The Act of Giving Thanks

When I was a child, my mother made me write Thank You Notes like there was no Tomorrow to anyone who gave me a gift. After every Christmas, Birthday or Random event, I would sit down with my list and write a note to each person saying thank you for each thing that they gave me. I had to write down each thing, because if you wrote a note to my grandmother saying, “thanks for all the gifts” or, “thanks for the doll” when in fact she gave you a doll AND a necklace, you would get a phone call from Grandma saying, “DIDN’T YOU GET THE NECKLACE I SENT?!”

So I got into the habit of writing Thank You notes. I realize many people never were forced required to do this as a child, so they are not in the habit of doing it as an adult. However, I am of the mindset that a thank you, whether it is verbal, emailed or written in the sky with smoke signals, is warranted, no matter what. If someone gives you a gift, if they take the time to think of you, I think it is only fair to do the same by simply thanking them.

However, this does not always happen. I have sent people gifts and never heard from them. No phone call, no email, no smoke signals. They don’t even mention anything the next time I see them. It’s like it didn’t even happen. Where are their manners? Maybe their mother didn’t teach them to write thank you notes, but weren’t they taught to say thank you if someone gives you something? Don’t you learn this when you are a child? Even at the dentist, after he roots around painfully in your mouth, you say thank you when he gives you the lollypop afterwards. Don’t you?

I would like to blame technology and the internet, but in all actuality, shouldn’t this make it EASIER, not harder, to send a simple note, in the form of a text message, a phone call, or an email (or a tweet or a FB post or…)? Now we have more ways, not less, to say thank you. So why isn’t it happening?

I am appreciative to people who say thanks. So, thank you to all of you who are good at saying thank you! And if you are one of those people that sometimes get too busy to say thank you, maybe you should get off Facebook or Twitter for 27 seconds and send your friend/grandmother/sister a text!

It only takes a minute to say thank you. Not only can it really make someone's day, but I also think it is just plain good manners.

Do you write thank you notes? Do you think that when giving a gift the pleasure of just giving it should be enough? Or would you like to be thanked?


  1. I do tend to write thank you notes or at least thank you emails for gifts. I also try to write a thank you card whenever someone writes a letter of recommendation for me or gives me a job interview. I was also expected to write thank you notes as a child, though.

    When I was planning my wedding and talking with others who had recently gone through the process, it became clear that most people didn't even have a basic sense of etiquette. But then I am sometimes troubled when I worry about these things too much because thank you notes and rsvps are probably taught to people who don't have to worry about whether or not their mom will have a job next week or if they will have to stay at grandma's house next month because the gas got disconnected.

  2. I am so glad you addressed this. It drives me nuts when people cannot take the time to say thank you.

    I do think that this is one thing I am pretty consistent with. And the way I thank depends on what I have been given. Sometimes a hand written note, or a phone call or an email message.

    It is the decent thing to do and people really appreciate it. If someone has done something nice for me, why not return the favor and let them know I appreciate it?

    Your Mother was a wise woman!

    Little rant - most annoying is when you send someone something or have something delivered to them and they don't thank you... how are you supposed to know they even got it? I tend to cross these people of my 'giving' list after a couple of times this happens!

    Thanks for this post!

  3. I grew up writing thank you notes, and I still love sending them off in the mail. Although I appreciate how easy it is to say thank you in an email or a text, I miss getting the cards themselves!

  4. I too was 'forced' to write thank you notes. It was just expected of us. My mom always brought out the stack of thank you cards after every holiday or birthday. When I graduated from HS, I got my thank yous out within a week! Which is pretty impressive!

    I still send thank you notes. I don't send a thank you note to every person - sometimes I verbally thank them, but more often than not, I send a thank you. It makes me sad that this is becoming a lost ritual. I, too, have sent gifts for weddings, births, etc, and never heard a thing!! It's so rude!

  5. I've always been a thank-you note writer. Always. Since the baby was born and I went back to work I've gotten way behind. Like three months behind. And it weighs on me every day. I think I'll end up sticking thank-yous into Christmas cards!

  6. Hey! Just found your blog! Through (just) tryin is for little girls... I saw that you enjoy sending and receiving cards and was wondering if you'd like to join my Christmas Card Swap... it's my 2nd annual... the more the merrier :)


  7. I write thank you notes and have a rule for my kids to write thank you notes as well. I love the hand written kind, but will take an email. I just want some acknowledgement.

  8. I'm good at writing notes, not so much at mailing them. I'm currently in the process of making my boys write thank you notes for their birthday presents. It's painful (for all of us LOL).

  9. I remember sitting down on Christmas night and writing my thank yous. Ugh. I verbally thank everyone for gifts unless it is for a wedding, shower or baby. Then I write a thank you. I typically thank people from far away immediately using facebook (especially when it is a baby thing becuase those thank yous sometimes got backed up. was a little busy!)

  10. Mom never forced me to write Thank Yous, but I kind of grew into doing it. (She hated being forced to as a kid.)

    For reasons unfathomable and fantastic, my kids both adore them. I don't think it's just because I have a kit of special paper, markers, stickers, and other goodies that only comes out for thank you cards, but that may play a role.

  11. I really do appreciate the Thank You Note.
    So I give them, too.
    I should be better about it (insert excuses about 2 kids, a bad memory, endless To Do lists...), but I at MINIMUM will send some sort of text/email/message/call to thank the person.

    I like to know that the person I sent the gifts to got them. Like one year, I left a big bundle of gifts at my brother's house for Xmas. I never heard from him. Apparently, he didn't remember they were there, so never 'got' them. My mom figured this out. IF HE JUST WOULD EVER SAY THANK YOU EVER I would have known he got them.

    Sigh. Back to therapy...

  12. Yes, yes, yes. Thank you notes are soo important. I definitely write them after the holidays, although things kind of fall apart during the rest of the year. Right now I have a huge list of thank yous that need to get written. I'll get there, eventually. Better late than never?

  13. My mom tried to always make me write thank you notes, but it didn't always happen. I *want* to do them now, but I usually forget.


Thanks for commenting! Any suggestions, tips or praise you have is always welcome!