Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What's Hap-pinning Wednesday: Thank-You Notes

Growing up, we always had to write thank-you notes for gifts we received: for our birthday, Christmas, or even just because gifts. And I always remember my mom writing them to friends for bringing us a meal after my sister was born, helping her out in a pinch, and more. 

I loathed writing thank-you notes as a kid and even told myself, "I'll never make my kids do this when I'm an adult!" But, as I have done far too often as an adult and now a parent, I've been eating my words more and more. 

I write thank-you notes, and I make my children write them, too. 



I know: call me Southern, old fashioned or just plain out of the loop, but I feel like it's very important to write thank-you notes to show my gratitude (and my kids' gratitude); to teach my children to be grateful; and to honor and acknowledge the person who took time out of their busy lives to get us a gift, wrap it, buy a card, sign it, and either deliver it to us or come to the birthday party and hand-deliver it. (Or, to the person who takes the time to make us a meal by shopping for the food, paying for it out of their own pocket, taking the time to make it -- or set up delivery -- and bringing it to us.) As an adult who understands the value of a dollar and the value of time in today's busy world, I find it even more important to write a thank-you note. 

And, I know, I know. It's the 21st century and there are plenty of other ways to communicate: texting, emailing, calling, Snapchatting, Insta story-ing...and I also know that writing a handwritten thank-you note has "gone out of style." And I also know that we have 708 different different things going on in our days: getting children up, fed, dressed, out the door to school, to work ourselves, our volunteer and work commitments, church commitments, parties, lunch dates...and the list goes on and on and will forever. 

But I personally think there is nothing that shows your sincere thankfulness more than a handwritten thank-you note. We put such an importance on sending Christmas cards in the mail, but we don't have nearly as big of an importance on acknowledging a thoughtful gift with a quick thank-you note. Why is that?

Have you ever given (or sent) someone a gift, only to not have them acknowledge it at all? No thank-you note, no text, no email, no verbal "thank you?" Didn't you feel weird and wonder if they received it; if they received it, did they like it; and, if you're like me, you go through your head thinking of 403 different scenarios as to why they may not have received it or liked it and have no clue how to bring it up without it being awkward. That right there is why I believe you should send a thank-you note: acknowledgement that the gift was received; appreciation for their time, effort, energy and money toward the gift; and showing that appreciation by taking five whole minutes out of your day to sit down and share with them how thankful you are. I guarantee you it took them a lot longer than five minutes to think about, purchase, wrap and send your (or your child's) gift. 

I'll be honest, nothing burns me up more than purchasing a gift for someone (whether an adult or a child) and not receiving any sort of a "thank you" for it. I don't do it for the thank-you note, but I do expect to be thanked for the gift I gave. It's just simply manners. I also cannot stand to receive a generic email sent to every party attendee that goes something like this: "Thank you for coming and for the sweet gift!" The end. That's all. I sit there and think, "Did you know which gift I gave you?" "Did you like it?" "If you hated it, I can totally send you the gift receipt!" My mind goes all over the place. 

Why does that bother me? Because, again, I took the time to carefully select your gift (whether from your registry or not); pay for it with my own money that I most definitely could have spent elsewhere; purchase a card to go along with it; sign said card; wrap the gift; and either bring it to your party/shower/event or have it delivered there. Not acknowledging the gift and the time it took to do all of that, frankly, is insulting. Not receiving anything tells the gifter that you don't appreciate the gift or them, in my opinion. 

I make my children write thank-you notes, too, because I have worked so hard to teach them to verbally say "thank you" when they receive something (whether a gift, a sticker from the cashier at Target, an ice cream cone from me, a toy they wanted from their brother), so it's also important to me that they write their thankfulness. My children receive a lot from family members, friends and even Brandon and me, and I want them to understand that it comes at a cost, and they therefore should take a few minutes to acknowledge someone's thoughtfulness. I know they don't like to do it now, but I know the gifter appreciates the sentiment and knowing their gift didn't go unnoticed. And I can only hope that this translates into their adult lives, as well, because an ungrateful child is one thing, but an ungrateful adult is a whole different ball game. I don't ever want my children to think they deserved anything in this life and, if making them write a thank-you note shows them that, then so be it. Thank-you notes are a wonderful way to make our children pause, reflect and express their gratitude. 

So here's how I typically write (and make my children write) a thank-you note: addressing the gifter by name; saying "thank you for the _____"; explaining why they liked it, what they will do with it, etc.; saying, "thank you for your thoughtfulness/remembering me on my birthday" etc.; and closing. A typical thank-you note for a gift I've received goes something like this: 

"Dear Nana,

Thank you so much for all of my amazing Christmas gifts. You far outdid yourself with the Kendra Scott earrings, Nordstrom robe and gift cards. I cannot wait to wear the beautiful earrings and don the robe while I get ready each morning. The gift cards will definitely be put to good use this spring, too, so I can purchase some much-needed spring clothes. Thank you for your thoughtfulness. It means the world to me! I love you! 

Thank you again,
Brittany" 

That's it. It takes five minutes (or less) to write, address the envelope, stick a stamp on it, and pop it in your mailbox. I have found the cutest thank-you cards for just $1 in Target's dollar aisle and you can order stamps from either Amazon {here} or USPS online {here} and have them delivered to your home -- so no having to go to the post office or wait in line there! 

