There Is No Limit To Gratitude

by admin on May 21, 2012

This story pertains to my boyfriend’s mother, C. My boyfriend and I have been dating for 2 and a half years, and intend to get married, so this isn’t something I can just ignore.

C and her husband are very wealthy and like to give generous gifts, especially for Christmas. The first Christmas I was with her son, she gave wonderful gifts and I thanked her graciously in person, since we opened them at her house. About a week later, I received a thank-you card from her in the mail, though she also thanked me in person for the present I gave her. After some debate, I reciprocated with a thank-you card for the gifts she had given me. Next year, the same thing happened; we exchanged gifts in person, thanked each other in person, and she sent a thank-you card in the mail, and I reciprocated.

This whole double thank-you dance feels a little silly. When she brought a gift for me at my graduation party, I decided to open it later to avoid the double thank-you, as well as the awkward situation of making others watch me open gifts. I promptly send the thank-you the next day. Was it rude not to open the gift while she was there? Is there anything I can do about this double thank-you dance? My mother taught me that if someone is there when you open the gift, and you thank them for it in person, there is no need to send a thank-you card. Why does C feel the need to also send a thank-you?
0515-12

You are asking advice from someone who believes there can never be too many thank yous or too much gratitude.   People who consider writing thank you notes a chore to be endured are possibly needing a change in perspective to one of more humble gratefulness for gifts given to them.   View writing these notes as an exercise to build your gratitude muscles so that you become an expert on the art of writing lovely notes of thanks.   And it’s such a tiny price to pay for familial harmony with one’s mother-in-law.

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Bint May 21, 2012 at 5:41 am

Agreed with admin. It’s a thank you card, it takes five minutes and it sounds as if it’s appreciated.

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lkb May 21, 2012 at 5:48 am

I agree with the Admin and would like to suggest that the OP not wait for the thank you from C, especially as it was a “generous” gift. Waiting until receiving the thank-you note makes the OP’s note appear as it is — an afterthought while sending it right away appears to be more genuine.

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Sarah Jane May 21, 2012 at 6:29 am

I’ve never heard of a “double-thank-you.” I think it’s pretty silly that you avoided thanking her in person so as not to overdose with a thank-you note later.

Perhaps you will be one of the lucky ones who have lovely women as MILs. Be thankful, and be thankful often.

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MellowedOne May 21, 2012 at 7:01 am

I agree with admin in the respect that since the giving of a written thank you has personal meaning for your future MIL, it is a gesture worth doing for her. As your boyfriend/husband’s mother, she will be a prominent fixture in your life together, and doing something so small you know she will like will certainly make for a good relationship between you two.

I do disagree on the comments regarding the giving of thank you cards in general. I have never understood why a verbal thank you (as an alternative to written form) is considered an insufficient and inferior means of showing one’s appreciation for a gift.

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Harley Granny May 21, 2012 at 7:09 am

If this is the only problem you have with your future MIL please write the card. It’s not the big of a deal.
I was brought up to write Thank you notes after a gift was given…much like FMIL.

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MoniCAN May 21, 2012 at 7:26 am

I commented on another story here probably a year ago about the exact same thing.
My ex boyfriend’s parents would hand me a thank you note the same day as Christmas or a birthday party. No joke, we’d spend the time opening gifts and thank-yous all around in person, then 3 or 4 hours later I’d be handed an envelope expressing the thanks in writing.

In theory, yes, there is never enough thanks! It’s a great exercise for everyone, children especially, to put their thanks in writing as often as possible. It makes the giver feel that much better if they know you’re so happy with a gift you’re still feeling grateful a week later.
But unless the Admin actually deals with this in person with an adult person close to her, I don’t think she understands how awkward it can become. It’s almost a race for the most gratitude.

