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Cheapest Thank You Note

After sitting with this situation for a few months, I thought you and the E-Hellions might be able to use this story as an example of how to make a Thank You note feel as cheap as possible…

I was recently invited to the baby shower of a relative, Amy. Seeing as I was unable to attend, I declined the invitation and asked the hostess (mommy-to-be, Amy’s mother, Anna Marie) where I could mail a gift. Anna Marie never responded with an address so I pulled Amy’s address from my book. I purchased some gifts from the registry, added in a few personal selections, wrapped them in cute themed gift wrap, and planned to mail them to the expectant parents. I decided to wait until the day before the event to send them so I wouldn’t ruin the surprise of the shower.

On the evening of the shower, I received a call from another relative who was able to attend the event. She was appalled that when she presented her gift, Amy’s sister-in-law checked her name off on a clipboard and handed her a pre-printed postcard that stated: “Thank you for the shower gift, we know that we will use it. We appreciate your thoughtfulness and the time you took to choose it!” The card was signed with the names of the expecting parents, but appears to be signed in Anna Marie’s handwriting! My upset confidant said that Amy refused to open the shower gifts in front of the group at the shower, counter to family tradition. I wondered aloud if maybe a more personalized thank you note would follow the private gift-opening.

Four months go by and the baby has arrived, healthy and adorable. I receive a post card with a lovely picture of the newborn on one side… and the pre-printed poem on the other: “Thank you for the shower gift, we know that we will use it. We appreciate your thoughtfulness and the time you took to choose it!” Again the note is signed with the parents’ names, but appears to be in Anna Maria’s handwriting and was mailed using Anna Maria’s return address. I hear from my relative who originally mentioned the cards that she received the same thing- a duplicate of the impersonal Thank You postcard. At least the poem writer knew we would choose useful, thoughtful gifts!

I have included an edited screenshot of the poem. The now blurred area contained the names of Poem Baby’s parents. 0812-14

{ 174 comments… add one }
  • Angeldrac August 14, 2014, 4:58 am

    I want to throw a spanner into the works of this discussion: are we expecting too much of new mother’s these days? With the increasing rates of post-natal depression, decreasing breastfeeding rates, prevelan e of so aim and family isolation of new mothers as they move from full-time work to stay-at-home-mum, and the in increase in geographic separation from extended families can we possibly cut women a little bit of slack and excuse them from dozens of handwritten-fancy-stationery-individualized-and-perfect thank you notes? Did the MTB simply say “thank you for your gift” to people at the shower? If so, why is that not enough?
    I’ll agree not opening them there is a bit weird and not personally acknowledging the OP’s gift at all is a little off kilter, but can we not just say “hey, the woman has just undergone the most life changing experience ever, could we possibly just be ok with the thank you note we got?”.

    • B August 14, 2014, 3:51 pm

      She wasn’t a new mother at her shower. Which means that all your excuses for her ingratitude and gracelessness aren’t relevant.

      And if new mothers simply cannot possibly write TY notes, maybe they shouldn’t let their mothers throw them showers.

    • AnaMaria August 14, 2014, 4:30 pm

      This is a good point. I don’t like the way these thank-yous were handled (handing the givers the note without opening the gifts, etc.) but motherhood is a huge adjustment. It sounds from the OP like this particular shower was planned as a surprise, and perhaps the host didn’t want to leave the mommy-to-be with the unexpected task of handwritten thank-you notes. That being said, I think it would have been far more gracious for the parent(s) to sign the pre-printed notes and send them out after the shower. I don’t mind pre-written thank yous, but receiving one knowing the recipient hadn’t even opened their gift yet feels so superficial.

    • Kimstu August 14, 2014, 6:05 pm

      No. There is not and will never be any etiquette-approved social ritual wherein it is customary for certain people to receive gifts from those near and dear to them without going to the trouble of personally and individually thanking the givers.

      I’ve got all the sympathy in the world for new mothers (and fathers too) undergoing the stresses and strains of modern parenting. BUT…there is no way in Ehell that skipping personal expressions of gratitude to individuals in your social circle who give you gifts is ever going to be okay, etiquette-wise.

      If writing dozens of thank-you notes is too much for expectant or new parents to handle, then they (and/or the relatives (!) and friends who throw parties on their behalf) should quit having lavish showers with fancy shower gift registries (!) and dozens of guests.

      “Shower Inflation Madness: Stop It Now.”

    • Dee August 14, 2014, 6:11 pm

      In this case, the MTB could not have thanked anyone for their gift at the shower because she didn’t open them at the time. I would, however, be perfectly happy to be thanked for a gift personally, at the time it was given/opened, rather than receive a mailed note later. I was taught that notes are sent in lieu of thanking in person. As long distance costs are virtually nil compared to the “olden days”, it would seem to me that calling someone to thank them is also the equivalent of a sent note. The point is to give a personal “thank you” to the individual in a prompt manner, in whatever manner seems appropriate. (Facebook shout-outs and the like being completely unacceptable.)

      I do not agree that today’s moms are more harried than ever before. Whatever excuse they are using to justify laziness is the same excuse that could have been used by countless generations of women before them, but for those women they were still expected to send the notes, most likely without hubby’s help. In between hand washing the diapers, also without hubby’s help. And making sure he has his five-course dinner ready when he comes home after a hard day’s work. And so on.

      • Kendra August 15, 2014, 10:08 am

        I was raised the same way; a thank you in person, then by phone, then by note if no other option. Text or email would only be acceptable as a “Hey got your gift, love it! Tried to call, missed you. Please call when you get a chance.” type message. It doesn’t count as a thank you until you actually have a conversation with the gifter.

    • JO August 14, 2014, 6:15 pm

      Personally, I don’t think we are asking too much. I had a very difficult pregnancy, premature birth, baby in NICU, and very intense breast pumping schedule. And I still managed to write and send out about 35 notes within 3 weeks. It didn’t seem much of an inconvenience – in fact, it was rather pleasant. I was able to put my feet up, have some nice tea, and talk with my husband (I wrote the notes, he addressed them for me) while reminiscing about what a fun time we’d had…I think a big part of the reason thank you notes have somewhat fallen by the wayside is that people see it as a chore, and don’t want to be bothered. But they don’t need to be. Granted not everybody has this experience, but this is my take on it.

    • Agania August 14, 2014, 6:52 pm

      No I don’t think so. When I was carrying my twins I (mortifyingly) was thrown two baby showers and was given an avalanche of gifts. Seriously, people were insanely generous. Hubby and I didn’t have to buy anything except a chest of drawers. I spent several evenings with my swollen ankles propped up hand making thank you cards before the shower. After the shower, every single person who gave a gift was sent a hand written, personalised, timely thank you note. Let me tell you there were a heck of a lot of notes. I’m not complaining, instead I was counting my blessings for having such generous friends and relatives. If you are willing to receive gifts, you should be willing to spend two minutes being grateful.

      • Renee August 15, 2014, 11:55 am

        Here here

    • Skaramouche August 14, 2014, 7:28 pm

      Good effort to liven up the discussion :). I agree that expectations for a baby shower gift acknowledgement should not be as high as those for a bridal shower, etc. but that does not excuse the recipient’s bad manners. I don’t think the OP was expecting a long, handwritten message on scented stationery but the one she got was almost insulting. I see the following fallacy in your argument:

      Baby showers are typically held before the birth of the baby so the life-changing event is still pending. The mother-to-be is no doubt very busy preparing for the arrival of the little one but if she is okay with accepting gifts, she should make the time for some kind of personal acknowledgement, be it by phone, by email or by card. It’s part of the social contract! A friend of mine had a baby shower not too long ago. I couldn’t attend but I mailed a gift. A few days after the shower, I received a short but nice email from her thanking me for the gift. That was enough. This mother-to-be didn’t even want to do that, apparently.

      It would not have been enough for this particular mother-to-be to thank people at her shower because she didn’t open the gifts! How heartfelt is “thank you very much for whatever it is that you got me”?

