Author Topic: Are thank you notes necessary?  (Read 4718 times)

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MOM21SON

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Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2013, 09:58:55 PM »
It is a change of the times, very much like everything else. Back in the day, there was no email, I know because I lived it.

Getting a handwritten note on pretty paper or in a pretty card was a joy. 

I am for it as much as you are opposed to it.  Would it really be such a burden to send off a quick card?
You know, it wouldn't be a burden but I don't think that mean it is rude to send a thank you through a more modern medium, either.  I mean, in the day before "the day" you might send your thank you letter around by means of a servant. And if you still had servants who worked for you they could still bring a letter around.  Might be charming.  Doesn't meanMOM21SON is rude for using that newfangled USPS.

LOL  No where did I mention relying on the USPS.  However, if I mailed a Thank you note and they did not get it, I wouldn't feel bad that I didn't send one because I knew that I did.  Also emails do get lost in cyberspace.

I don't need a servant, just a pigeon.

TootsNYC

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Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2013, 10:05:43 PM »
I think any "thank you" is sufficient, and putting it in writing is not necessary. I think that anyone who gets offended by not receiving it in writing is actually pretty judgmental. Not that you're going to change their mind, however.

Especially with family (which is who most often sends me gifts, and did when I was younger), I think a phone call is often preferable. I know that *I* would rather get a phone call and a chance to hear your voice, rather than receive a relatively boring and very short thank-you note. I strongly suspect that all of my family members would also rather receive a phone call.

Oh, they like notes, and I insist y kids send them to people whose gifts they weren't able to open in front of the givers (I married into a family in which aunts & uncles and great-aunts and -uncles give envelopes of cash--cash always gets a thank-you note, especially because i don't have my kids open them right away).

In a situation in which there isn't much opportunity to give your thanks personally (like a shower, even if it *is* small; or a wedding, when the gifts aren't opened until later), a written note is absolutely expected. Even if your bridal shower is 4 people, I strongly suggest you send thank-you notes.


Bexx27

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Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2013, 10:06:51 PM »
It is a change of the times, very much like everything else. Back in the day, there was no email, I know because I lived it.

Getting a handwritten note on pretty paper or in a pretty card was a joy. 

I am for it as much as you are opposed to it.  Would it really be such a burden to send off a quick card?

I'm not opposed to thank you notes. I'll send them to you if I know you like them (but I will roll my eyes if your DH calls to remind me). I'm opposed to considering someone rude and ungrateful for expressing thanks in the "wrong" format. Would it really be such a burden to accept a sincere thank you without the need for pretty paper?
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

Lynn2000

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Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2013, 10:13:14 PM »
I also feel that a personalized* "thank you" is necessary for politeness, but specifically being a written "note" is not--verbal in-person, over the phone, email, handwritten note in the mail, etc. are, in my opinion, all polite options for thanking a giver.

*By personalized, I mean making some amount of effort to acknowledge the specific person and the gift they gave. This is in opposition to one blanket "thanks, everyone" statement at the end of an event, for example.

I also think that a written thank-you (whether email or a piece of paper) ought to be somewhat personalized, and not just a generic "thank you." For my cousin's child's birthday party, we used to get a nice photo card in the mail with pictures of the party on it and an ornate "Thank you, love the Smiths" text printed on it. But, the pictures were not pictures of us at the party, or of the gift we gave; and there was nothing typed or written on the invitation to make it personal to us. In other words they printed out a dozen of these things identical and sent them to all the guests. Points for sending something, I guess, but I didn't get why they couldn't add "thanks for the books!" or our names or something like that. I would be totally cool with having the whole thing typed if writing by hand was tough for them, or just having personalized pictures if words weren't their thing, but a generic thank you card is, to me, little better than the mass "thanks, everyone!" at the end of the party.

BUT, I do think that gets into a grey area, which some people would say was too picky or demanding, and I wouldn't want to discourage someone from sending TY notes because suddenly they're afraid there's a complex, subtle formula they have to follow, rather than just saying "thank you."
~Lynn2000

MOM21SON

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Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2013, 10:18:57 PM »
It is a change of the times, very much like everything else. Back in the day, there was no email, I know because I lived it.

Getting a handwritten note on pretty paper or in a pretty card was a joy. 

I am for it as much as you are opposed to it.  Would it really be such a burden to send off a quick card?

I'm not opposed to thank you notes. I'll send them to you if I know you like them (but I will roll my eyes if your DH calls to remind me). I'm opposed to considering someone rude and ungrateful for expressing thanks in the "wrong" format. Would it really be such a burden to accept a sincere thank you without the need for pretty paper?

I would be happy with a sincere thank you.  If my DH called and did such a thing, it would be on a new thread. 

By burden, I am taking it that is a waste of of time, as in actual time writing the note.  A face to face is not a burden because we are in the same room.

