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Are we losing the art of thank you cards / letters

(188 Posts)
sheeplikessleep Tue 19-Jan-10 11:18:09

I know I'm being pedantic, but am I the only one who thinks a printed, generic 'thank you for our presents' card isn't as personal as a little handwritten card or letter with reference to what the present was!

AIBU to think more effort should be put in?

<I'm becoming my mother>

Abubu Tue 19-Jan-10 11:19:46

To be honest I think it's a bit unusual to receive or send any kind of thank you card nowadays - generic or not.

I'm quite guilty of this myself....blush

twolittlemonkeys Tue 19-Jan-10 11:20:50

YANBU. My parents taught me if I didn't write a personal thank you letter not to expect any future presents - as soon as I could write I had to do thank you cards for my Christmas presents before NYE.

Now I struggle to write thank you letters all the time but I do try....

TootaLaFruit Tue 19-Jan-10 11:23:09

It is a struggle to write them - usually because you're so busy you just forget - but whenever I receive one I appreciate it so much and think "yes, this is why we write these things, because it does genuinely show that someone is grateful for their present and can be bothered to put pen to paper to tell you so."

becstarlitsea Tue 19-Jan-10 11:23:55

I prefer handwritten too. And I must admit that when I get a printed generic one I feel a bit snubbed. I'm not even sure that it's better than nothing...

But the art isn't lost - I got two lovely handwritten thank you cards today (not for christmas presents, they were 'thank yous' for things I'd done last week -one from a kid and one from a grown up). The 'real' ones actually seem more meaningful to me than they used to, because I know that the person who has done it has consciously chosen to put that extra effort in.

emsyj Tue 19-Jan-10 11:24:18

I spent hours writing our thank you cards after the wedding, taking care to refer to the particular gift (if they had bought one) and to let people who bought vouchers know what we had bought/planned to buy. It took for ever and I am dreading having to do the same again when first DC arrives, but it's just one of those things that you have to do.

We received generic pre-printed 'thank you for the presents' cards from two friends recently who have just had babies (to whom we sent gifts obviously). I think for new babies it is entirely reasonable to send pre-printed as it is enough effort to buy them, write the address on the envelope (having searched for it high and low, if you are disorganised like me) and find a stamp to post it. I wouldn't expect an individual thank you for baby items, it's too much work and people are usually so flooded with gifts after a baby that the child would be at school by the time they were finished.

So... YAB a bit U but I sort of agree with you for most gifts.

Hulababy Tue 19-Jan-10 11:24:21

I always get DD to do thank you letters after recieving gifts. However we do cheat to an extent after Christmas when she recieves a lot of gifts.

I have some double sided cards produced with a recent photo, and on the reverse have printed:


Thank you for my lovely xxx present.

love from xxx

I leave space after the sentence so that DD can add a personal message about that gift herself, handwritten. She will also then add the recipients name(s) and her name.

I personally think it is a good way of bridgng the gap between a generic thank you and a personal one. It has the personal touch, but makes the process take less time for DD.

ImSoNotTelling Tue 19-Jan-10 11:25:45

YABU insofar as some people do not do this whole thank you letter thing. Whenever these threads come up there are some, I don;t know whether it is regional/class/whatever, but there you have it.

I think YABU to assume that everyone else has been brought up with the same "rules" as you.

However if i were to write a thank you note (there are some times when it is appropriate) I would hand write it, Naturally. If it's generic and printed what's the point? Seems to be a case of adhering to a "rule" while more or less totally missing the spirit of it.

cory Tue 19-Jan-10 11:27:06

I (and ds) have problems with wrists, which mean that any handwritten note is going to be a)illegible b)painful. I try to get round it by typing a personalised thank-you letter.

ImSoNotTelling Tue 19-Jan-10 11:27:51

I have never received a thank you note in my whole life, except for maybe 2 for wedding presents which is a bit different.

i do not feel in any way put out by this.

Fibilou Tue 19-Jan-10 11:31:07

I am a traditionalist. I wrote out individual thankyou cards for our wedding presents and mentioned each gift in the card or what we had bought with the money. I have written thankyou cards for all birthday and Christmas presents since I was tiny. I have also written thankyou cards for everyone that has given us things for the baby (eg. a lady who knitted us lots of things and my aunts and cousins who passed on family treasures).

I think not writing thankyous is the height of laziness and rudeness. And there is no excuse in the world that anyone can trot out that could make me think otherwise.

sheeplikessleep Tue 19-Jan-10 11:31:44

I agree baby gift thank you cards are out of my AIBU question.