      Lastly, the whole thanking business was done in an assembly line fashion in this case. Got gift? Check. Gave card? Check. The situation could have been remedied in a couple of ways that do not involve hours of writing personal messages on the part of the mother-to-be:

      1) Writing heartfelt emails instead of sending cards after having said thank-yous in person. I know emails are frowned upon – I, myself am not a big fan of them for this purpose – but in the case of a busy mother-to-be, I would forgive it.

      2) Mailing pre-printed cards after the gift had been opened with a single handwritten line from the parents…that would have added a touch of the personal.

      Basically, it is important to show that one really does appreciate the effort people put into buying a gift and attending otherwise it just looks like a sorry gift grab rather than a celebration.

    • Allie August 14, 2014, 8:23 pm

      Of course there may be individuals to whom I would give a pass, depending on the circumstances (such as a single mom I know with her own business who was unable to take any time off although she does work from home), but really, this story is too tacky. How hard is it to scribble a few lines on a thank you card, stamp it and drop it in the mail? I did it. Everyone I know did it, despite the life-altering event that is new parenthood. It was a pleasure, actually. There was one person whose address I didn’t have. I asked her for it on Facebook, but she just sent her e-mail address. So, I thanked her profusely in person. Everyone else got a thank you card. I stocked up on them just before my baby arrived. I had intended on sending birth announcements with a small photo. That, however, never did materialize.

      • PatGreen August 15, 2014, 1:56 am

        I agree that there are extreme circumstances where no one can reasonably expect a thank you card. What comes to mind for me is a friend of my mothers who choose to have children later in life. She began writing the thank-you cards after the shower, but was only half-done when she went into labor. She died and was resuscitated twice then spent 6 months in intensive care and is in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Needless to say there were no thank-you notes sent out the first year.

        While we show understanding towards those in difficult circumstances, we also recognize what difficult circumstances are.

    • Hollyhock August 14, 2014, 8:53 pm

      Don’t forget that many people going to the trouble to ponder, select, shop for and deliver or ship these presents also are dealing with their own career, household and extended family issues. If they can spare the time to do so, the recipient of the gift can spare five minutes — one to address the envelope, three to write a message, one to seal and stamp the envelope — to thank the giver in the traditional way. (Time it, you’ll be amazed at how little expenditure of seconds it takes to complete a proper thank-you note. All “you” general of course.)

      If the recipient feels he/she/they cannot spare the time, they should not allow themselves to be guest of honor at a gift-giving occasion. If they have five minutes to open and evaluate the gift, chances are they have five minutes to acknowledge a gift given on the occasion of “the most life-changing experience ever” in the most formal way possible.

      People in previous eras had other types of time constraints — washing cloth diapers for example, and don’t forget even in the post WWII halcyon days of the nuclear family, about 25-30 percent of women did work outside the home — and still managed. The notion that they can’t nowadays is not persuasive.

    • Kamatari August 14, 2014, 8:58 pm

      I sort of agree with you. It does take a lot of time for a new mother to write out all those notes when it’s far easier to send a mass-print message. However, just because it’s easier doesn’t mean it’s right. People took the time and money out of their lives to select items this woman might need. It’s not too much to ask that she put even a fraction of as much thought into her thank you note.

    • Steve August 14, 2014, 10:41 pm

      And 3..2..1. Cue the rationalization for rude behavior by criticizing the victim.

      Hey, maybe she has autism.

      • RC August 15, 2014, 4:41 am


      • Skaramouche August 15, 2014, 10:13 am

        Hahahaha, Steve. You made my day.

    • Athena August 14, 2014, 10:52 pm

      By your logic, you could argue we’re expecting too much of new brides…new teenagers…new high school graduates… and it escalates. At the end of the day, someone chose to spend their money on you/bride/mother/whatever. They deserve a personalised note of thanks. Even if it was printed, there are ways to personalise it. I sent chocolates to a bunch of friends, and the message said the same thing, but they were handwritten, and I changed them up a little. It’s not that hard, and it doesn’t take that long.

      • Anonymous August 15, 2014, 7:50 pm

        I was just going to say the same thing, Athena. Every life-changing event comes with its challenges, and that’s why people have friends and family to support them through it, but the flip side of that is, showing gratitude to those supporters is the right thing to do.

    • Mya August 15, 2014, 3:17 am

      I do agree to an extent, but as other posters have said, if people are willing to spend time and money on gifts, it shouldn’t be a hardship to send a proper thank you. It doesn’t even have to be huge or time consuming. You can buy or have made, or print all sorts of cute little postcards, folding cards, notelets etc and a simple ‘Dear OP, Thank you so much for your generous gift, {Husband} and I really appreciate it. Kind Regards, {Mother-to-be & Husband}. It doesn’t have to be an essay to be meaningful.

      As an aside, perhaps as a culture, the ‘Shower’ concept should be abandoned? As a Brit, invitations to Baby/Wedding/Important Birthday/New Home/Engagement/Graduation/whatever showers are rare to non-existent and I, for one, am glad that this custom hasn’t completely crossed the pond. Of course there are still some who do them but generally it’s not a well known custom.

  • RC August 14, 2014, 5:05 am

    I apologise for the loud gagging sounds. That was me choking on my cup of tea. In shock and horror at this (and I hate to call it this) thank you note.

  • Mary August 14, 2014, 6:29 am

    Reminds me a little of the preprinted Christmas cards we received from my husband ‘s cousin five months after their wedding. It was a wedding picture and underneath was printed “Merry Christmas, thank you for spending our special day with us”. Nothing was handwritten not even the address on the envelope.

  • Spuck August 14, 2014, 6:29 am

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with a printed thank you note as long as it is individualized. These weren’t but this is also the last problem in this situation.

    • EchoGirl August 15, 2014, 12:56 am

      Agreed. What’s the big “thing” with handwriting these days? Count me among those who says that a form letter is one thing, but if it’s personalized and clearly for me I don’t care how you wrote it. People in the olden days handwrote because there wasn’t another option, not for some etiquette reason. I have trouble holding a pen to write for long periods of time but because my disability is invisible and my handwriting is legible, people act like I’m lazy for not “putting in the extra effort.” They have no idea how much “extra effort” is involved here because they can’t imagine something that’s easy enough for them being so difficult for someone who “looks” normal.

  • Dominic August 14, 2014, 6:36 am

    Perhaps OP and the others who received this “thank-you” could respond in kind:

    That’s quite a lovely thank-you note,
    As clever as can be.
    But here’s a little tip for you:
    Don’t expect any more gifts from me!

    (sorry for the poor meter–I’m no poet)
    The fact that the cutesy poem even refers to the time the givers may have spent selecting a gift is a double insult, considering how little time and effort went into the thank-you note.

    • Raymee August 14, 2014, 9:01 pm

      Yes it is an impersonal thank-you note, but IMO responding like this is even ruder. If that’s how you feel, then the gifts will stop flowing. Sending a retaliation poem like that to a new mother doesn’t sit well with me.

      • Dominic August 15, 2014, 6:56 am

        And … it was a joke! Perhaps a bad one; I already apologized for my lack of skills as a poet. I wouldn’t really send such a response (or any response at all). At least I didn’t suggest the passive-aggressive “send her an etiquette handbook with a nice note ….”

        • Jaxsue August 17, 2014, 6:49 pm

          I got the joke, Dominic. Made me smile. 🙂

    • Anonymous August 15, 2014, 10:20 am

      Poetry’s a tricky art
      Of meter, verse and rhyme,
      But here’s a tip that’s really smart–
      It has a place and time.

      To thank your friends for shower gifts,
      Mass messages won’t do,
      Unless you don’t mind friendship rifts,
      Please heed this rhyming clue:

      Write proper notes to everyone,
      Show gratitude that’s real,
      It may not seem a lot of fun,
      But think how they must feel:

      Gifting isn’t always easy,
      It takes budgeting and time,
      So do right, and don’t be sleazy,
      And avoid generic rhymes.

      • Mags August 15, 2014, 11:22 pm


      • NostalgicGal August 16, 2014, 2:14 am

        [LIKE] May I use this rhyme if needed? No is an answer, but I would dearly love to use it.

