Author Topic: Are thank you notes necessary?  (Read 5211 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Katana_Geldar

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1724
Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2013, 04:17:27 PM »
I wish we had those sort of mail services, Toots, down under we still need to trot down to Australia Post or at least a news agent to get stamps and products.

My fiancÚ and I are planning to send thank you cards after the wedding to people we don't see on a day to day basis. I'm thinking getting a photo of our two cats playing with a cheap veil and some confetti and printing it on the card. But we are going to use printed address labels as its just easier.

My post was triggered by a thread about kids birthday parties where adults would make a list of gifts with kids present to write thank you notes later. Surely a verbal than you from child and parent to guest and parents is enough?

kareng57

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12233
Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #31 on: January 03, 2013, 04:23:37 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.


The other day my 24-year-old DS asked me how to use a postage stamp......... ???

CakeEater

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2529
Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #32 on: January 03, 2013, 05:37:05 PM »
I wish we had those sort of mail services, Toots, down under we still need to trot down to Australia Post or at least a news agent to get stamps and products.

My fiancÚ and I are planning to send thank you cards after the wedding to people we don't see on a day to day basis. I'm thinking getting a photo of our two cats playing with a cheap veil and some confetti and printing it on the card. But we are going to use printed address labels as its just easier.

My post was triggered by a thread about kids birthday parties where adults would make a list of gifts with kids present to write thank you notes later. Surely a verbal than you from child and parent to guest and parents is enough?

And yet, others of us managed to send thank-you notes after our weddings etc. Really, you need to send the notes to everyone after your wedding, not just the far away ones.

As many have said, it's the personal nature of the thanks rather than the form that's important. So sure, a thank-you at a party is fine if you stand there with each and every guest and thank them explicitly for their present. If there's a lot of kids there and you don't get to do that, then you need to follow up with a note, or a call or something.

It's just easier after your wedding to make sure you have everyone covered by having a list, then you write the notes and mark them off. If you write notes to some, and then just think, "I'll say thanks to Mary Sue at work on Monday and Uncle Joe when I see him at Christmas," then you risk getting caught up in life and forgetting.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30461
Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #33 on: January 03, 2013, 05:43:34 PM »
I don't now how it is in Australia, but here in the U.S., I would say 90% of the people will expect to get a written note for the present they give for a *wedding*. And for a *shower* of any sort.

It's such a formal occasion, and the present is usually of a much bigger scale. They'll expect a note of roughly the same formality as the invitation--but they will most of them expect a note.

Katana_Geldar

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1724
Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #34 on: January 03, 2013, 06:17:56 PM »
What meant was friends we see on an almost weekly basis, and friends were seeing very soon after wedding where we can say personal thanks. It's the same way we gave out some of our invitations and they saved postage. They weren't very formal anyway.

BMs may get nice card too, as they have done good job with Hens Night.

Ceallach

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4706
    • This Is It
Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #35 on: January 03, 2013, 07:06:12 PM »
What meant was friends we see on an almost weekly basis, and friends were seeing very soon after wedding where we can say personal thanks. It's the same way we gave out some of our invitations and they saved postage. They weren't very formal anyway.

BMs may get nice card too, as they have done good job with Hens Night.

So basically you're splitting your guests into 2 categories, those who get written Thank You notes and those who don't?   I do find that quite odd to be honest.   And please don't make this a "down under" thing, because I live in Australia too.   :)     It sounds as though you're basing your decision on a) your own convenience and b) whether somebody "deserves" a written note.    By saying "BMs may get nice card too, as they have done good job with Hens Night." you indicate it is subjective.   What if they didn't do a good job with the Hen's Night?  Or if some of the BMs put more time/effort into it than others?  Would you then pick and choose on that basis?   Because really, you should extend thanks to all guests who give you gifts and all people who contribute to your wedding, it shouldn't be based on what is convenient to you or how much effort you think they have put in.

I think giving a verbal thank you for wedding gifts is ok as long as it is a very clear, specific thank you.  Not just a thank you in passing or a "thanks for coming and for the gift" on the day of the wedding.    It needs to be a later phone call or in person visit with a conversation along the lines of:    "I just wanted to let you know how much we loved __________!  It's such a thoughtful gift.  We're going to use it for _____________.  DH was so excited when we opened it. Thanks so much for coming to the wedding, we had a great day I hope you enjoyed yourselves!".        Sincere, personalised effort from you to thank them for *their* efforts,  not just a casual thank you in passing.  That is what is key. 
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"


katycoo

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3732
Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #36 on: January 03, 2013, 09:43:49 PM »
Fellow Australia: I agree that ideally all guests should receive a written TY note.  Personally, I'm ok with printed, provided each is personalised, and not generic.

