I actually had a few moments of free time, and I was perusing the interwebs when I came upon this article. If you skip past the first weird question, the next one was something I feel very strongly about. That subject: thank you notes.
(climbs on soapbox)
What happened to the thank you note? Seriously. We got a very nice thank you note a few weeks ago from a friend of mine who was recently married. Tim and I were both so pleased to get a heartfelt, personal note that we thought about sending a thank-you-for-the-thank-you note.
Should a good thank you note be such a rarity? I remember being 8, and my parents forced me to sit down for a period of time every night until all the thank you notes for my first communion gifts were written. I carry that duty through to today--I made sure everyone who got us a gift for our wedding shower, wedding, baby shower, Sophie's first birthday, and Sophie's baptism got a thank you note. I'm not saying they were works of art, but they were heartfelt and personal. And I made Tim write a few too--he had about 1/10 of the number I did, but I thought it was important that he was involved.
I can't tell you how many times we've gone to events, brought a gift, and never seen a thank you note. We're still waiting for a note from 2002--Tim was the best man in the wedding, and we never heard a thing. That isn't the only time a member of his college group didn't send a thank you note. There are several family members close to me that are also repeat offenders. I just think it is a slap in the face. It takes less than five minutes to write a thank you note. These people shopped for a gift/card, came to your event, spent time with you, and you can't even acknowledge them?
There are also those who write notes, but write one sentence and think it's good. To get a note that says, "Dear Bridgette and Tim, thanks for the money, love (x)" from an eight year old is one thing--I'm just happy they sent a note! To get the same note from a recent graduate, or a married adult, is something else entirely. It doesn't need to be a novel, but could you at least attempt to write something heartfelt?
Here is my personal rule: if there was an invitation for an event, then there should be a thank you note. Examples:
-showers of any sort
-bachelorette parties (I'm ok if this is just in the wedding note, but it should probably be separate)
-large family birthdays/anniversaries (anything with a party--first birthday, 50th anniversary, etc)
A few additions: births (no invitation, but definitely should send a note for a baby gift), deaths (morbid, but any gifts should be acknowledged), etc. And if the event should have had an invitation, but traveled by word of mouth, that counts too--send a note.
Basically, the only time I don't write thank you notes is for birthday gifts and Christmas gifts. I really should write notes for them, and this year I am going to try harder to do so. But these times it is usually immediate family only giving gifts, and they usually understand if you don't send a note. However, we've gotten gifts (especially for Sophie) from extended family and friends, and I actually feel really bad that I didn't get thank you notes out this year. That one is on me. Hey, everyone has room for improvement!
I mean, my sweet 84-year-old grandmother sends a thank you note for absolutely everything. I'm trying to move towards that. I was a little creeped out for a while--both my grandfather and my grandmother passed away within days of receiving my thank you note for my birthday gift, and that made me want to stop sending notes for a while. I'm just going to tell myself it was a coincidence.
I just think a nice thank you note makes such a difference. I've actually had a few comments from some of my aunts that they always appreciate that we send a note. I know I am more generous with gifts when someone consistently sends a note back. And I get a bit resentful when I know someone never sends thank you notes for anything. It makes me want to stop giving.
I know people are busy. TRUST ME, I KNOW!! But if you were blessed enough to get a large group of people who care about you to buy you (or someone you love) a wonderful pile of gifts, take the time to write the notes! Word gets around. I can promise you I am not the only person who feels this way. I hear the grumblings about how so-and-so never sent a note.
(climbs off soapbox)
That is my pet peeve for the evening. I just read that article and thought about how many times we had not been thanked. I really try hard to just move on from it. I've never NOT given someone a gift because I never got a thank you note, but I have thought about adopting a "three strikes and you're out" policy. We have enough friends and family that have had wedding showers/weddings/baby showers that a few people are already on the list. Ultimately though, it's about celebrating people you care about. It's also about being polite. Although I think thank you's should be mandatory, it would also be rude for me to go to an event and not bring a gift. So for now, I'll settle for this little public service announcement. And trust me--if you send me a thank you note, I'll remember that for next time and you'll reap the rewards :)