Forget the whole killing a LOT of trees in the process, it gets strange. Rarely are the double thank-yous anymore than a repeat of what was said in person, and they feel dry and forced once you get your 10th double thanks in a year. I probably have 100 thank you cards from my ex’s parents, and I didn’t even date him 2 years. Often they’d send separate thank you cards for a group gift I gave both parents. Separate thanks for a group gift are usually not a bad thing…unless the cards are handed to you 2 hours after they opened the gift. How usefully can the gift really seem to you? I can see it still sitting in its plastic wrap on the table!

If your heart is not in the thanks (since you already expressed the thanks in person), it becomes fake, flakey and chore as your write out the exact same thing you just said in person. Unless you’re future mother in law lives in la-la land, she’ll pick up on the resentment you have of this chore and it will become a cold war over the years.

With my ex boyfriend’s parents, I stuck with it and wrote them the thank you notes, but I put my foot down with my boyfriend and told him he was NOT to be writing me a thank you note and handing it to me 3 hours after we opened Christmas gifts face to face. I asked him why they did it and he said something like “You’re supposed to put your thanks it writing” as if he heard the rule when he 5 and didn’t realize there were situations when this wasn’t always true.

I kept it up this “game” (that’s what it felt like) with his parents, but probably would have eventually said something about the redundancy had my relationship with that family become more serious. Having an attitude of gratitude is important, but if the way you’re doing it feels awkward and forced, it’s not a good exercise to build that feeling.

Communication is just as important as gratitude when you’re marrying into a family. Speak up when something is bothering you.

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Mary May 21, 2012 at 7:38 am

My Mom brought me up to always send a thank you note, even if you opened it in the presence of the giver and gave a verbal thank you. I am 38, still do it, my children now do the same and my husband has even picked up the habit. I just think it is a nice thing to do.

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Margo May 21, 2012 at 7:47 am

Monican – your experience does sound strange , but to me, that isbeacuse the notes were given so soon asfter the gift, and when you were all still together.

In general, I use the same rule that OP is used to – if you are gien, and open, the gift while you are with the giver, then you thank them, then and there, in person, and a further, written thank-you is not needed.

However, even if not needed, the written thanks is not rude, and it can be appropriate (for instance, if you are given a picture, you can say thank you then and there, and yourwritten thanks following shortly afterwards can tell the give where you have hung the picture, how well it fits with your decor, etc. )

Forthe sake of keeping on good terms with the in-laws it eems to me that a couple of extra thank you cards a year is not a lot to ask (and of coruse, if gifts are given to you and your spopuse jointly, s/he can write the letters , to be signed by you both!) And getting awritten card or letter is nice, many people like to keep cards or letter, they can be saved in a way which isn’t possible with a verbal ‘thank you’, so if you know someone will appreciate it, it’s a nice gesture to send a card or letter, even if you have already thanked them and it is not strictly necessary.

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Aje May 21, 2012 at 7:57 am

Yeah, I was taught if you thank them in person than you don’t have to send a thank you later. But like admin says, no bigger. Send a thank you later. If it really bothers you, write out her address and stamp a few envelopes and keep them ready in your cupboard. XD

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AS May 21, 2012 at 8:09 am

“Thank yous” can become a chore sometimes, even to the one in receiving end. I have friends who thank for no reason – we meet on our way to some place and chat for 5 mins., and they say a thank you; they invite me for coffee, and say thank you way too many times (after I have thanked them well, and they already thanked me for coming), etc.,etc. At one point, it ceases to be heartfelt, and sounds as if they are just doing it so that they do the right thing. Often it is to one up the other person. And it gets very tiring for the recipient. There is no reason to spend 5 to 10 extra minutes to continue thanking the other person, especially if it is only to one up the other.

That said, if this is one of the few quirks that BF’s parents have, just suck it up and write them the thank you. That’ll help you preserve the relationship.