Flora Louise

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Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2013, 10:24:27 PM »
I'm just about to write my thank you notes for my Christamas gifts. I send them for all gifts and for all hospitality. And I very much appreciate getting them in return.
Just because you're disappointed in me doesn't mean I did anything wrong.

sweetonsno

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Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2013, 11:41:29 PM »
Sincerely thanking someone for a gift is absolutely essential, assuming that the "gift" wasn't some sort of mean PA jab. I don't think that a thank-you card is a must-do. However, I think it's extra-nice, as it takes more effort. It's sort of the difference between grabbing a few gift cards off the rack at the supermarket and spending an afternoon at a gift bazaar. Both show generosity and a desire to make others happy, but one involves a bit more thought and effort.

Now, I rarely get thank-you cards. Some of my mom's friends (who I have also befriended) have sent me cards. My grandmother sends me cards. My generation? I've only ever received cards thanking me for wedding gifts. I love getting cards. It's so nice to open the mailbox and find something that isn't an advertisement or a bill. That's why I send cards. I figure others feel the same way.


Margo

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Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2013, 06:09:19 AM »
I agree with BagLady. Thanks are necessary. The format of those thanks is variable.
I was brought yup on the basis that if you open the gift when the giver is present, you thank them in person, if you don't (whether because the gift as mailed, or for anther reason (e.g. you saw them a week before christmas, and the gift was saved to be opened on christmas Day)) then you should send a thank you letter.

I think the important thing s that there is something personal in the thanks - I prefer to get letters/cards rather than e-mails, as they feel more personal to me, and they are nice to keep, but if someone sends me an e-mail instead I would not consider them rude, any more than someone is rude if they give me milk chocolates as a gift when I prefer dark.

Given the ease of communication, I think that a phone call also meets the requirement of etiquette - if you are able to give a personal thank you, although I personally would always send a written thank you even if I happen to have spoken to the giver on the phone as well.

For a formal event like a wedding I think that the etiquette rule still requires a written thank you, even if you have seen/spoken to the giver.

I do think that a general 'thank you' is rude - I got an e-mail in about March last year from a relative. It was cc'd to me and a lot of others and just said something to the effect of 'thanks for all the [christmas] gifts - we've been so busy I'm not sure who gave what but thank you" Thant felt very rude indeed to me. I would have found it much less rude if it had been an individual mail, even if it didn't comment specifically on the particular gifts I sen (eg - thank you so much for the gifts you sent - it was kind of you to think of us, and I'm sorry it's take me so long to thank you - We've been frantically busy"

I think there is also an element of 'know your audience'. If the norm in your circle of friends, or your family, is a phone call or text, then it is not rue to thank those people in that way, but i also think it is important to remember that not everyone will have the same 'rules', and if you are not sure, it's generally better to err by sending a handwritten/personal letter/card, ratehr than by being 'too' casual.

 thinkas it's much less common to send personal letters these days, they are more valued when they are received - it's lovely to get a personal card or letter in among all the bills and junk mail from time ti time


Winterlight

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Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2013, 09:12:25 AM »
I usually send thank-you emails for gifts or thank the person verbally. However, when my aunt made a quilt for my birthday a couple of years ago, she got a handwritten note.

Thanks are necessary, the medium can be flexible.
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fountainof

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Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2013, 12:19:38 PM »
I think a thank you needs to be specific to the person giving the gift.  It is acceptable to me to thank someone personally in person, on the phone or via email.  However, it would not be acceptable to make an announcement at the end of a wedding saying thanks for all the gifts.  I also don't think a blind carbon copy template email would be acceptable either.  That would be too much like a form letter.

blahblahblah

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Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2013, 12:20:22 PM »
I write thank you notes for coworkers who give me Christmas gifts, but not for friends or family. With my friends/relatives, it's just never been how we've done things.

Quote
By personalized, I mean making some amount of effort to acknowledge the specific person and the gift they gave.
IA with this. This is why I actually prefer writing thank you notes for my coworkers, because it gives me time to think of something to say about the gift. It can be pretty difficult because coworker gifts are generally a lot more impersonal...sometimes I'll find myself writing a little white lie about it. Oops. But there's only so much I can say about a candle!

Decimus

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Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2013, 02:38:11 PM »
I'll agree that expressing gratitude for a gift received is the important thing, not the substance.  Due to changing technology, it is - bluntly - increasingly difficult to send regular letters.  While it's fine to want to spend time composing a letter (I've sent hand-written ones to my fiancee) there have been times where simply going out to get stamps required an hour of travel time (half an hour out and then back again, out of my way).  And it took me several trips to find a store that sold stationary.  These are problems that simply never arose back in the day.  While thank-you notes make sense for things like weddings (it's easier to do them in bulk) it's simply more efficient (and often nowadays cheaper) to call on the phone.

As long as proper thanks have been expressed, this should suffice.

TootsNYC

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Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2013, 03:34:26 PM »
I'll agree that expressing gratitude for a gift received is the important thing, not the substance.  Due to changing technology, it is - bluntly - increasingly difficult to send regular letters.  While it's fine to want to spend time composing a letter (I've sent hand-written ones to my fiancee) there have been times where simply going out to get stamps required an hour of travel time (half an hour out and then back again, out of my way).  And it took me several trips to find a store that sold stationary.  These are problems that simply never arose back in the day.  While thank-you notes make sense for things like weddings (it's easier to do them in bulk) it's simply more efficient (and often nowadays cheaper) to call on the phone.

