr!

    Maybe I’m just a misery guts, but S will definitely be writing her notes to anyone not present at grand openings. And later I will be checking her sent items!

  13. I feel like this post has made me look like such an ungrateful miser!! I just sometimes feel like we do it because we feel we ought to? and that perhaps only some of the letters are appreciated. I recently had a run in with an older relative who was miffed a thank you got overlooked (and this was a complete accident in the newborn haze) when in fact I have never received a TY from them for any of the presents given over the years. Why is it a one way street from younger people to older and not the other way around?!
    Anyway, I think a fun way of thanking people is in order. Perhaps I need to write a blog post on DIY thank you options that kids can contribute to…?

  14. I still write thank you letters – I was made to as a child, and as an adult I like to send “nice post” as it is so lovely to receive! Right now I tend to write a thanks for M’s in the same card, and pop a recent picture of her in. I also send little video clips of her saying “thank you X” to some family and friends which is fun to do and gets her saying thank you too!

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