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Stacey Frith-Smith May 21, 2012 at 8:29 am

More sympathy would exist for people who are inclined to abbreviate social forms like the note of thanks if their reasons had to do with making others comfortable, honoring them, showing more kindness and being more considerate and loving human beings. It rarely seems to be the case. Desiring to do less oneself and feeling that others should conform so that a new norm is established is a poor attempt to practice etiquette, whose foundation is consideration of others and a protection of oneself in some circumstances. Everyone has stories to offer showing how a breach of etiquette caused harm (loud guests at weddings, demanding guests in one’s home, inattentive and distracted friends and family at the dinner table). Desiring not to exert oneself a little bit seems like a paltry reason to skip writing a note of thanks. It isn’t meaningful to OP? Okay. It is to her MIL, and may be to many people she will encounter in the future. Who is the primary beneficiary of the practice of etiquette? It might seem to be the other person, who is thanked, honored, served first etc… But the benefits do come back to the person who practices it. A harmonious relationship with the future MIL is one such possible benefit.

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--Lia May 21, 2012 at 8:46 am

An in-person verbal thank-you cannot become a treasured keepsake to be looked at in a down moment. Imagine 30 years from now when, perhaps, your mother-in-law is going through a serious illness. Imagine you’ve spent the day at the hospital awaiting the outcome of her surgery. You’re home; you’re thinking of her. You go through the correspondence you’ve saved. You see her thank-you notes. You smile. Imagine the scenario reversed. Imagine that you’re the one who’s sick. Wouldn’t you want her to have those notes?

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kjr May 21, 2012 at 9:14 am

I don’t consider this a “thank you dance” I consider it good etiquette. If I go to a bridal or baby shower and give a gift, I’ll watch them open it and they’ll thank me and I still expect a thank you note. Never heard of the “if you say thanks in person there is no need for a thank you note”. Glad to hear this is your only issue with your future MIL, could be sooo much worse (as we’ve witnessed here on EHell lol)!

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Library Diva May 21, 2012 at 9:15 am

I, too, grew up with the belief that you just had to thank the giver of a gift somehow, that thank-you notes were for things sent through the mail, delivered by a thrid party, or otherwise not given in person, and that if someone attended a Christmas gathering or a birthday party with a gift for you, it was enough to just thank them at the time.

That being said, if OP’s in-laws have different standards, I don’t see the harm in just going with it. If this is your major problem in your relationship with your in-laws, consider yourself very fortunate. Browse the archives to read about in-laws that acted so horribly during a run-up to a wedidng that no one speaks with each other anymore; in-laws who transform every holiday from a joyous occasion into a battle of wills over where, when and how it’s celebrated; in-laws who never have a kind word to say and have fractured the family with their unpleasantness. It makes an extraneous thank-you note seem like a not-very-big deal.

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Wendy May 21, 2012 at 9:17 am

Being an avid reader of advice columns, I believe that not only is a thank you note advocated by the Admin here, it’s also been advocated by etiquette gurus such as Miss Manners, Emily Post (and family) and even our Dear Abby. You not only say thank you in person, you write a note, that’s how it’s done.

Now, whether or not I remember to put it in practice is a different matter entirely. ;o)

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Angel May 21, 2012 at 9:17 am

I think the OP is being a little petty. Write the thank you note!

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acr May 21, 2012 at 9:32 am

I agree with the majority – it’s a small price to pay. Especially if it is for thoughtful gifts you enjoy.

If you are expected to “double thank” for a pair of used socks, I would be in rebellion too.

“Rarely are the double thank-yous anymore than a repeat of what was said in person, and they feel dry and forced once you get your 10th double thanks in a year.”

If you find this to be the issue, perhaps turn your thank you note into a larger letter. Open with the thank you, then share some news or an anecdote from your day.

Also, some people just really enjoy sending and recieving mail.

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Tara May 21, 2012 at 9:45 am

I agree with the admin.

Of course you’re going to thank the gift giver in person. Then you follow up in the mail with a formal thank you note. If someone is going to take the time to give you a gift, you can take the 2.5 minutes to write a quick note to tell them how much you’re enjoying it. You can also use it as an opportunity to thank them for their hospitality, if appropriate or talk about when you’ll see each other next.

I was brought up that you always follow up any gracious act (gift or otherwise) with a quick note of thanks. It’s not a double thank you, it’s just manners.