And yes, I've heard the argument that "they just throw the letter away anyway," but my gracious, have you ever received a thank-you note yourself that you yourself keep? Probably not. But doesn't it make you feel so wonderful to receive it and know how thankful someone was to receive your gift? 

So why not just take a few minutes to write your thankfulness out? You never know, you may have just made someone's day showing them how loved and appreciated they -- and their gift(s) -- were. 


Linking up with Jessi and Jenn

15 comments:

  1. Thank you notes are so important. And I think they are a total dying practice. My mom still gets on my sisters and I about sending them to certain people. I'll be honest and say that I don't send them for the boys birthday parties. But we only invite our close friends and we all have an agreement that you don't need to send a thank you note. I will definitely be instilling the importance of writing thank you notes as they grow up.

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  2. The girl has FEELINGS about thank-you notes!! ;) Totally joking I love how passionate you are about it and you make such good points! I want to be better at snail mail in general this year (I have become terrible at sending birthday cards) and this goes along with that! Maybe getting a package of thank you cards and having them pre-stamped will encourage me to be better at getting them to people?

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  3. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who don't write a thank you note or heck even just send any type of thank you. Rather most people now days act as if the gift is owed to them! I will ALWAYS write a thank you note (most of the time the minute I get home) and will raise my daughter to do the same. She's too small right now but I write them for her and eventually she will write her own. It's the least that you can do to say thank you! So glad you wrote about this!

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  4. Amen on the thank you notes! Makes my day when I get them and I send them as well. My in laws think I am crazy, I just no I am a good southern lady who was taught right.

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  5. Oh I totally think that thank you notes should be a MUST! I did forget once for a blog friend who sent me something once Ella was born (truth be told, I kept remembering to write a thank you during times that I was unable to actually get up and write the tahnk you), so I did text and explain. But that was after sending her an initial text saying how much I loved it as well. She was totally understanding (and I even thought about it the other night that I should still send one now, even though it's a few months later).
    I had an ex-friend, weve discussed before, say that I never sent her a thank you note for my bachelorette party (when I never got one for her combined bridal shower/bachelorette). I profusely thanked everyone there and honestly felt weird writing notes for lingerie lol.
    My one set of nieces write thank you notes for gifts now and it's really sweet. The other side doesn't and honestly, it makes me less excited about getting for them.

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  6. YES YES YES and YES! Gratefulness and thankfulness is so important for kids and adults! It absolutely burns me up too when we purchase a gift and never receive a note. Mainly because I just want to know that they actually received it! It took a whole year to get a thank you note from the last wedding I was in and it still drives me nuts when I think about it.

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  7. Absolutely yes to thank you notes!! My mom instilled that in me when I was little, and now I am sure to do it for gifts but also for volunteers at my job. Something that only takes a few minutes can do a world of good!

    Meg, Borrowed Heaven

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  8. Amen! We think just alike. I could have written this same post on my love for thank you notes. Thank you notes are a necessity. I grew up writing them and am teaching my kids to write them too. They're young so I write the message and they color on the envelope or add their handwritten name. There really is something special about taking the time to sit down and write a note to someone.

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  9. I totally agree! I hated writing them as a kid but they're so important! I will definitely make our kids write them too even if they just scribble in them the first few years ;)

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  10. I smiled when I read this - we're so similar! As a newlywed who wrote so many thank you notes in the past year, and grew up writing them (still do!) for birthdays and Christmas, it blows my mind how long it takes some people to write one, especially for weddings (we're in the thick of weddings for my/my husband's friends right now). We got ours done as soon as we got home from our honeymoon because I hated the idea of them looming on a to-do list, and our family and friends deserve to be thanked in a timely manner. My husband who did not grow up writing thank you notes did half of them, and his notes were so funny and heartfelt, which was a fun surprise since he struggled with what to say at first. It's a lost art, and I love getting them in the mail. It's a small effort that really means a lot to any gift giver.

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  11. You are absolutely right! Keep flying the flag for stationary, decorum and thank yous! They are very rare here - I think you Americans are bigger on stationary now than we are. I ALWAYS send them and seal the envelope with a wax seal. You can't beat snail mail - so lovely to receive real correspondence through the post! Best Wishes - Europafox x

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  12. HEAR HEAR. I admit that I don't need an actual note all the time (like I sent friends' kids a small gift from a trip to Europe, a text with a photo of them with the gift was enough!), but I need some sort of notification that you got the gift. I still remember people who didn't send me notes after their wedding (so who knows if that glassware arrived in one piece) (and two of them are best friends of mine!).

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  13. Totally agree!!! I am team "thank you notes" all the way!

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  14. We are big on thank you notes too!! I find for the little ones (mine can't write yet), it's nice to have them draw a picture of the gift on the thank you note (even if I write the thank you). They love doing it (at least for now!)

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  15. I am definitely ALL for thank you notes! Although, I admit I don't do them as often as I should and I'm often sending a text or picture/video with a thank you sometime down the road. Recently we used a gift card to go out to eat. Which is not something we do often! So I took a picture of the kids happy as clams and sent it to my Grandma to tell her we used our gift card and we had a great meal and a great time! She loved it! I think acknowledging someone's gift + efforts is special. It gives them a special and happy feeling as well. I will also admit that I absolutely cringe when I attend a baby or wedding shower or wedding and never receive a thank you. I find it to be so rude! I mean of course I know they are thankful... but a little note would be nice! ;)

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