the great thank you note debate

>> Sunday, January 11, 2009


OK.  I know this will be controversial.  But I have to be brave and take a public stand.  Whew! Here goes:


I am anti-thank you notes. I was not raised to send them, though it wasn't because my family was against it, more like they didn't think of it.  Actually "thank you" was sometimes only said with a cue.

Anyhoo, I grew up and started receiving these little thank you cards with a full paragraph inside which went on and on about how thoughtful my gift was.  At first, I thought the person was strange and that it was really overkill.   These notes actually slightly irritated me.   After all, they already thanked me in person for the gift.  

Then, I started noticing women frantically writing thank you notes after their weddings.  I soon realized that this thank you note business was primarily a female thing.  I even got one after I visited a female family member in the hospital.  I hadn't brought anything with me, but was given a thank note for "being so thoughtful".  While I did get a thank note on occasion from a male, it was rare and seemed to be in the language of their mothers, whom I had received many notes from over the years.  

And then I got a thank you note from a Christmas gift!!  Come on, that is almost passive aggressive in how utterly unnecessary it is.

At one point I actually tried to write my own thank you notes after my baby shower.  I ended up repeating myself a lot and sounding anything but sincere.  I soon went from irritated to actually angry about these little notes. 

Now, let me be clear here.  I am not against thanking people for gifts or actions or jobs well done.  In fact, I think people do not give credit enough.   I am actually a huge fan of the "thank you wave" in traffic when someone lets me in their lane.   

I try to make sure I've thanked the gift giver in person in a specific way as soon as I open the gift and then again when I say goodbye to them.  If it was something above and beyond, I follow up with a phone call.  I have called cashier's manager's when I get really great service.  I have even used email as a way to thank people. 

What I want to know is if I'm alone here on anti-thank you note island.  How do you feel about thank you notes/cards?  If you firmly believe in them, why?  Were you just raised that way?  Do you really feel they are just good manners and that other forms of gratitude aren't as good?




6 comments:

Coachdad January 12, 2009 at 12:06 AM  

I have to agree with you... I don't think I have ever sent a thank you card. Does that make us bad???

Maggie Madison January 12, 2009 at 8:40 PM  

Of course not! We still have manners! We say "thank you!" WE SAVE TREES!!!

Sheila@Simple Indulgences January 12, 2009 at 9:08 PM  

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment...oops! You see.. I am one of those who can't help it. I was always made to sit and write thank you notes from an early age, for every gift or kindness I received. I speak only for myself however, if I give someone a gift and receive a verbal thank you, I do not expect a note as well.
Please feel free to send me a gift..I promise not to send a thank you note..lol

Maggie Madison January 12, 2009 at 9:13 PM  

I may just do that! Please see my earlier post regarding a contest I am running. If you win, no thank you note allowed!

McMGrad89 January 12, 2009 at 10:23 PM  

I grew up in a time when girls took home ec and learned the gracious skill of thank you note writing. There was a formula we were to follow at first to get us into the swing of things which I base my thank you notes on today and teach my fourth graders to use. Being able to write a thank you note is a lost art along with general letter writing both of which have gone the way of the dodo bird. :-) Definitely Martha Stewart I am not, but there are certain things that were so deeply ingrained in me that will never go away, so here goes:

Thank you for visiting my blog and connecting with my food preparation plight. It is always nice to know I am not the only person out there with this dilemma.
Sincerely, ....

There! Was that formal enough for you. :-) Hope to see you again at my blog and I promise not to send a thank you note.

Maggie Madison January 13, 2009 at 6:31 PM  

That's so interesting you teach thank you note writing to your fourth graders! I actually agree kids need to be taught how to show gratitude and appreciation. I bet even if they don't become thank you card writers for life, they do learn how to say thank you.