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Chris May 21, 2012 at 9:45 am

I agree with the OP’s sentiment- if I receive and open a gift from a person, and subsequently thank them in person, a written thank you note is superfluous. It is my personal opinion, that a verbal thank you, especially in person but also over the phone/webcam/Facetime, is more meaningful than a written one. I don’t malign the idea of thank you cards if it’s not practical to open gifts at the time of receipt or to call everyone who presented a gift to you, but given the opportunity I would rather express, and receive, thanks audibly.

Further, and I admit this may be an unpopular opinion, “double” thanks seem redundant. I tire of the sheer amount of redundancies in daily life for me. I’d rather people not waste time feeling like they must adhere to antiquated notions of “proper” manners in this. If you thank me for a gift at the time I give it to you, I don’t expect or want you to waste your time writing me a note.

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Mina May 21, 2012 at 9:46 am

I had a friend (she is now an ex-friend) who once complained because I only thanked her once after she bought me dinner. We were regularly taking turns picking up the check at equal values. And she actually texted me and said “you only thanked me once” and she felt unappreciated.

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Politrix May 21, 2012 at 10:13 am

I’m squarely on the side of the Admin. on this one. For those who say that writing an additional thank you note seems like a “chore,” please remember that the person who you are thanking went through a similar “chore” of going out, selecting a gift for you, wrapping it and presenting it to you. I really don’t see how it could ever be considered an etiquette “faux pas” to send a person a thank you note, even after you thanked them in person. I do it all the time. (Nor do I worry about how many trees I’m killing, since most cards are reprinted on 100% recycled paper nowadays, and I really don’t think the sending of thank-you cards is creating a huge, devastating global impact on the environment.)
The person giving you a gift spent a considerable amount of time, thought and effort to give you a present. What’s so difficult about taking a few minutes out of your life to reciprocate with a thank-you note?

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Original poster May 21, 2012 at 10:18 am

Hi, OP here. You guys are right, it’s not a big deal at all. In fact, C is the reason I bought a 50-pack of thank you notes. I was just confused as to where this was coming from, as I had never encountered the double thank-you before FMIL. I also think it’s ironic, because her son makes a very big deal about having to write thank-you notes to his relatives. I suppose the apple can fall far from the tree.

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polymathamy May 21, 2012 at 10:26 am

Even Emily Post says that a verbal thank-you trumps a written note!
http://www.emilypost.com/social-life/gift-giving-and-receiving/880-appropriate-thank-you-notes

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The Elf May 21, 2012 at 10:37 am

I think the verbal thank-you ought to be enough, but better two many thank-yous than not enough. If the tradition is a written one, then write one. In my family, it’s either/or. This sounds a little old-fashioned, but sometimes we need a little old-fashioned.

(Yeah, I paraphrased The Avengers. Freakin’ love that movie.)

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jena rogers May 21, 2012 at 10:52 am

A thank you card is certainly warranted even if you have received something “in person,” whether or not the gift was opened and even if you gave a verbal thank you. The only exception is if it is someone with whom you share the same address! As for opening a gift in front of others, ‘depends on what you are doing with other folks’ gifts and/or whether everyone else gave you something, and/or time issues, etc. I believe OP may have misinterpreted her mother’s advice, or was not completely informed.

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MoniCAN May 21, 2012 at 11:04 am

I’m glad to hear OP thinks it’s not too big a deal and is going for keeping up the written thank yous.

I was getting too long in my other post, but I wanted to add that this only bothered me with my ex’s parents because it was so very frequent. And as Margo pointed out, that it was right after the gift was given, so the recipient hadn’t even had a chance to use it. Odd.
Re-reading OP’s submission, since this only happens a couple times a year and the thank you card is mailed, it’s not a big deal. Kind of sweet actually.

As and adult, I always tried to mail my great aunt a thank you card with long personal note, even if I thanked her profusely in person for something. One, she was hard of hearing and preferred to read things and two, as others have pointed out, it’s just a nice to have a lovely written thanks.