        • Anonymous August 16, 2014, 12:54 pm

          Of course you can use my poem, NostalgicGal…….and anyone else who wants to use it as well, as long as you say you got it from E-Hell. Also, Raymee, I don’t think it’s necessarily “retaliatory rudeness” to tell someone they hurt your feelings. Writing a poem is just a slightly more lighthearted and humourous way to do it. But, if nobody ever gave anyone any feedback on their behaviour, then the rude and clueless people of the world would just ride roughshod over everyone else. So, I think it’s rude to tell someone off for, say, using the wrong fork at dinner, because that doesn’t affect anyone else, but it’s not rude to tell someone that they should have written proper thank-you notes instead of just handing out generic, pre-printed poems.

  • Anonymous August 14, 2014, 6:52 am

    That pre-printed poem wouldn’t work in every scenario–what if someone had made a gift instead of “choosing,” a.k.a. buying, one? It could happen–last fall, I attended the baby shower of a longtime friend of mine, only I didn’t have a lot of money to buy a gift, so I made the baby-to-be a wall hanging instead. My friend said that she wanted to do the nursery in primary colours, so I made the wall hanging to co-ordinate with that, and I put an inspiring message on it that would “grow up” with the child. I didn’t get any kind of thank you note (I don’t think anyone did, because the shower was pretty close to what ended up being the delivery date, to the point that people thought my friend was going to pop any minute while we were at the party), but if I had gotten one like that, I would have thought, “Hey, that’s not right…….”

  • Stacey Frith-Smith August 14, 2014, 6:53 am

    We all know what thank you notes should look like- but I can’t help wondering if we haven’t moved to the place where they are an anachronism. Not many people send things by post anymore. Although, if you consider the fact that gifts and packages are mailed, and that shipping services deliver everything from luxuries to groceries, that does cast matters a bit differently. If you are going to bother with a traditional note of thanks, however, a printed and generic card isn’t going to pass muster. Most people would be happier with a sincere phone call than an insincere, impersonal card of thanks. OP, I sympathize. You went to a fair amount of time and trouble, and some expense in order to send a lovely series of thoughtful gifts. Well- at least now you know you needn’t repeat the process for this person.

  • vikki August 14, 2014, 7:25 am

    I received a pre-printed, non-personalized TY note for a wedding present, not even signed by anyone involved. Obviously mailed by the printing place. How lazy can you get?

    Oh, and it came ONE YEAR after the wedding. I’m afraid this may be the wave of the future.

  • Sim August 14, 2014, 7:26 am

    Maybe it’s just because I’m feeling a bit snarky tonight, but I would make a point of sending them the exact same card with the exact same message for Christmas for the next 10 years and see if they catch on…

  • Cat August 14, 2014, 7:33 am

    I would be sorely tempted to get together with several other friends and relatives and give the happy couple the same gift-each person gives the same thing. That way she could write, “Thank you for the crib sheets. We know we will use them. We appreciate your thoughtfulness and the time you took to choose it.”
    It would have been more honest to write, “I don’t want to be bothered with personalized thank-you notes, but I have to do something to shut my mother up-so here it is.”
    It’s a shame that we cannot make other people behave decently when they have been given something as a gift, but, if there is an answer, I don’t have one.

  • DaDancingPsych August 14, 2014, 8:01 am

    This must be a “thing” now. I attended my cousin’s baby shower and was asked to put my name and address on an envelope. (I will admit that this is something that is done in my family, even though I find it lazy.) In the scheme of things, this one is small, so I typically put my address down.

    About a month later, I received my envelope back with what I would call a birth announcement. It had a few cute photos of my cousin’s new baby with the kid’s weight and measurements. No cutesy poem, but a generic “Thank you for your support” or something along those lines. No mention of the actual gift that I gave, or the fact that I attended the shower, and certainly no attempt to even sign or add a personal message.

    I later found out that in the chaos of the massive shower, that my cousin basically hosted for herself, the list of gifts was lost. Honestly, this sort of thing happens. Personally, I would have resolved the issue by trying to see if I can identify the gift givers. Or I would have worded the thank you so that it sounded appreciative, but not necessarily identifying the gift. Or I may have even confessed in the thank you that the list was lost, but that I still appreciated everything. The lost list was really not a good excuse for the thankless thank you note!

  • Melissa August 14, 2014, 8:02 am

    Talk about over parenting, will grandmother also be doing the parenting of her new grandchild? I have now heard it all

    • kit August 15, 2014, 6:49 am

      I suppose you haven’t met any grandparents(-to-be) who think they are more important than the new parents(-to-be)? And a big part of my generation was raised by grandparents who were already retired (they got to retired relatively young), vs young parents who needed to work full time with no time given off for childbirth. Absolutely NOT a new thing.

    • Melissa August 15, 2014, 8:33 am

      Hey Kit I have met that type of grandparent, and quite frankly besides disgust that I feel, it is frightening, I am beginning to think about those types as needing intense psychotherapy and avoid them at all costs.

  • Cecilia August 14, 2014, 8:12 am

    People think they are so clever, don’t they? They will gladly take your presents and/or money, but cannot be bothered to take a few minutes to write a sincere Thank You note. Of course, I think at least some of the blame falls on the stores that provide the pre-printed TY cards.

    I received a wedding invitation a few years back that had “No boxed gifts, please” at the bottom. I seriously considered boxing and wrapping cash to send but did not. Instead, I declined, sent a congratulations cards with a very modest check and mailed it. Never received a TY note.

    • Lizajane August 14, 2014, 8:52 pm

      Just wrap the dishtowels without a box. Easy.

  • Jaye August 14, 2014, 9:00 am

    I suppose it’s good to know that irony is alive and well…
    This is definitely a case of following the letter of the law (or etiquette book), but not the spirit.

  • Lenore August 14, 2014, 9:06 am

    Please do correct me if I’m wrong, Dame, but surely the cut & paste thing is only really permissable for save the dates and invitations, no? Thank you notes, even if it’s a brief “Thank you for the *gift name here*, it was very thoughtful! Love, Recipient”, need to be handwritten/personalised, yes?

    Otherwise, I could have saved myself about 3 hours when writing my wedding thank you notes!

  • INeedANap August 14, 2014, 9:33 am

    It’s a sad state of affairs when the first thing I thought was, “at least you got a thank you note!”

    They didn’t even bother to hide the impersonal nature of the note, did they? And if Amy still has her mother doing this basic hostessing stuff for her, I shudder to think with what manners they will be raising their new child.

    • Cleo August 14, 2014, 6:50 pm

      That was my first thought too. I now have friends that I will not buy presents for due to repeated lack of thank you note or even acknowledgment of a gift.

      Is it really that hard to write “dear (name), thank you for (gift) ” on a bit of paper and send it off?

    • Anonymous August 14, 2014, 10:07 pm

      Well, there’s hope yet. Maybe the child will make friends in school/sports/Brownies/whatever, with a child from a more etiquette-conscious family, and learn the “right” way to do things from that, either just in the course of normal life (for example, Kiddo attends Friend’s birthday party and gives a gift, Friend sends a proper thank-you note), or maybe Friend’s parents will actually give Kiddo some advice directly, if Kiddo either asks for it, or acts out and has to be corrected. My point is, this meme of “Adult is rude, adult gives birth to child, therefore, child will automatically grow up to be rude as well” isn’t necessarily true. With any luck, the child could turn out like Matilda, or Harry Potter.

  • ketchup August 14, 2014, 9:36 am

    And this is how you learn about the character of your friends/family. It’s up to you to use this information, or not.

  • Wild Irish Rose August 14, 2014, 9:46 am

    I honestly do not understand why people have such a hard time with thank-you notes. I hand-wrote and mailed scores of them when I got married, and then again when I had each child. I do it when people invite me to important events or open their homes to me for dinner or when they surprise me with a very personalized gift. They don’t take that long to write, and they really don’t cost much. I submit that this is just another form of laziness and tepid gratitude. Amy would never receive another gift from me.

    • Tex Carol August 14, 2014, 5:42 pm

      You’re so right WIR. Why is writing a brief note and mailing it considered such a chore? I, too, like to send notes to people who have done something special for me. It only takes a minute. Even a phone call or email sometimes. And I really love getting something besides junk mail in my mailbox!
      If the wedding and/or shower notes are too big a chore to be done, perhaps that’s a sign the recipient was a real gimme pig and threw too big a party???