Tis nice to hear that others still receive more personal cards. Just feel it is a bit sad they are so appreciated / out of the ordinary, rather than expected. I'm too demanding grin

I like the leaving a space idea, that makes it more personal and relevant.

TheSmallClanger Tue 19-Jan-10 11:33:35

It doesn't bother me, as long as I get a thankyou somehow. If someone gives me a gift, I thank them in person straight away if I can, and have dinned it into Tiny Clanger to do the same.
At Christmas, we normally end up on the phone to people who have given us things, so we get to appreciate our lovely presents then.

popmum Tue 19-Jan-10 11:33:45

i got one today - a half printed one for xmas (out of a pack not printed by them) and the child had written our names on it and that was it, then put in envelope, Mum has written address. Nothing else, no name etc!!! Ha ha, guess that's what happens when you leave a child to do it (I am pretty sure it is from a boy aged 9) grin. I won't be grassing him up!

inkyfingers Tue 19-Jan-10 11:42:08

I had to write thankyous after Xmas and birthday, but remember that if I'd opened present with giver and said thanks, then I didn't need to write letter AS WELL, but then I get thank you letters from kids who have thanked me already - of course I haven't written to their parents and now look in the wrong - over-egging the thanks IMO.

MrsMattie Tue 19-Jan-10 11:44:12

I had every intention of getting my DS to make some cute, quirky little thank you cards to friends and relatives, but where is the time? I just don't know when I am supposed to sit down with a 4 yr old and get him to handwrite / make 25 cards!

To be honest, finding the time to buy, write and stamp 25 'generic' ones was a chore.

TheSmallClanger Tue 19-Jan-10 11:46:38

I agree inkyfingers.

Of course we should say thankyou when people are kind to us; I don't see why it has to be in letter format.

FreakoidOrganisoid Tue 19-Jan-10 11:49:06

I do agree but have to admit that recently I have started typing the dc's cards instead of handwriting them. They are personalised and mention the gift but I am crap at doing them if I have to write them all by hand so this is the only way they all get done blush

Once the dc can write then they will be doing them by hand though.

ImSoNotTelling Tue 19-Jan-10 11:49:38

Fibilou can I ask whereabouts you live?

I am determined to get to the bottom of this. I never even knew that people did all these thank you cards until I came to MN.

No-one did it in my family, no-one does it in DH family, it never happened at any of my schools, none of my friends do it etc etc.

skinsl Tue 19-Jan-10 11:49:41

Some people don't do thank you cards.Not ungrateful but just not done them.
I think weddings and births are an exception.
But most of the time, just sincerely thanking people in person can be better than a pre-printed card

FernieB Tue 19-Jan-10 11:51:31

I'm a stickler for thank you letters. My DD's have to say thank you for every gift they have received (as do I). If they speak to the person on the phone, then that is okay, otherwise they have to write a letter. I look on it as handwriting practice and get them to do it at homework time.

sheeplikessleep Tue 19-Jan-10 11:51:41

I agree that if you have a face-to-face thank you, no need for a letter as well.

It's more the situations of old friends you've not seen / spoken to in ages, you buy presents for their children, put thought into it, trapse up to post office to post them and then get a generic printed thank you back. I'd rather have a catch up phone call and a thank you / reference from the mum / friend. Maybe I'm a little antiquated (is that the word?)

coppit Tue 19-Jan-10 11:55:29

I think you have to judge the occasion.


granny personally delivers a present (bday/christmas or whatever), child opens present, child thanks giver verbally - no letter necessary IMO

gifts to new baby - I would never expect written thanks from a new mother. perhaps verbal thanks next time we spoke, but not a phone call specifically for that purpose

children's birthday parties - I think I will get DS to write cards for that - I am happy with verbal thanks where the present has been opened there and then, but if the present is opened later, some form of thanks is appropriate - card for child, email for parent as appropriate.

displayuntilbestbefore Tue 19-Jan-10 11:56:45

yanbu at all. I write thank you letters/notes and insist that my dcs do the same.
I think we're losing the art of letterwriting in general - so much so that people will end up forgetting how to write properly, so accustomed are they to typing and texting!

It's not being antiquated, it's appreciating that a little effort makes all the difference but people are too lazy these days it seems to make things more personal.

blueshoes Tue 19-Jan-10 11:56:52

I think a generic thank you card is pointless.

It would be better not to send any. It is like the sender saying this is my concession to social convention but really I cannot be arsed and BTW look at the cute picture of me/my dcs. In other words, it comes out being all about the sender of the card and nothing about the gift.

I'd rather a quick personalised email or verbal thank you in passing than a generic thank you card. Or just nothing at all.

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