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Jewel May 21, 2012 at 11:15 am

After 20 years of marriage, I have to say that having to write my in-laws thank-you notes after enthusiastically expressing my appreciation and thanks face-to-face when opening gifts in their presence is more than a bit tedious. Still, I do it to keep my in-laws from latching on to any perceived transgression, which is their tendency. However, I’m breaking this cycle of misery when my children are grown: if we’re together when opening gifts, a verbal “thank you” will be plenty sufficient.

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allyoops May 21, 2012 at 11:26 am

Try your “second” thank you in a different way!

Instead of writing out verbatim what you already said in person, why not send a picture of yourself through email of you using the gift or wearing it? Or next time you are with the gift giver, wear it and take a phone pic of the two of together!

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Ashley May 21, 2012 at 11:38 am

I was raised to send thank you notes no matter what, even if you already thanked the giver in person, so I actually don’t see anything wrong here. I admit at times that it can seem like overkill, but then I smile and do it anyway because I know it’s the right thing to do.

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Kovitlac May 21, 2012 at 11:43 am

Indeed, it’s a bit much on their end, since you’re already thanking them very generously in person. But I agree with most others here when I say that you’re probably lucky to have such a good relationship with your in-laws, and that taking a couple minutes to write a nice card isn’t such a bad thing.

For the record, in my family we don’t do much in the way of thank you cards, unless it’s for a wedding or graduation, or other large event. For Christmas and Birthdays, however, either we’re there in person to offer thanks, or a phone call takes place. Both, I feel, are much nicer and more personal then a card.

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gramma dishes May 21, 2012 at 11:45 am

I don’t really know what the wealth of the parents has to do with the subject, but that having been said I agree that they sound like really wonderful people who treat the OP well and it would be well worth it to spend a grand total of five minutes to write the Thank You note (and be the first one to do it so it doesn’t seem like a purely obligatory response).

I do recall once when I served a relatively lowly position on a committee for an elementary school event. The chairman of the event thanked each worker individually at the end of the occasion. A few days later I received a beautiful and clearly individually composed just for me thank you note from her. It was something I had never seen before (and never saw again despite working on many school committees).

Fast forward a few years to high school. The chairman had gone through a sad divorce and was now a single Mom. I was working at the admissions/registration/fee schedule day for the school. Her son came through my line and said to someone up line that his Mom had called the school and gotten a special fee for him. The other people in the line did not believe him and were not going to register him.

I remembered that unexpected Thank You note and the impression it had made on me. Payback time. I stepped up with the comment that I knew his mother and if she said she was told that, then she WAS told that. He was registered for the fee his Mom had quoted.

It never hurts to send a Thank You note.

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MellowedOne May 21, 2012 at 11:53 am

The ‘written thank you’ has deteriorated from its original, nobler purpose..to encourage the practice of showing thanks. I say deteriorated because it now encourages the thought, ‘no thank you other than a written one is acceptable’.

@Lia–I have been in a similar situation. My mother died suddenly 3 years ago, in front of me. There were of course many contemplative moments for me, but thank you notes were not part of them. You see, neither myself nor my mother, while generous, wrote thank you notes to each other. Always verbally. My contemplative moments were (and still are) filled with thoughts of her facial expressions, of the laughter, of the kindness and gentleness that defined her personality. That means a millions times more to me than words on a page :)

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Floweramon May 21, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I’m with the minority; if you are there to say thanks face to face, there’s no reason to write out a thank you later. I also agree with an earlier post that multiple thank yous are not only redundant, but after awhile they feel less sincere. It starts feeling like the person is just being polite for the sake of being polite rather than actually being thankful.

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June May 21, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I like keeping up with correspondence, especially since it tends to surprise people.

I made a habit of writing to my elderly relatives on a weekly basis. At my grandpa’s funeral, when I was introduced to one of his caregivers she said, “Oh, you’re the one who wrote the letters!”. It was nice to have that moment.