    • Angeldrac August 18, 2014, 5:38 am

      Because, WIR, not everyone is you and has your life.
      I have very young children, the first of whom rises at 6am and the last is finally settled at 11pm. I cannot write so much as a shopping list without interruption. Finding time to do thank you notes involves a couple of weeks preparation before I can even sit to do them. THAT is why it is hard, love.

      • admin August 18, 2014, 7:46 am

        Then how do you find time to submit comments to this site? I can see I’ve approved 113 of them from you which tells me you have time to write thank you notes but you choose to prioritize your time to write comments instead.

        • Angeldrac August 19, 2014, 8:44 am

          I am currently typing on my phone whist breastfeeding my baby at 11.30pm. Sometimes I might do the same whilst settling my toddler. I can’t get out the fancy stationary and hand write cards all that easily in the dark, with one hand.

          • admin August 19, 2014, 11:52 am

            Sorry….still don’t buy it. I have a photo of me with a month old infant in my lap nursing while I write a thank you note a month after a c-section. Sofa arm rests are your friends.

          • Angeldrac August 19, 2014, 1:07 pm

            Once again, admin, not everyone is you and has your life. Breastfeeding/baby handling/toddler wrangling is not the same for everyone, love.

          • Schnickelfritz August 30, 2014, 2:53 pm

            30 thank you notes? Write 3 a day. It is very easy to write them, when your thanks and appreciation come from your heart, to those who care about you enough to shop for you, and participate in your honor. Three per day. You can do it in 15 minutes (I have written thank you notes and invites in this way), and within two weeks, your cards are mailed and received. If you find this so difficult, you are obviously lost for words of appreciation and gratitude, and your priorities are your computer and your phone. If you have more than 30, you probably invited too many people, you don’t feel close enough too to come up with a sweet thank you. Or, write 5 per day. You have the addresses. You provided them to the hostess for the invitations. Your argument is petty and selfish. I don’t care if you have 6 kids. The Admin. is correct.

  • Lisa August 14, 2014, 9:56 am

    This really annoys me, but there seems to be trend where guests are required to print their names and address on an envelope that will be used to hold the thank you card that will eventually be mailed out. Really? Is it that much of a hardship for the honoree to actually sit down and address an envelope? Maybe I’m just old. With the advent of the computer, perhaps they could just print out labels instead…..
    OP, at least you got thanked, be grateful for that I guess.

    • Linda August 14, 2014, 4:04 pm

      This trend really bugs me! I attended a baby shower where there were maybe 12 guests, who were all very close friends/family of the mom to be. I found it off-putting when the grandma to be asked all the guests to write their addresses on the thank you card envelopes, because “We wouldn’t want Mom-to-be to get writer’s cramp filling out all those envelopes.” Really?! I’d rather just get a warm verbal thank-you than be made to feel like it was a hardship to write the note.

    • Whodunit August 14, 2014, 5:09 pm

      All they are really doing us collecting your address

    • Lizajane August 14, 2014, 6:20 pm

      This really doesn’t bother me. I’ve been to showers where we dropped the envelopes into a basket and one was drawn for a prize. But I’ve always received a written note in it later.

    • Hollyhock August 14, 2014, 9:18 pm

      When I am asked to print my own envelope, I decline. I just tuck it out of sight and fail to turn it in to the organizer. And basically write off the gift recipient as someone I won’t be bothering to shop for and spend money on ever again. No matter how many future ceremonial events, babies, mitvahs, birthdays, etc. are generated by their family.

      If they don’t want to observe the traditional reciprocal rituals of society, so be it. Or, as Miss Manners would say, I’ll spare them the future onus of writing thanks for gifts received.

      • Gwyndollyn August 15, 2014, 12:50 pm

        I’m not sure that just providing your mailing address is so terrible. I don’t think I could tell you the mailing addresses for most of my friends so if they started giving me presents for one of these events I would not have a way to send them a written thank you note.

        Of course, if I had collected their addresses to send them written invitations the story might be different. In the end I think it depends on if it’s being done to be lazy or to gather information.

        • ShakingMyHead August 30, 2014, 5:37 pm

          If someone went to the trouble to buy me a gift and either deliver it personally or have it sent, I think I can be bothered to do some legwork to find their address to send them a personal thank you note that actually mentions the gift they spent their time and money to give me.

  • Elizabeth August 14, 2014, 10:05 am

    My thinking is that a “Thank You” note needs to be personalized. To me this means hand-written by the sender, addressed to a named individual, and specific about what you are thankful for.

    This fails on all points.

    • Lenore August 15, 2014, 6:19 am

      I’m willing to give a pass on a handwritten note if you have hand writing like my fathers. Literally looks like a drunk beetle swam through ink and then staggered across the page. He could never write notes to the school for me, as they thought it was forged!
      At least personalise it and sign it. I’m very happy to accept that kind of thank you note.

  • Raven August 14, 2014, 10:21 am

    Wow, that is appalling. I would rather get no thank-you note at all, than receive one that had zero meaning. I wonder if it was signed in MTB’s mother’s writing because the mother knew her daughter wouldn’t send them. Ghastly.

    I don’t get people’s aversions to thank-you notes. It’s not like they’re averse to getting gifts. Yes it can take time to write them; it also takes time/thought/effort/money to give someone a gift.

    The year we got married, we were blessed to have so many friends and family members care about us. There were engagement thank-yous, shower thank-yous, wedding thank-yous, and vendor thank-yous, and while it was a lot to do, it never ever crossed our minds not to do them. We were so grateful and overwhelmed by everyone’s love and support that we couldn’t thank them enough!

    I was in a wedding once where the bride did not send thank-yous for shower gifts or wedding gifts. I never gave her a gift again. (We aren’t friends anymore anyway -unrelated- but it spoke volumes about her values, to be honest. Entitled brat.)

  • Puzzled August 14, 2014, 10:28 am

    Well, I guess you have to give them points for at least trying. The problem is that they didn’t try very hard. I would be terribly insulted. If you’re old enough to give birth, you’re old enough to write your own thank you notes.

  • BH August 14, 2014, 10:43 am

    Hey at least she sent a card! 🙂 I will always help my brothers and their family when I can. Because a thank you card is read and tossed right away, I always try to tell my sister-in-laws, just send me a picture text with the kid with the gift, I enjoy it more and because we all have unlimited text it’s free, and no paper is wasted.
    Before I started saying this though, my one sister-in-law whom always asks for my help NEVER sends cards to ANYONE. I just chalk it up to, that’s just the way she is. I was offended at first, but life’s too short for that.

  • Angel August 14, 2014, 10:45 am

    As someone who hates pre-printed thank you notes, this one especially gets my back up. I know that new mommies don’t have a lot of extra time. But that’s why when I had my baby shower I wrote the notes as soon as possible because I knew once the baby came, I wouldn’t have a lot of time. Most showers are given at least a month or two before the baby comes, so that’s more than enough time to write notes. People are just lazy! I personally have never seen a thank you note combined with a birth announcement–that is a new level of lazy imo. On the one hand, they seem to realize that thank you notes are required, but on the other hand, this completely defeats the purpose of a thank you note–it is supposed to require a little thought and effort, instead, this one appears to have taken no effort at all!

    • Devin August 14, 2014, 4:45 pm

      This is an honest question, but are birth announcements required? I once received a thank you note with the birth announcement The note was a 2 line handwritten one and the announcement looked to be expensive professionally printed pictures. I thought it was nice to receive the pictures with the note. But I also thought that birth announcements were just little niceties and not required by etiquette.

      • Angel August 15, 2014, 9:59 am

        Devin, I don’t believe birth announcements are required. A lot of (especially new) parents send them out, but it’s not really a requirement. I sent them out for both my girls. It’s just about showing off a cute photo and the baby stats. Sometimes friends and family are curious, and they don’t have everyday contact with the parents. So in this case a birth announcement is a great way to keep them in the loop.