As long as proper thanks have been expressed, this should suffice.

While I agree with you that modern formats are perfectly acceptable for thank-you notes, i beg to differ with the idea that these problems "never arose back in the day" and the implication that they're modern problems.

They're not modern problems. They're *disorganization* problems, or problems created by a differing set of priorities.

Then and now, people can/do make sure they always have stationery on hand. They buy some, and when they get even close to running out, they find a way to get more. If they live hours and hours from any store, they buy a larger stock.
   They buy many stamps, and again, when they are close to running out, they pick up some more in whatever way they can.

"Back in the day"--which day? Frontier times, when you had to hitch the horse to the wagon and travel 20 miles to town? Victorian times, when you had to order stationery from the engraver in London? The 1950s, when the post office was closed on Saturdays and didn't sell stamps anywhere else?

It isn't any more difficult now to get postage or stationery than it ever was. In fact, it is EASIER. And has been for a hundred years.

If you intend to write letters, then you take steps to be equipped for it. Those steps might be difficult but you don't use that difficulty as an excuse, you just find a way to cope. Or, now and then, it gets the better of you, but you don't blame that on the process. It's just how it worked out.

Decimus

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Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #28 on: January 03, 2013, 03:49:00 PM »
I was expecting someone to raise this.  Let me be clearer.  It is harder now to buy stamps/mail letters than it was between the period 1920-1990, the period in which elder still-living generations were raised.  Now, I could argue with you, but really you're missing my point.  It is not that mailing a letter or a thank-you note is "too hard" per se.  It is that there are now easier, equivalent methods.  In 1950 I couldn't send an email (by which I don't mean a text message, I mean an electronic thank--you note of substance).  A long distance telephone call in 1950 was expensive.  Now I get unlimited long-distance (with the US) calls under my plan.

To me, it is about the message, not the medium.  If you send me a gift and I personally call to thank you, and you can hear my voice and know I'm sincere, isn't that as good, possibly better, than a short note?

I realize some people have personal attachment to notes and letters.  I like letters myself. I do send them, I just feel it's harder to do so than it was 20 years ago.  But that's a personal value judgment, like if I prefer green to blue.  That's not a matter of etiquette proper, I feel. 

I'll agree that expressing gratitude for a gift received is the important thing, not the substance.  Due to changing technology, it is - bluntly - increasingly difficult to send regular letters.  While it's fine to want to spend time composing a letter (I've sent hand-written ones to my fiancee) there have been times where simply going out to get stamps required an hour of travel time (half an hour out and then back again, out of my way).  And it took me several trips to find a store that sold stationary.  These are problems that simply never arose back in the day.  While thank-you notes make sense for things like weddings (it's easier to do them in bulk) it's simply more efficient (and often nowadays cheaper) to call on the phone.

As long as proper thanks have been expressed, this should suffice.

While I agree with you that modern formats are perfectly acceptable for thank-you notes, i beg to differ with the idea that these problems "never arose back in the day" and the implication that they're modern problems.

They're not modern problems. They're *disorganization* problems, or problems created by a differing set of priorities.

Then and now, people can/do make sure they always have stationery on hand. They buy some, and when they get even close to running out, they find a way to get more. If they live hours and hours from any store, they buy a larger stock.
   They buy many stamps, and again, when they are close to running out, they pick up some more in whatever way they can.

"Back in the day"--which day? Frontier times, when you had to hitch the horse to the wagon and travel 20 miles to town? Victorian times, when you had to order stationery from the engraver in London? The 1950s, when the post office was closed on Saturdays and didn't sell stamps anywhere else?

It isn't any more difficult now to get postage or stationery than it ever was. In fact, it is EASIER. And has been for a hundred years.

If you intend to write letters, then you take steps to be equipped for it. Those steps might be difficult but you don't use that difficulty as an excuse, you just find a way to cope. Or, now and then, it gets the better of you, but you don't blame that on the process. It's just how it worked out.

TootsNYC

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Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2013, 04:05:48 PM »
It is harder now to buy stamps/mail letters than it was between the period 1920-1990, the period in which elder still-living generations were raised. 

I disagree. It is easier now; you can buy stamps online or at a corner store; you can buy stationery mail-order or online (which is really only mail order using a different communication system). And stationery is cheaper than it was in the 1950s.

My carrier still picks up mail at the mailbox; in fact, he'll pick up an order for stamps and deliver it, which I don't think they did when I was a kid (though, maybe they've always done that).

However, I *do* agree with you that we now have at hand methods that are FAR easier than even a letter is.

Perhaps you are saying this wrong.

In the 1950s-1980s, sending a letter was the easiest/least expensive/least onerous method of communicating.

Nowadays there are other methods (email, inexpensive long-distance, Skype even) that are actually easier than sending a letter. If you have the technology, of course; though many, many of us do. (not my ILs)

Even though sending a letter is easier than it used to be, other methods have surpassed it in ease and lack of expense. And yes, I think letters have even been surpassed in intimacy.