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Miss Raven May 21, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I think that the in-person rule varies from family to family. In my family, if it’s a party (birthday, graduation, wedding) then thank-you notes are expected, even if you open the gift in the giver’s presence. For holidays or small family birthday dinners or unannounced gifts, an in-person thank you will suffice.

But it sounds like your MIL’s family has different rules. I don’t think this is a case of being right or wrong in terms of etiquette. Just different. That being said, I would keep at it to keep the harmony. I know it probably feels awkward, but my guess is after a bit the awkwardness will fade.

My boyfriend’s mother was a lunatic who spent her every waking moment thinking of ways to make his life miserable or to get me out of the picture. When she died we found out that she had been using his SS# to open credit cards and utility accounts in his name since he turned 18, and then not paying them. She isolated him from his father and the rest of her family, and almost succeeded in driving me away. Count your blessings.

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Lisastitch May 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm

One of the reasons that I always wrote a thank-you note to my parents after Christmas when they were with us (and made my children and DH write notes too) was that Christmas Day was always a bit of a zoo. Even though we had thanked them in person at the time we opened their gifts, did they hear the thanks? did they remember it? did it register with them?
Writing a thank you note let me expand on the thanks that I had said in person–“you already know that the top fit beautifully. I wore it to work and got several compliments on it. And it goes beautifully with a pair of pants that I don’t have much to wear with”.
And while I haven’t kept every thank you note I’ve ever received, I certainly have kept a number of them that make me feel good when I reread them.

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Susan May 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I was taught to write TY notes even if I’d thanked the person face-to-face. I’m now 50 yrs old and still do it; my sons, ages 23 and 21, write TY notes automatically, once again, even if a TY has been done in person. It’s a small price to pay for someone’s generosity (which doesn’t mean tons of $ on a gift, but the thought and effort).
Now, my brothers’ kids – sigh – a TY of ANY kind is rare as hens’ teeth. They were taught better, but they fell down on their job in teaching their kids (as well as my SILs). Even wedding gifts are not acknowledged, and that’s a biggee even for people not accustomed to writing TY notes.

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Leigh-Ann May 21, 2012 at 2:19 pm

–Lia, that is a wonderful sentiment; kind of sad, but nonetheless, an excellent reminder and incentive to continue a written thank you tradition. Thank you for giving me that new perspective!

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Amanda Kate May 21, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I’ll play devil’s advocate- it sounds to me like a passive agressive move- keeping things impersonal between them. After all, thank you in person is personal, but sending a card is impersonal- something you do with someone you live far away from or if the person is not an immediate relative. As much as I love my mother, I have never sent her a thank you card for her gifts because I live with her and are so close to her it isn’t needed. But I could be wrong about this. I think if the cards are making her uncomfortable, she should say something to her mother in law. No point in continuing writing cards if the feeling behind them is not pure gratitude.

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Powers May 21, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Surely, contrary to the headline, there /is/ a limit to gratitude? What if the future mother-in-law not only thanked in person and by letter but also by phone, and by email, and by smoke signals….? Would reciprocity in every possible mode of communication be obligatory? If not, where does one draw the line?

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sweetonsno May 21, 2012 at 6:54 pm

While I think that one thank you is sufficient, especially in a relatively informal situation, taking the time to write a thank-you out shows that you are willing to devote more time and effort (and a small monetary investment) in showing your gratitude.

Sending a card shows that you value a gift-giver’s time and are willing to reciprocate, and it gives them something tangible. Is it strictly necessary? No, probably not. However, a card of any kind is a bit of a gift in itself. Getting mail (other than another bill) is always nice. FMIL is a bit more formal than you, but there’s nothing at all wrong with her sending you a sincere card in addition to giving you a verbal thank-you.

I do think this is a generational thing.

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Cat Whisperer May 21, 2012 at 7:54 pm

I agree with admin, what is the issue with formally giving thanks in a written note, even if you’ve already thanked the giver in person?