    • Steve August 14, 2014, 10:37 pm

      New mommies had a lot less time when they had to launder diapers, make their own baby food, sew clothing and still cook from scratch every day–yet those mommies had no trouble writing thank-you notes.

      • Christine August 15, 2014, 8:49 am

        I’m really just playing devil’s advocate here because I agree that it’s ridiculous to “not have the time” to write a proper thank you note, but what about all the moms out there that work 40-50 hours a week? I dare say that working moms nowadays have way less time than their 1950’s stay-at-home counterparts.

        (This is coming from a woman that works 45 hours a week, does her own laundry, cooking (organic homemade baby food too), and cleaning…and still managed to write 60+ thank you notes for the 3 baby showers she was thrown a year ago. My husband got to sign his name.

      • Angel August 15, 2014, 10:03 am

        Steve that is the truth! The few thank you notes I still needed to write after the babies were born, I would do it after I laid the baby down to sleep and couldn’t get to sleep myself. I found that once I recovered from my C-sections and felt better I had pockets of time throughout the day to get done one task at a time. I would bet that quite a few new mommies are in the same boat.

  • JD August 14, 2014, 10:52 am

    “We appreciate your thoughtfulness and the time you took to choose it!”

    But not enough to write a real thank you note.


  • Cora August 14, 2014, 10:55 am

    Poetry is an art which takes skill
    Not a method to justify greed.
    If you think a cute poem absolves you of this
    Then a gift? you clearly don’t need.

  • lakey August 14, 2014, 11:09 am

    I wouldn’t be bothered by the cheapness, but by the lack of effort. Also, bad poetry only makes rudeness worse, but that’s just me. I hate cutesy rhymes from anyone but children. Dr. Seuss can get away with it, you can’t.

    I don’t know about the etiquette of whether or not to open the gifts at the shower, or later in private. I think that has to do with what is traditional in your family. In my family, opening the gifts is part of the fun of the shower. In this case, since the thank yous never acknowledged what the gift was, the giver has no idea how the receiver felt about it.

    • Wild Irish Rose August 14, 2014, 3:25 pm

      I’m with you re cutesy rhymes. The ones I hate the most are the ones printed in sympathy cards. That’s just too schmoozy and insincere for me.

  • Debbie August 14, 2014, 11:22 am

    All I can say is, at least your gift was acknowledged. Considering how many people get NO thank you note, that’s something. Yes, it may be a bit tacky that the mom/dad themselves didn’t write it but I guess you need to decide – how does that make you feel? I, personally, would rather received something, than nothing.

  • L.J. August 14, 2014, 12:14 pm

    Maybe she’ll do better with the thank you notes for her next shower. Or the shower for the third baby. All hosted by her mother, of course.

  • Kimstu August 14, 2014, 12:20 pm

    I agree with the OP 100% about the appalling tackiness of all this, except for a quibble over the choice of the term “cheap”.

    The (massive, inexcusable) problem with these “thank-you notes” isn’t that they didn’t cost enough or look expensive enough. An exquisite thank-you could be handwritten with a ballpoint pen on inexpensive notepaper and hand-delivered to the recipient for a grand total cost of about ten cents in materials (or call it sixty cents if it has to be mailed). As for the postcards the OP’s relative sent, I don’t care if they had been engraved on solid gold and mailed in diamond-studded frames, they would still be irredeemably tacky and rude.

    What made these responses so thoughtless and graceless wasn’t their cheapness but their laziness. Never mind the fact that the shower guest of honor and her husband apparently couldn’t be bothered even to sign their own names on messages purporting to come from them: the mere fact that whoever sent the messages thought that a preprinted mass-mailing message was an adequate form of thanks for individual gifts automatically puts them on the express bus to Ehell.

    And WHAT is with these oafs from Planet Booron once again falling for the bizarre idea that an inconsiderate and mannerless gesture somehow becomes okay if it’s couched in rhyming verse? I swear, there’s a sociology PhD thesis in there somewhere. What a weird sidelight on the social functions of poetry.

  • Asharah August 14, 2014, 12:22 pm

    What next? Mass e-mail or text?

  • mrsvandy August 14, 2014, 12:22 pm

    Thank you notes are a sore point with me now. So man times I haven’t received one or if I did it was something impersonal. Everyone’s excuse for not giving thank you notes are, that they don’t have time, they don’t know how and even I don’t wanna pay for stamps.
    For the time excuse no one gets a pass from me. When I was married I was working part time and was in school, I had no time for a honey moon, but I made time for my thank you notes. I recently had a baby my thank you notes were out with in two days. If you make writing thank you notes a priority they will get out in a timely manor. The I don’t know how one also doesn’t fly, all you have to do is google it and you will find many pages on how to write hank you notes. As for the cost of stamps, that is the poorest one. People spent money on you, carefully choosing a gift for you, the least you can do is fork over 60 cents for a stamp.
    The thank you notes that the OP is referring to did hit all of my hot buttons. But it takes it up a notch because the bride couldn’t be bothered to sign her own name! Worse yet her mother clearly think that this is okay since she signed their names!

  • Green123 August 14, 2014, 12:37 pm

    Well, at least it rhymes.

  • Lizajane August 14, 2014, 12:37 pm

    THUNK. ( the sound each of these notes made)

  • Dee August 14, 2014, 12:42 pm

    A baby shower hosted by the grandma-to-be. No response to the request for an address to mail a gift. A registry for the baby shower. With all these ominous clues I wonder if I would have participated in such an event to any extent. Both the mother-to-be and the grandma-to-be seem to have been rather obvious about this being a gift grab, with all these clues. I hope the OP contacts the mother to clarify if they really did receive the present, as it isn’t indicated anywhere in the mass-generated “thank you” note. The mother and grandma both need a wake-up call, but probably will never receive one.

  • Cathy August 14, 2014, 12:49 pm

    Hey, at least you got a note! The last two shower gifts I mailed got no acknowledgement at all; I don’t even know if they arrived. Although I do think it’s pretty tacky to hand out the notes at the shower.

  • Jen August 14, 2014, 2:41 pm

    Wow! That takes the cake. If not for the fact that the OP states it was a family member, I probably would have returned everything that I purchased.

    That’s just about as bad as when I had to, recently, fill out my name and address on the envelope of the Thank You card that I would (hopefully) be receiving from my new sister-in-law while at her bridal shower. I was willing to give the hostess(es) the benefit of the doubt, until I realized that at least one or two of the attendants were married women and should have known better. But it got better. The Thank You message I got from my SIL was very similar to the impersonal one given to the OP. No mention of the gift that I got her, just thank for showing up and giving me a gift, basically.

    The thing I couldn’t figure out is: If the hostess(es) had my address in order to send me the shower invitation in the first place, why did I have to fill out the Thank You card envelope?

    And if SIL wasn’t going to bother to write out a proper Thank You, why even bother with Thank You notes?

    • Angel August 15, 2014, 10:11 am

      At my baby shower and bridal shower, we had attendees fill out their addresses on envelopes–but we used them to draw for prizes. We gave away lottery tickets, little gifts from bath and body works, we drew for the centerpieces, by the end quite a few of the guests had gotten a prize. I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have done this unless it was for prizes. I couldn’t imagine asking guests to fill in their addresses if not for prize drawing. And all my thank you notes were handwritten on the inside of the note–made reference to the gift, etc. I hope we didn’t offend anyone by asking them to do their addresses on the envelope. Some of the guests appreciated it because we had spelled the name of their street incorrectly on the invitation–so that was their chance to correct it.

      • WMK August 22, 2014, 2:43 pm

        I could give this a pass, Angel, since it was a part of the games played at your shower. And, like you said, the guest corrected their address for you.

  • Jill August 14, 2014, 3:10 pm

    Pre-printed thank-you notes at the shower and not opening the gifts at the shower – tacky. However, the pre-printed thank-you postcards with the baby’s picture are understandable because the parents are likely too sleep-deprived and busy to write thank-you notes. The grandmother’s handwriting – if it is really hers – is tacky… but you have to be 100% that is the case sure if you’re going to criticize for that.