At a child's birthday, the gifts sare usually opened in front of guests who can be thanked at the time.  This doesn't generally happen at a wedding.

Also, while it is a PITA to shlep to Aussie Post to buy stamps and then return to post mail, it takes the same time whether you're buying 100 stamps or 1.

Hell, an email would be fine.  I know its dying out, but I think its really important for large scale events like this.

CakeEater

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2529
Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #37 on: January 03, 2013, 09:47:33 PM »
What meant was friends we see on an almost weekly basis, and friends were seeing very soon after wedding where we can say personal thanks. It's the same way we gave out some of our invitations and they saved postage. They weren't very formal anyway.

BMs may get nice card too, as they have done good job with Hens Night.

Yes, but you did hand them a written invitation. You didn't ask them verbally to come. By all means, hand deliver your written thank-you notes to save on postage!

Having thought about it some more, One of the reasons I like written thank-you notes is that they can be passed on to spouses/other family members who may have been involved in the giving of the gift/attending of the wedding. It's fine to give a verbal thank-you to a co-worker, but their spouse probably also attended and helped pay for the gift and co-worker may not remember to pass on your verbal thanks.

Lynn2000

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4840
Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #38 on: January 03, 2013, 10:10:37 PM »
If we start with the assumption that a sincere, personalized thanks will be given; the next step is then what medium/formality level is appropriate to the specific situation? I feel like this is the part where a lot of people get confused, or become nervous about doing it "wrong," or (less charitably) decide it's okay to follow their own convenience above all.

We talk a lot about how society is becoming more diverse, you can't count on everyone around you having been taught the same rules of etiquette, and even the most long-standing of rules are starting to change. And people differ on what they find meaningful--for some, a written note is most meaningful, for others they would toss it out right away and would rather hear your voice on the phone. So it's no wonder that people aren't sure what to do sometimes, because sometimes there isn't really a "right" answer anymore.

I think, when in doubt, a sincere, personalized, written-on-paper TY note is never wrong. If I were questioning whether it's necessary to go "that far," I think I would ask myself, why don't I want to send one? And then evaluate whether I really thought the answer was a good one.

Answers like, "It's boring" or "It will take too long" are not, I think, good answers; they're placing my own convenience over showing gratitude to people who did something nice for me. Same with answers that blame part of the process--like, "I have bad handwriting" (type it!) or "I don't know all the addresses" (ask someone!).

An answer like, "I felt I gave a sincere, personalized thanks in person already," "I think Aunt Betty would appreciate a call of thanks more, because she can't see very well anymore," or "My social circle communicates primarily by email for all occasions, even wedding invitations are sent that way," are definitely better, IMO.
~Lynn2000

kareng57

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12233
Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #39 on: January 03, 2013, 11:42:30 PM »
I don't now how it is in Australia, but here in the U.S., I would say 90% of the people will expect to get a written note for the present they give for a *wedding*. And for a *shower* of any sort.

It's such a formal occasion, and the present is usually of a much bigger scale. They'll expect a note of roughly the same formality as the invitation--but they will most of them expect a note.


I'm in Canada, and I will definitely agree that for a formal occasion such as a wedding - it commands a written, postage-sent thank-you note.

Showers - it depends.  I've never been to a shower with 60+ guests, although I've heard of them.  For such a party, it's likely true that the BTB/MTB might have had only a few seconds to greet each guest - so yes, probably a TY note is in order.  But IME, most showers have only 10-20 guests, and the GOH has plenty of time to open the gift and express her delight/TY to the individual guest.  For any guest who could not attend but sent a gift - naturally an extra TY is required.  But it's hard to figure the preferred form.  These days, lots of folks could consider a phone call more personal than a mailed note, an emailed note, or a text.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30461
Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #40 on: January 04, 2013, 12:05:51 AM »
Maybe what I would have said is: there are enough of them who will be watching like hawks to see if you send them a  thank-you note, regardless of how much time you had to spend with them at the shower. So send the note!

(I base this on this website and others, plus comments I hear from people in real life. There *are* people who are surprised by the thank-you note when it arrives--I'm sometimes one of them--but with a shower, the concept of a written thank-you note is just really strong--it's not safe to blow that off.)

CluelessBride

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1647
Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #41 on: January 04, 2013, 12:41:08 AM »
The thing about a shower in particular is that at it's heart a shower is not really just a party, but is a "Give GOH a Gift" party. That is, the entire purpose/theme of the gathering is to give the GOH something. Because of the very gift-centered feel of the occasion, I think it's even more important to err on the side of over-thanking. So I don't think a verbal thank you at the time the gift is opened is enough. And I think a more formal physical thank you note/letter is more appropriate than an email or a phone call.

