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AIBU?

Flaming thank you cards

31 replies

flexiblebenefit · 13/09/2022 17:38

This has reared its head again. Happens every few years. My children are late teens. They always say thank you for birthday and Xmas grifts. When younger it was fun for them to write little cards but now at 12 16 and 18 they often say thank you via email or text. Nice texts- lengthy with punctuation as they know "old people like full stops" but an electronic thank you all the same. Sometimes for a particularly nice gift they actually call and speak to the person.

I think this is fine. They do it themselves, they're not a generation where sending cards will ever be a thing, and most importantly they are thanking the giver for the gift in a timely manner. MIL thinks that only a formal card will do, and I will no longer force then to do this or facilitate this. The older 2 have A levels and GCSEs and sport and social lives, and they are saying thank you - just not in the format prefers. Even when they call her she still expects a card!

She's grudgingly accepted that this won't happen until this week when she visited her sister. Sister is much older, in a care home. She randomly send middle child a present for their birthday. It was £5.00, a collection of the free cards and pens that you get sent unsolicited by charities and a pair of tights size L in "Barely Black" that she thought size 6 DD could use. DD was touched and realising text or email was inappropriate sent a nice little letter- in fact using a pen and the British heart foundation card from the present. MIL now fuming because, "they can do it, they just choose not to".
Thing is MIL is 20 years younger, very with it, very active online and this obsession with formal cards is just odd and I refuse to make them do it. I haven't even told them it's an issue because it's just another example of her prioritising what things look like over actually having a relationship with the children. Am I wrong?

OP posts:
Onlyhuman123 · 13/09/2022 17:41

I'm with you OP. Any form of 'thank you' is perfectly sufficient, not necessary to send a hand written note. As you say, it's a fun thing to do with young kids but not teens.

And your MIL is fuming?! Good grief! 😳🙄

Cleopatra67 · 13/09/2022 17:42

No - you’re really not. I’ve never made mine do it- still remember the misery of Boxing Day thank you cards. My step mother is still like this and mine are now adults and she still complains to me.

Royalbloo · 13/09/2022 17:43

Nope. It's fine!

AuntieStella · 13/09/2022 17:50

I think you are both right and wrong.

You're right, because your DC are sending thanks in a timely fashion.

But it would please MIL to have a little note. So why not do that? It takes less time than a phone call, and not much longer than an email, and it would brighten someone's day enormously.

I can see why she's smarting that another person gets a handwritten version when she doesn't. Things like age and health aren't really central issues here

Antarcticant · 13/09/2022 17:53

They do it themselves, they're not a generation where sending cards will ever be a thing

I would ask, does this cut both ways? That is, does your MIL make an effort to buy them things they want, appropriate to their age and generation, or does she buy them a pogo stick and a space hopper because she isn't of a generation that would have bought Nike trainers or EarPods or whatever it is that is the 2022 must-have for a teen?

I would say if MIL is making the effort to buy gifts appropriate to their generation, they should thank in a way appropriate to hers. If she's not making much effort, then they shouldn't feel obliged to, either,

flexiblebenefit · 13/09/2022 18:05

Antarcticant · 13/09/2022 17:53

They do it themselves, they're not a generation where sending cards will ever be a thing

I would ask, does this cut both ways? That is, does your MIL make an effort to buy them things they want, appropriate to their age and generation, or does she buy them a pogo stick and a space hopper because she isn't of a generation that would have bought Nike trainers or EarPods or whatever it is that is the 2022 must-have for a teen?

I would say if MIL is making the effort to buy gifts appropriate to their generation, they should thank in a way appropriate to hers. If she's not making much effort, then they shouldn't feel obliged to, either,

Great point. I think that were she otherwise an amazing Gran then I'd have mentioned it to the kids and they'd willingly do it. She's a dutiful Gran - which is fine BTW and frankly I've appreciated her hands off approach over the years- but she's pretty absent. Youngest phoned her last birthday after not seeing her for months as she'd been away and she didn't chat because the golf was on!