    • Wild Irish Rose August 14, 2014, 3:20 pm

      Not buying it. People don’t expect a thank-you card from newlyweds or new parents immediately, so the recipients can find time when they aren’t too busy or sleep-deprived to write thank-you notes. They aren’t hard to do, they don’t take that long, and it’s the right thing to do. How does Mom-to-be know that someone who takes the time and energy to shop for a shower gift doesn’t have issues of her own that make her tired or busy or sick or whatever? The bottom line is this: If people have gone out of their way to attend a shower and provide a gift–*especially* if it’s obvious that time and thought went into it–then the honoree is obligated to send personalized thank-you notes that actually mention the particular gift. “Thank you for coming to my shower and bringing a gift” isn’t enough.

      • B August 14, 2014, 3:49 pm

        Especially since her family organised the shower! It’s not as if all these gifts fell on her when she wasn’t prepared!

      • Jewel August 14, 2014, 5:01 pm

        I absolutely agree with Wild Irish Rose. Can’t say it better!

      • Agania August 14, 2014, 7:04 pm

        Thank you Wild Irish Rose. Generally speaking the baby shower happens before the baby comes. Before giving birth I had nothing to do in the evenings but sit on the lounge in front of the TV with my ankles up. You can get a lot of notes written in that time. That’s why timely notes are important. Do them when you have the time for baby arrives.

      • Jill August 16, 2014, 2:41 pm

        And how do you know that the new mom isn’t down in the depths of post-partum depression? Or is still healing from a traumatic delivery? Or has a child who has significant health issues? Should she wait until things get better before hand-writing a note? I haven’t read all the comments but I bet there are people complaining about “late” thank-you notes in this thread, too.

        If someone can attend a shower, they are obviously not too “tired or busy or sick or whatever”. And if attending a shower and giving a gift is viewed as such a heroic and sacrificial effort, then, perhaps that person does not have a generous heart towards the mom-to-be (or whoever the shower is for) and would hypocrite for expecting something that in her own mind expresses gratitude in return.

        • Jaxsue August 17, 2014, 6:56 pm

          Jill, I had bad PPD after both my boys were born. I still managed to send TY notes to each person who took the time to prepare a meal or give a gift. Yes, it can be difficult, but there’s nothing wrong with someone helping with the notes (why can’t the father do some?). That’s a big step up from nothing at all. Now, if something truly horrible’s going on, I’m sure people would give them a pass.

          • Jill September 22, 2014, 10:52 pm

            What one person w/ PPD can accomplish can be insurmountable to the next PPD sufferer. So, writing thank-you notes may be overwhelming for one while just getting out of bed could be a challenge for the next.

            As for someone helping with the notes, I have no doubt there would be E-hellions in this thread who would cry foul because it does not meet their criteria of what a thank-you note should be. Some people are just self-righteous like that.

            We can’t assume anything – the mother may be having really serious problems – so, wouldn’t it be “good etiquette” to just extend grace instead of criticism?

      • Jill August 16, 2014, 2:42 pm

        This comment should have gone here:

        And how do you know that the new mom isn’t down in the depths of post-partum depression? Or is still healing from a traumatic delivery? Or has a child who has significant health issues? Should she wait until things get better before hand-writing a note? I haven’t read all the comments but I bet there are people complaining about “late” thank-you notes in this thread, too.

        If someone can attend a shower, they are obviously not too “tired or busy or sick or whatever”. And if attending a shower and giving a gift is viewed as such a heroic and sacrificial effort, then, perhaps that person does not have a generous heart towards the mom-to-be (or whoever the shower is for) and would hypocrite for expecting something that in her own mind expresses gratitude in return.

      • Angel August 24, 2014, 1:34 pm

        I totally agree with this. I made up a method I called 5-at-a-time. As long as I get 5 done today, I don’t have to do any more until tomorrow. This worked very well especially after I had my kids. I kept a supply of stamps on hand and I would mail them as I got them done. I had horrendous PPD with my second child. Part of it was situational since I also was adjusting to being a mom of 2. The 5-at-a-time method not only helped me get my thank you notes done in a timely way but also was one of the things that kept me sane during that difficult time!! I had to put aside the negative thoughts to focus on the thank you notes. Sometimes I would include a picture of the baby in there too. You can’t do baby stuff all the time. Unless your child is severely disabled and needs constant care–and in this case you have more important stuff to worry about than thank you notes. But if you deliver a healthy baby and you are following the average newborn schedule–there is always a few minutes a day to spare. The baby has to sleep some time, for Pete’s sake.

    • Steve August 14, 2014, 10:39 pm

      Do Millennial mothers think they are the first ones to give birth ever?

    • mrsvandy August 14, 2014, 11:31 pm

      I just had a baby two and a half months ago. My mom hosted a meet the baby shower when my little one was 5 weeks old. I hand made and personally wrote 30 thank you notes and had them in the mail with in two days. I’m not super mom and I don’t have much free time, in fact at the time my little one had colic. I just made it a priority to get the thank you notes out asap. Trust me I was very sleep deprived. Honestly I would have rather not spend what little free time I had hand making and writing thank you cards. But I did because everyone took their time to purchase/make gifts for my baby and they deserved a heart felt thank you.

      • hakayama August 15, 2014, 6:30 am

        Wow! Let’s add the “MEET THE BABY SHOWER” to all the others! Remember how the “going away to college shower” got received a short while ago?
        It seems that YOUR Mom is a prime candidate for membership in that less than admirable “gimme” club of E-Hellers. But then, maybe if it’s for someone else, it’s bad. If it’s for “moi”, then it’s OK. 😉 ;-/
        Best wishes.

        • kit August 15, 2014, 7:11 am

          Um, YOU probably have never heard of it, but some places in the world have different customs from where you happen to live. For example where I am, a baby shower as described in topic, a party to give presents before baby is even born, would get a huge eye-rolling – I mean EVERY normal person knows that presents are brought only when visiting the new baby, right? Or maybe parents in my country just don’t expect other people to outfit their babies? My sister will have a baby soon and she has everything important already, we relatives can only bring some little nothings when we visit the new baby. Sometimes it happens that the new grandparents insist on buying a pram or car seat, but usually, parents outfit their babies themselves and when you go to meet the baby, you take some little toy. The old, old custom here was that the wives of the village who came to see the new baby, would bring as meet-the-baby gift dinner for all the family for a week or two, so the new mother could at least not worry about that – now that’s what I call a proper gift! I can talk some more about our customs related to babies if you want. 😉

          Even if it isn’t common to have after-birth parties where mrsvandy lives, why would a meet-the-baby-shower be tackier than meet-my-belly-shower? “Meet the baby” shower makes much more sense for me – at least you get to see the baby! (Personally, even after reading EHell and other USA-centered pages for so long, still find the idea that presents are to be given before, awfully weird – do you have birthday showers and Christmas showers, too, where you’d give presents before the party actually happens? and if not then why not?)

          • HelenB August 15, 2014, 8:58 am

            As I understand it, the custom of having a baby shower before the baby comes was a rite of passage. The mother-to-be’s (female) family and friends would have the party to give her some small things, give advice, and welcome her into her new role of mother.

            That said, if I ever did have children, I’d rather not have a shower at all, but have a Meet the Baby party. Never did like having the focus of a party on me.

          • Kimstu August 15, 2014, 1:49 pm

            A “Meet the Baby party” (NOT shower) was basically the function of the traditional christening party. (Or in Jewish families, the bris/naming celebration).

            Of course, people do sometimes bring baby gifts to a christening party, but the party is not designed to focus on a guest of honor clawing through acres of wrapping paper, as baby showers and bridal showers traditionally are.

        • mrsvandy August 15, 2014, 1:03 pm

          This is my first and only baby. This was also the only shower my family and my DH’s family had for me and my baby.
          In my family we never have showers before the babies born. We do this for a few reasons, one is in case the baby isn’t okay. It is considered bad luck to have it before the baby is born. The second is my family is very large, and they all want to meet the baby while the baby is still little. Since we are a large fairly spaced out family a meet the baby shower lets everyone see the baby. It puts less strain on the new mother to try and allow for tons of visitors and travelling when the baby is so little. The third reason why we wait is because often new mothers have all the big stuff, but find after a few weeks of being a mom that there is little things that would help. By waiting people can then ask what you need and get a much better answer. If you do have more then one baby, you still get a meet the baby party but the second one won’t have gifts.

