Friday, February 6, 2009

Thank you and you're welcome.

My dear wonderful sweet pregnant friend came into my office the other day, a little perturbed. She told me that her mother-in-law asked whether she had bought her thank-you notes for the baby gifts yet. This confused my friend, because she's from Mexico, and in her culture, they thank the giver when they receive the gift and that's good enough (Ironically, she's the one I made the baby thank you cards for, which I'm giving her at her shower next month). Evidently, her MIL told her that she absolutely needed to get thank you cards and send them for all her gifts, because this was the American expectation and that people are offended by it if we don't receive one.

The reason she was upset about that when she came in my office was that I had bought her a copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting" when I found out she was pregnant, and she wanted to tell me that she was terribly sorry for not sending a thank you card, and that she was, in fact, very grateful for it and uses it all the time. She was just hoping she hadn't offended me.


First of all, I will say that she sent me an e-mail, telling me that she appreciated it, so that should count as a written thank-you anyway. But even without the e-mail, she had thanked me very sincerely in person when I gave it to her, and I didn't expect anything else. I didn't wonder why she didn't write an actual thank you card. And I would argue that most other people don't either.

I will say, I enjoy writing thank-you cards, which is why I write them. I like to make them, and I like to send real mail or deliver them. However, my brother does not write them (nor do most of the men I know), but he says thank you. I think that's just fine. 

So, my bloggy friends, it's time for you to weigh in. I know what Emily Post has to say about the issue, but in real life, do you expect thank-you cards? Are you offended if you don't get them? Do you notice if you don't get one? When must we send thank you cards? When don't we have to? 

Leave a comment!


didlake said...

I'm surprised by them, mostly. If I do get one, I feel so excited - but I think letters in general surprise and excite me.

Amanda said...

Well, I got some snazzy thank you cards in the mail, so I'll probably write some soon. ;) Not getting thank you notes doesn't bother me in the least. It's nice to know that the gift was received, but I don't need a card telling me so. They're so awkward to write, especially wedding ones. once you're done saying thank you for thinking of us and for the ______ if you don't know them well, it just kind of dies off from there. Then you notice all the wasted blank space that mocks you for being a poor thank you note writer. I may be paranoid though...maybe

Jamie McLaughlin said...

I will teach my children how to write them so they know how and when it is expected but I would never notice if I didn't recieve a thank you card from someone. It is a dying art. Emails or phone calls are more eco friendly anyway ;p

Alicia said...

If I am told Thank You when I give something I take that as my "thank you" no need for a card. But some people do still send them and I am grateful when I get them!

The Thompson's said...

I do not notive when i dont get one. Although I would say that sub consiously I might. If someone thanked me in person though I would think nothing of it. A personal expression of grattitude is much more important to me than a written one. Just my two cents.

Love and Prayers,


3 Bay B Chicks said...

Thank you cards have become the bane of my existence...especially since I had kids. Seriously.

I've got bunches to say on this topic. Are you ready?

* Thank you notes are not required for holidays when we all exchange gifts, such as Christmas.
* They are required for big life-events, such as wedding and baby showers, as well as weddings. (Did you send yours for your wedding? I have a friend who didn't write a single one...scandalous!)
* I would prefer not to send or receive notes for gifts of cash and gift cards. What do you really say in the note?
* I notice when I do not receive any type of acknowledgement for something special I have done. I don't necessarily need a note. Phone calls and e-mails are great substitutes.

Did I overwhelm you? :)


Emily said...

A big pet peve of mine is when I don't get a thank you note for something I mailed. The only way I really know the gift got there is a thank you note! I would even be happy with a thank you email or even a thank you phone call!! I have sent gifts long distance to my niece and nephews all the time, several times a year, for about 6 years now, and I have NEVER ONCE received a thank you note. Again, I just want to know that the gift got there and that the kids are enjoying it.

And you MUST send thank you notes for weddings and babies. That's just expected. I unfortunately feel that people in "our" generation are not as good at this, though. I had one friend send thank you notes over a year after her wedding and another who never sent them at all. That's just wrong!

I try to write thank you notes so that people feel appreciated. I would hate to spoil a friendship because I didn't seem appreciative for something (even a nice dinner or a little gift).

Nelle said...

I agree with the two previous commenters. For BIG occassions such as weddings or mailed gifts, they are absolutely necessary. I get peeved when I do not attend a wedding, send a nice check as a gift and never get thanked. How can I be sure they even received the gift? My mother's minister's daughter never wrote ONE note for her shower gifts or wedding gifts and it was something talked about for months. Her mother kept apologizing to others because she was embarassed. I just think it's good manners however when a small gift is given and a verbal thank you is given, that should be sufficient.

Tiffany Taylor said...

I must admit, I was one of those who never finished all of her thank you notes from her wedding. For months, it was the bane of my existence. The guilt piled up. Being the perfectionist I am, I kept trying to write the "perfect" thank you card. I didn't want any of them to sound the same (as if all the receivers would get together and say, "Mine said the exact same thing!"). So I worked on them for a LOOOOOOONG time and kept tearing them up. I mailed out about half of them. I'm sure the half that I didn't formally thank still hold it against me. :(

I tried to redeem myself when I had a baby. I really did. I think I sent out a thank you note to everyone who gave me gifts. I even sent out thank you notes after Caleb's 2nd birthday, although I don't think it was necessary. I sure hope not, since I haven't done it since!

Greg said...

I notice when I get them, but I don't look for them. I don't consider a thank-you card "required" ever. It's a nice bonus to know someone got the gift if you've sent them something, but that's about it. In person: gift given, thanks received, done.