Earlier this year, I finished clearing out my dad’s condominium prior to putting it up for sale. I found boxes of old correspondence that he and my mother, who died 20 years earlier, had kept. It’s pretty clear to me that these letters and notes, many of which were thank-you notes, were important and cherished.

I also have to add: reading these letters, notes and cards, some of which go back more than 50 years, was one of the things that made clearing up the condo bearable. OP, verbal thanks are all very well and good, and it’s good that you do an in-person acknowledgement of gifts given to you. But look on the written thank-you notes as an opportunity to build a permanent record of a personal history in this family you intend to marry into. If your future MIL keeps the thank-you notes, and I’ll bet you she does, at some point they become a personal family record.

In reading the notes and correspondence my mother and father had kept, I found myself being reminded of many occasions and events that had slipped my memory, but which I remembered vividly as I read the notes. It also helped me to put some things into a perspective that I didn’t have before. There were notes and letters from my grandparents, from aunts and uncles, and they’re an amazing treasure trove of memories.

If, with every thank-you note you make to your future MIL, you include a short description of things that are going on in your life, things that relate to your family and to your lives, over time you build something priceless.

This is a talk I’ve already had with my 19-year-old daughter, to little avail. She and her buddies seem to do all their communication via texting and Facebook. They don’t write actual letters to each other. Since you can’t miss what you’ve never known, I guess they won’t miss the poignancy and pleasure of holding in their hand a letter from someone they loved, now passed on, that brings alive events that happened fifty years ago. Maybe it isn’t important to them. But it’s something that I cherish and I’m afraid that as a culture we’re losing, because we don’t write actual notes and letters anymore.

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SJ May 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Of course, it doesn’t hurt anything to be extra polite and send the note. However, what if you didn’t? No big deal. She can double-thank all day, and you don’t have to. Either way, it’s not a huge deal.

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Amp2140 May 21, 2012 at 10:54 pm

I generally don’t like thank you notes. I think the strict bean counting about it takes away any original meaning. There will be a message of thanks sent somehow, usually in person or a phone call, something i view as more personal than a note.

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Queen Disa May 22, 2012 at 1:11 am

I’m with the minority. I would find the ‘double thank you’ exceedingly tedious, and would try to find a way to end it. I don’t think that all the people saying ‘count your blessings’ have the right idea. Are we no longer allowed to find something annoying because it isn’t outright toxic? That seems a bit silly to me. A lot of the stories on here and on the forum are about things that are just annoying, you could say ‘you could be worse off’ to a lot of situations on here.

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Cupcake May 22, 2012 at 1:54 am

I don’t think it’s at all necessary to send a thankyou note if you’ve already received the gift in person and thanked the giver at the time. I’m surprised that so many people seem to think it’s normal. But obviously it means something to your MIL so you might as well keep sending the notes. But don’t feel that you have to do this with other people.

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Caitlin May 22, 2012 at 3:02 am

I don’t tend to write thank you notes if I’ve thanked the giver in person. I do agree with admin and most posters here, though – if it’s a gesture that future MIL appreciates, it doesn’t take two minutes to write one out and send it, and could be an invaluable way of furthering and cementing the good relationship.

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Enna May 22, 2012 at 4:31 am

Double thank yous do seem to be unessacary but if you don’t see that person often then I think it would be a bit different: however relations with potential in-laws can be trickey – if she writes you one then you should write one back. I don’t think the OP was rude for not opening the presant there and then, she is just saving it for later.

Maybe the bf’s Mum likes the OP? This might be her way of showing it. She might also get bored of writing thank you letters over the years if she can thank you in person. I like admin’s suggestion that this is just a pratice execrise.

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alex May 22, 2012 at 8:45 am

I have always thanked people in person and then written a follow-up thank you card. I don’t view it as a follow-up though and just view it as the correct thing to do to thank someone. I know a lot of people feel differently but I have always been taught that a handwritten note is appropriate after you receive a gift whether you thanked them in person or not.

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Ann May 22, 2012 at 10:38 am

My goodness. Next her future MIL will offer to babysit the new grandbabies or something. Please, OP, do write in to complain.

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