          As for my mom hosting. The mother of the new mom host in my family, I know that’s against the grain but that’s the way they have always done it. Its kind of like passing the torch and lets new grandma show off her grand baby. Also my mom has the biggest house, her home is where all family celebrations are hosted no matter who is actually hosting.

          Hope that answers your concerns. I didn’t do a gift grab nor did my mom. She simply hosted a shower at a later date so the baby was actually there 🙂

          • B August 15, 2014, 3:30 pm

            Aren’t family-hosted showers fine by etiquette if only family are attending?

            I think this is nice (ok, although I don’t like the idea of it being a shower ie bring gifts). I would NEVER give a gift for an unborn baby. In my culture that’s just not OK and tragically I do know parents who have not been able to use baby gifts given earlier on.

  • lizza August 14, 2014, 3:43 pm

    I went to a wedding in May of one year. In December, after not hearing from the couple since the wedding, I received one of those Christmas newsletters from them. A small piece of card stock fell out – smaller than an index card but a bit bigger than a business card – and it said, “Thank you for the lovely gift and attending our wedding.” That was it. It was typed, and didn’t even have their names on it. I never gave them anything else.

  • Jill August 14, 2014, 4:29 pm

    And how do you know that the new mom isn’t down in the depths of post-partum depression? Or is still healing from a traumatic delivery? Or has a child who has significant health issues? Should she wait until things get better before hand-writing a note? I haven’t read all the comments but I bet there are people complaining about “late” thank-you notes in this thread, too.

    If someone can attend a shower, they are obviously not too “tired or busy or sick or whatever”. And if attending a shower and giving a gift is viewed as such a heroic and sacrificial effort, then, perhaps that person does not have a generous heart towards the mom-to-be (or whoever the shower is for) and would hypocrite for expecting something that in her own mind expresses gratitude in return.

    • B August 15, 2014, 4:25 am

      She was not a mother when that shower was thrown. Can we stop with the ‘boo hoo hoo, new mommies can’t do anything’ act? She was NOT a mommy, and if any of these issues had come up/she went into labour the next day, the OP would surely have the brain to realize this explained everything.

      “if attending a shower and giving a gift is viewed as such a heroic and sacrificial effort”

      Spare me. Just spare me. You know darned well nobody is saying anything of the sort.

      Amy had a gift-giving occasion thrown for her and made no effort to thank everyone for their kindness. You might be OK with ignoring people’s kindness, or playing the ‘new mommy is allowed to be selfish’ card, but most aren’t.

      • Jill August 15, 2014, 7:44 am

        B, congrats that you obviously had smooth deliveries, speedy postpartum recovery and healthy non-fussy babies. Otherwise, why would you have understanding or compassion for the moms who have unbelievably difficult times recovering or have a child that requires a lot if medical attention?

        Actually, Wild Irish Rose did say that there could have been guests who possibly had great troubles that they overcame to get a gift etc…

        • B August 15, 2014, 9:01 am

          I don’t know how else to explain this, Jill. I thought I had made it very clear.

          You give me all the reasons a MOTHER might have for not responding. Oh, and thank you for your lovely assumptions about me.

          But Amy was NOT a mother when she was meant to thank people. She could not have had PPD stopping her from thanking people. She could not have had an unhealthy baby stopping her. Because she had not yet had her child.

          That is not a lack of compassion for new moms and their troubles. It’s just the fact that she was not in that situation, so any ‘new mom’ troubles are irrelevant.

          • Jill August 15, 2014, 11:20 pm

            B, You are the one who misread my posts. I originally said that I found it tacky to not open gifts and to hand out a pre-printed thank-you note at the shower. I also said in my original post that pre-printed notes after the baby is born are understandable if the parents are facing challenges.

            Then, Wild Irish Rose said “How does Mom-to-be know that someone who takes the time and energy to shop for a shower gift doesn’t have issues of her own that make her tired or busy or sick or whatever? The bottom line is this: If people have gone out of their way to attend a shower and provide a gift–*especially* if it’s obvious that time and thought went into it–then the honoree is obligated to send personalized thank-you notes that actually mention the particular gift.” To this I responded that a person who can physically attend a shower is obviously not too overwhelmed physically, emotionally, etc… and that if someone finds attending a shower and giving a gift that big of a sacrifice that anything short of a hand-made hand-written hand-addressed thank-you note is insulting, then, that type of person has missed the meaning of giving a gift. Giving gifts with a giving heart should not have expectation of a specific return.

    • Steve August 15, 2014, 7:35 am

      Bingo! The inevitable attack on the mentally ill as being responsible for all of the world’s rudeness. It’s an ongoing feature here.

      • Dee August 15, 2014, 11:23 am

        Accurate predicting, Steve. I do have sympathy for the disabled, though, as ordinary life responsibilities that we think nothing of can be overwhelming for them; however, I’ve never met a high-functioning autistic person who could not write thank you notes. As for the OP’s story, it is clear that the Mom-to-be never intended to write any notes; she was handing out those printed cards right at the shower. What sort of illness do you think she may have that compels her to PLAN being rude?

    • Hollyhock August 15, 2014, 11:25 am

      Bottom line, anyone who has time to open a gift has time to write a brief thank-you note, put a stamp on it and put it out for the mail carrier to retrieve.

      Do all of these depressed, sleep-deprived, wounded etc. new moms have stacks of unopened presents sitting around their house? I think not.

    • Schnickelfritz August 16, 2014, 12:51 pm

      Seriously? I have a cousin in a wheelchair, aunties on walkers, cousins with canes etc. They attend the showers. It takes a couple of them all morning to clean up and dress; then they have to rest from that. Then someone goes to their home, takes 15 minutes to get them in the CAR. Get them out of the car, hopefully handicap accessible venue. They spent hours crocheting blankies and baby sweaters for the nieces / granddaughters they love very much. These ladies look forward to these family events, they don’t get out very often at all, except to a doctor appointment.

      They want to attend – and put a lot of effort into making sure they can. I am shocked at your view that they don’t necessarily “deserve” a decent thank-you, because they actually made it to a shower or wedding! And you think they are not really “giving” from their heart, when they look forward to a thank you and a baby pic!

  • kingsrings August 14, 2014, 5:37 pm

    Doesn’t surprise me at all these days. Thank you notes seem to have fallen by the wayside these days. I haven’t received one for the longest time for the wedding gifts I’ve given, and nobody I know in my group of friends and family seem to think it’s necessary to send them out. I’ve heard every excuse in the book for not sending out thank you notes. Their feeling is that they showed hospitality at the wedding or baby shower, so that should be enough. They think that the guests are the rude ones for expecting them and being hurt when not receiving them. And these are not tack or clueless people here, they’re usually very classy and polite!

    • Hollyhock August 15, 2014, 11:29 am

      Totally agree.

      I worked with a woman who was pleasant and genteel; she had a large wedding but no co-workers were invited. I liked her and wanted to give a gift, went to a lot of trouble to find a pewter photo frame in the motif of her wedding (the Art Deco Mackintosh rose) and sent it along.

      Never received a thank-you note. We sat right next to one another at work and eventually she did mention the “cool frame” but no overt thanks. Others who gave gifts were similarly unthanked either in writing or verbally.

      In the ensuing years I’ve had the opportunity to throw a lot of freelance work her way but I just can’t bring myself to recommend anyone with such poor habits. What if she failed to follow up with an editor to whom I’d recommended her?

    • Kendra August 15, 2014, 12:02 pm

      But the question is….was your gift acknowledged, did the recipient express their gratitude? If no, then they are rude gimme pigs. If they did, but just not in a note, then I don’t see the problem.

      • kingsrings August 15, 2014, 6:28 pm

        In my cases, the only time I got acknowledged was when I brought it up with my cousin who never sent me a thank you. She said that they had received it and thanked me profusely, but that they just didn’t want to bother with keeping track and writing thank you notes because they’d received so much stuff. I have no idea if any of my other gift recipients ever received theirs.

