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?


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

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.