Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Do You Write Thank-You's?

When I was little, like really little, my grandmother would get on my case about writing thank you notes.  I was five or six, so it's not like I could offer any notes of literary genius, but I was still forced to write them for every gift I received.  Particularly from that grandmother.  She told me that people who write thank you notes receive more presents.  She also told me that she used to send presents to one little girl, but stopped when she never received any thanks for her thoughtfulness.

No more presents?  Pass the notecards, please!  At the time I was purely motivated by the thought of presents.  What child isn't?  But through the rudimentary exercise of writing notes to my grandmother (and others), I began to learn the power of the thank you note.

A good thank you note goes a long way.  My sister-in-law writes a fantastic thank you.  I hear her grandmother (stricter than mine) would actually return notes that weren't up to her standards - with corrections marked in red pen.  My SIL would have to write the note over as many times as her grandmother mailed it back with corrections.  While my SIL and I don't always see eye to eye, I know I can always expect a lovely note from her.  Her notes warm my heart.

And then there are bad thank you's.  Like this one:

Ok, I know that weddings require the bride and groom to write a lot of thank you notes.  Hundreds of them.  But those hundreds of guests traveled to your wedding, spending hundreds of dollars on hotel rooms and wedding gifts to celebrate Y-O-U.  The least you can do is offer three minutes of your time to write a quick note.  I was able to write 268 thank you notes in the three weeks following my return from our honeymoon.

I was horrified when I opened this "thank you note" from Nate's first cousin.  His wedding was in mid-July.  We received this unsigned, machine-printed note in October.  The bride and groom couldn't take the time to even sign their names, much less specifically thank us for the expensive gift we gave them? 

Let's see if I send them any baby gifts when the time comes.  My grandmother was right: I'll stop sending gifts if I don't get a good thank you.  Do you send thank yous?  You should.