Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thank You Notes

Another odd thing about Podunkville: very few people write thank you notes. Or even thank you emails for that matter.

I am a bit old school about certain points of etiquette. "Obsessive" is how you could describe my affinity for writing thank you notes on pretty paper. But in my little podunk hamlet, of the last five gifts I've given, I haven't received a single thank you note, email, text, call, hand wave, high five or what have you. Which strikes me as odd. Three of the 5 non-thank you note writers were not raised in Podunkville, so it is not a "podunk thing" necessarily. As a matter of fact, some expat English friends of ours who just moved to Northern NJ, way on the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum, report the same thing: nobody there sends written thank you's anymore. And I'm not talking about people who are superbusy because they just had a baby or a serious illness. No, I'm talking people with school aged children who threw over the top birthday fetes for their little ones. Or even worse, for themselves.

Am I hopelessly old fashioned and out of touch to think a written thank you note for a gift unopened in front of the giver (and also for pretty much all gifts & all nice things done for you) is still the social norm? Help me out here. No shame if you generally don't write them - I really want to know how it is. Is it because I'm not on FB? Is that the new forum for gratitude? I think not. Do tell.


mom2boy said...

I wrote thank you notes for my baby shower gifts and for Tate's second birthday gifts. His first birthday is a blur. I write thank you notes on behalf of Tate for Christmas gifts from out of town family and I intend he will write his own when he's able. And I am on FB - a status update thank you so doesn't count!

blue said...

The only time I've written thank you notes was for wedding and baby shower gifts. I also very rarely receive thank you notes, which appears to be the trend these days among my friends.

I have one family member who writes beautiful thank you letters for each and every gift she receives (Christmas, birthdays, even thank you notes for letters!) and it always feels so nice, even when I was there for the opening. Maybe I'll try turning over a new leaf (or page, as the case may be).

I'm not on FB either, so I don't know.

paola said...

I have never sent a 'thank you' per se, except in an e-mail (I'm thinking when I had my kids and I received presents I would usually call to thank, but sometimes I'd sent an e.). I'm wondering at this point if it is cultural. Australians and Italians aren't into it at all ( at least the ones I know).

I once lost a good friend as she was into writing Christmas cards and I wasn't. In the end she stopped sennding the Chrissy cards, and eventually stopped calling. I stopped calling her when my phone calls (international) were often greeted with silence. I'm still wondering if it was all due to the Christmas cardd.

Claudia said...

I like thank you notes, both writing and receiving them.
I don't keep up on them as well as I should, though I will try to do better on behalf of Boo boo, and then encourage her to write her own when she is older.
I do suspect that thank you cards/notes, much like Christmas cards, can make the recipient feel guilty for not doing in kind, and it then doesn't fulfill the intention, that is, extending thanks or greeting.

Prut skid.
That's my swearing contribution. It means 'fart poop' in Danish, and my 4-years-old-tomorrow daughter (aforementioned Boo boo) likes to interject it into all sorts of rhymes, songs, conversations, anywhere, really.

Cloud said...

I do thank you notes for gifts not opened in front of the giver, but not generally for ones where I was able to express our gratitude as we opened the gift.

In fact, I sent Hubby to day care this morning with a little stack of notes to put in cubbies. Other parents in our day care do the same.

For the family thank you notes (i.e., notes for gifts sent by far away family), I try to get Pumpkin to color a picture, too.

caramama said...

I'm awful about thank you notes, and always have been. I just don't do them, even when I really really mean to or when I'm really really thankful. I just suck at them. I almost always remember to thank people when I see them in person, and I hope that counts for something.

Like @blue, I did them for my wedding gifts and shower gifts (mostly). I really mean to do them for the gifts my girl got this year for her birthday. I keep meaning to. Maybe this will get my butt in gear to do them...

blue said...

@Paola, a lost friendship over a Christmas card? Seriously? How sad that your friend couldn't see the big picture.

hush said...

Interesting - thank you for sharing how it is with you. I'm definitely thinking the social norms have changed!