And even at small weddings, I'd find gift-opening at the wedding odd.  Plus often gifts aren't given at the wedding. So I think  a note/letter is most appropriate.

If we start with the assumption that a sincere, personalized thanks will be given; the next step is then what medium/formality level is appropriate to the specific situation? I feel like this is the part where a lot of people get confused, or become nervous about doing it "wrong," or (less charitably) decide it's okay to follow their own convenience above all.

We talk a lot about how society is becoming more diverse, you can't count on everyone around you having been taught the same rules of etiquette, and even the most long-standing of rules are starting to change. And people differ on what they find meaningful--for some, a written note is most meaningful, for others they would toss it out right away and would rather hear your voice on the phone. So it's no wonder that people aren't sure what to do sometimes, because sometimes there isn't really a "right" answer anymore.

I think, when in doubt, a sincere, personalized, written-on-paper TY note is never wrong. If I were questioning whether it's necessary to go "that far," I think I would ask myself, why don't I want to send one? And then evaluate whether I really thought the answer was a good one.

Answers like, "It's boring" or "It will take too long" are not, I think, good answers; they're placing my own convenience over showing gratitude to people who did something nice for me. Same with answers that blame part of the process--like, "I have bad handwriting" (type it!) or "I don't know all the addresses" (ask someone!).

An answer like, "I felt I gave a sincere, personalized thanks in person already," "I think Aunt Betty would appreciate a call of thanks more, because she can't see very well anymore," or "My social circle communicates primarily by email for all occasions, even wedding invitations are sent that way," are definitely better, IMO.

I agree that the why is important - even though the recipient won't necessarily know the why. I think that's why a recipient should assume the best, even if the sender intended the worst. 

But regarding your suggesting of typing the note, I'd always understood that was unacceptable.* I'd like to see the typing rule go away so as to not intimidate people who are self-conscious about their handwriting or who find lots of writing physically painful out of writing notes altogether.


*Not that I personally care as a recipient.  I'm just happy to get a note and it doesn't bother me if it's typed or even uses a <gasp> address label. In fact, a typed note with obviously personalized text would be much more meaningful than the handwritten form letters that make up most notes these days.

mindicherry

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 79
Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #42 on: January 04, 2013, 02:05:03 AM »
I have to say - we have about 17 (sight overstatement) gift exchanges with people each year, due to family, friends, work parties.

When I get and open a present in front of the recipient, I always give a very enthusiastic Thanks (even for the Cookie Monster Snuggie that my nephew thought I would LOVE (headbang) )

After that - I don't feel compelled to write a Thank you Note.

When a gift comes in the mail that I didn't expect?  Thank You Note in the mail the next day!

Bijou

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12918
Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #43 on: January 04, 2013, 04:35:26 AM »
I think that for birthday or Christmas (or other holiday) gifts if opened in your presence and you are thanked, the verbal thanks received at the time is enough.  Gifts not opened in your presence, a phone call, at least.  Gifts for showers, wedding, graduations, etc should generate a thank you note.   
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.

Lynn2000

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4840
Re: Are thank you notes necessary?
« Reply #44 on: January 04, 2013, 10:30:25 AM »
I agree that the why is important - even though the recipient won't necessarily know the why. I think that's why a recipient should assume the best, even if the sender intended the worst. 

But regarding your suggesting of typing the note, I'd always understood that was unacceptable.* I'd like to see the typing rule go away so as to not intimidate people who are self-conscious about their handwriting or who find lots of writing physically painful out of writing notes altogether.


*Not that I personally care as a recipient.  I'm just happy to get a note and it doesn't bother me if it's typed or even uses a <gasp> address label. In fact, a typed note with obviously personalized text would be much more meaningful than the handwritten form letters that make up most notes these days.

CluelessBride, I definitely agree with you about the "no typing" rule (wishing it would go away), and I do feel like it's easing up, especially in terms of typewritten (well, you know, from a computer) address labels. I've just sometimes heard people use their "bad handwriting" (whether medically-related or not) as a reason for not doing paper TY notes for a formal occasion that would otherwise clearly merit them; sometimes they even think, "Well, I can't do the paper TY notes, so that means I don't have to thank people at all!"  ::) There are ways around that sort of thing, is all I meant. I think if one starts with the desire to give sincere, personalized thanks, one can always find a way to do it; whereas if one starts with the idea that thanking people is a chore, one can always find excuses for not doing it. And that's just not polite.
~Lynn2000