  • Marozia August 14, 2014, 6:11 pm

    I’m not a poet, and I know it, but this thank-you card made me laugh today, because it was so awful.

  • Yasuragi August 14, 2014, 6:45 pm

    Ugh. I’d be fine with a typed thank you note as long as it was personalized. Not a massed produced after thought.

    How long until shower/wedding guests are required to send self-addressed stamped envelopes for thank you notes along with their RSVPs? I’ve already heard of people asked to address envelopes at the reception.

  • Catvickie August 14, 2014, 7:15 pm

    I just think we are going to see more of this in the future–they are not even teaching penmanship in schools any more. No one will be able to address an envelope in the future–and no wonder the Post Office is losing billions of dollars!

    • Yvaine August 18, 2014, 11:04 am

      But hand-printing would be fine too. There’s no intrinsic need for it to be cursive IMO. “Hands” go in and out of style–I certainly don’t know how to write in an Elizabethan hand!

  • DGS August 14, 2014, 7:43 pm

    Sorry, exhausted new mother is not an excuse. We live at least, 200 and up to 1500 miles away from the nearest family, and both my husband and I work full-time demanding jobs and parent a toddler and an infant. I managed to get handwritten thank-you notes out for every present that was given to us for our babies after both deliveries. And that included whilst recovering in the hospital from 2 emergency C-sections. Not because I’m super human or a martyr or so special; because I’m a decent and grateful person. It’s not that hard or that time-consuming. Stationery, pen, stamps. Go. Because people were gracious and thoughtful and kind.

  • Ginger0630 August 14, 2014, 8:46 pm

    Thank you notes don’t have to be long in order to be personal. The parents to be (BOTH mom and dad!) could have written a few each night before bed. If there were that many people at the event that they can’t possible write them all, then they invited too many people. They wanted the gifts, but didn’t want to be “bothered” with thank you notes.

    This reminds me of two stories:

    1) My friend/coworker had a baby shower. One of her friends hosted it and asked each of us to write our address on an envelope. I had never done that before, but knew about it because of E Hell LOL! Within a week, I got a personalized thank you note. I didn’t mind writing my own address because I know I would get it right and the excuse of “It must have been lost in the mail” wouldn’t fly. But she did write her notes right away and personalized each card.

    2) My friend’s mom and sister threw the other sister (Sister #2) a baby shower. The mother and Sister #1 bought thank you notes. The mother printed all the labels and stamped each envelope too. Sister #2 had a stressful job with long hours, so I could understand them helping her out. She only had to write a personalized note and put them in the envelope. Sister #1 even emailed her the gift list with each person’s name! Sister #2 has yet to write one thank you note. The shower was last January and the baby was born 2 months later, so now she has very little time to write them. I know Sister #1 and the mom have gotten on her case, but she can be btchy. I do know Sister #1 wrote a few notes herself because some of her friends bought gifts for her sister and she didn’t want them to think the family didn’t write thank yous. I find it appalling.

  • NostalgicGal August 14, 2014, 9:41 pm

    1) Tack-ee
    2) At least something was handed out/mailed out
    3) Still Tack-ee
    4) Um… okay. Still just barely squeaks.
    5) see #1 and #3

  • Jo Bleakley August 14, 2014, 10:29 pm

    Every time I read one of these stories I become increasingly more grateful that TY you notes are just not done in my social circle! I have never in my life sent, or received one and neither has anyone else I know. Presents are opened in front of everyone at the event and the giver is thanked/given a hug, etc. That’s it, over and done with. I completely agree with the poster who suggested that the whole thing is an anachronism. There are so many other things in life worth getting offended over, this isn’t one of them. IMO.

    • Gen Xer August 15, 2014, 11:32 am

      I totally agree. Why do so many people get so hung up on them? I think gratitude is important – don’t get me wrong – but a thank you in person or a phone call is fine by me.

      I have sent them, received them and have made my kids do them…..but it seems to be less about genuine gratitude and more about worrying who’s going to get their knickers in a twist if it isn’t done “just so”.

      Along with showers I wish thank you notes as an ironclad rule would disappear. If you thanked me in person at the shower or whatever then that is plenty – seriously I don’t need more.

      • B August 15, 2014, 3:34 pm

        But that’s why you don’t do thank you notes this badly. Don’t do them then. Thank people in a different way.

        The TY note is a red herring. This is about ingratitude. Amy did not thank people. She gave them a pre-printed piece of crap. If she’d said to the OP, “Wow, thank you SO much, that’s so kind!” the OP wouldn’t be moaning.

        Show gratitude as you choose, but show it genuinely.

    • Kendra August 15, 2014, 12:07 pm

      Yep, that’s my circle as well. In person thank you and hug or Skype/phone call for not in person (Skype being preferred). I agree with notes being an anachronism as well, there is a reason penmanship is no longer taught in school.

      • B August 15, 2014, 3:35 pm

        Yeah, it’s called ‘how to socially divide people in one easy stage’. And it’s going on all the time.

    • Kimstu August 15, 2014, 2:22 pm

      A verbal thank-you in person is just fine for a present given and opened in person. That’s standard etiquette and there’s nothing new about it.

      Wedding presents were traditionally (and frequently still are) mailed to the recipient(s) instead of being bestowed in person. So thank-yous had to be sent by mail as well. The point was not that a verbal acknowledgement wasn’t good enough, but that it wasn’t immediately possible since the gift wasn’t given in person, so the immediate expression of gratitude had to be made in writing.

      This became standard practice for showers as well, even though (most of) the shower gifts were opened by the recipient in the presence of the giver, because the assembly-line ritual of grab-it-open-it-squeal-with-delight-repeat made the verbal thanks somewhat less personal.

      While a handwritten note is still the etiquette gold standard of thank-you for a gift not given in person, there is nothing wrong with substituting a more informal phone call or email if that’s how your social circle rolls.

      What is NOT an anachronism, never was, and never will be, is the etiquette requirement that A GIFT MUST BE ACKNOWLEDGED WITH A PROMPT, INDIVIDUAL AND PERSONAL EXPRESSION OF GRATITUDE.

  • Steve August 14, 2014, 10:46 pm

    Isn’t it time to end baby showers? Why should these people be entitled to demand gifts to fund their lifestyle choices? They’re adults. They can buy their own baby gear.

    • Asharah August 15, 2014, 8:51 am

      Because I think it’s very natural for people to want to welcome a new baby with gifts.

      • Steve August 15, 2014, 12:39 pm

        If it’s so natural, people will do it on their own without stupid games and the peer pressure of a public show of gifts.

        If they don’t do it on their own, then it’s not natural.

        Anyway, none of the shower gifts are for the baby.

  • Barbarian August 15, 2014, 12:02 am

    It may be cheap, but here’s a solution for those who are to busy to write thank-you notes: don’t throw showers or other gift-giving events if you have no intentions of sending them. If people have ample time to organize baby showers with special websites to post registries and relentlessly demand RSVP’s, then they have time to do thank you notes.

    • NostalgicGal August 16, 2014, 2:18 am

      Yes. This.

    • Angel August 18, 2014, 8:47 pm

      I agree, if you are going to solicit for gifts, you need to be willing to either
      a. open all the gifts at the shower and thank each giver IN PERSON
      b. open the gifts on your own or at the shower and send a personalized thank you note afterwards
      Personally I think thank you notes shouldn’t be optional. But, they are not present in every social circle. So at the very least, make the effort to thank the givers individually in some way–verbally or handwritten. And if the thought of this is daunting to you, then you probably shouldn’t have had a shower with a ton of people at it! I will never understand why people think their events need to be huge. I will never forget this one bridal shower I went to, there were over 100 women there. Literally. They tried to do bridal shower games and ran out of prizes. It was very disorganized. And guess what. No thank you notes! They ran out of time to open all the presents received–so most of us did not get thanked verbally either. The room was huge and most of us couldn’t even see the stage where the presents were being opened. I think that if you have a stage and the majority of your guests cannot see the presents being opened that’s a sign that your shower is too big lol.

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