The kids get £50 Amazon vouchers every time. If they request (has to be via me otherwise it's "grabby") she will send a different voucher. Never cash as I think she thinks it's common. And this bit stings- she always sends the vouchers electronically TO ME so I'm having to print them out. Actually this is the killer point. I'm definitely not unreasonable

OP posts:
Antarcticant · 13/09/2022 18:09

It sounds to me as though she doesn't show a lot of effort in the relationship generally, so the text or phone call is reasonable. Like you say, if she was a more involved gran, your DC might send cards of their own accord

Mumspair1 · 13/09/2022 18:14

Yanbu, a thank you is a thank you.
I have never sent a thank you card, it was certainly not the done thing when I grew up. We now do a generic thank you short video of ds saying thank you and he appreciates the gift. And I just whatsapp this to everyone. It's seems like this is what everyone does now.

lanthanum · 13/09/2022 18:16

Does MIL send written thank you cards for gifts she receives from your family for birthdays/Christmas?

None of the adults in my family do, so provided DC are willing to ring/text/email, I don't see any reason why they should. Different with someone in a care home, because writing may be the only means of contact.

Angelinflipflops · 13/09/2022 18:18

I do not like receiving thank you cards, they are old fashioned and ott, and a massive anticlimax on opening

Laiste · 13/09/2022 18:29

YANBU
I used to have to spend bloody ages on Boxing day writing out cards to 'Auntie' this and 'uncle' that (not relatives usually, one was the next door neighbour!) because my DM has a bee in her bonnet about effing thank you cards.

I would make my DCs write TYcards to the folks they never saw who sent money or stuff, but the rest - they got a thank you by phone or when the present was handed over.

A couple of years ago my DM was pushing for me to nag my 25 year old DD about writing a bloody thank you note to someone whom she knew damn well that DD'd thanked in person at the time 🙄🙄

BreadInCaptivity · 13/09/2022 18:42

Antarcticant · 13/09/2022 17:53

They do it themselves, they're not a generation where sending cards will ever be a thing

I would ask, does this cut both ways? That is, does your MIL make an effort to buy them things they want, appropriate to their age and generation, or does she buy them a pogo stick and a space hopper because she isn't of a generation that would have bought Nike trainers or EarPods or whatever it is that is the 2022 must-have for a teen?

I would say if MIL is making the effort to buy gifts appropriate to their generation, they should thank in a way appropriate to hers. If she's not making much effort, then they shouldn't feel obliged to, either,

This sums up my perspective pretty well.

The generational gap works both ways.

I have a very elderly (90's) relative, who has always been very thoughtful to me and I know appreciates a written thank you.

She doesn't have "devices" and enjoys displaying the cards on her sideboard (I think to show she has family, is very much loved and appreciated by neighbours/carers).

Put bluntly, you can't put a text or a phone call on the mantelpiece....

However, I don't do this for "younger" relatives (70's) who all have smartphones are are able to use them (it would be different if they found their use difficult).

I'm lucky in that all of them are kind and thoughtful in their gift giving, so I think it's fair my (and my children's) response it equally so.

Upshot is that I don't think there is a set rule anymore.

Being polite is responding appropriately to that specific person in the context of the relationship and the nature of the "thank you".

That said, I absolutely would (did/do) ensure my children send a card to our eldest relative, but not every elder member of the family.

Hope that makes sense.

BreadInCaptivity · 13/09/2022 18:45

Sorry for the typos - it's been a long day, but I'm sure you get the gist of my perspective.

MiauzenKatzenjammer · 13/09/2022 18:53

Your daughter is very generous. I wouldn't have sent any kind of acknowledgement for such a rubbish present.

Antarcticant · 13/09/2022 18:57

MiauzenKatzenjammer · 13/09/2022 18:53

Your daughter is very generous. I wouldn't have sent any kind of acknowledgement for such a rubbish present.

Aww, no, it sounds as though the elderly aunt is a bit confused and wouldn't have understood it wasn't a good present for a teenager. Good on the OP's daughter for her maturity and compassion.

Acheyknees · 13/09/2022 18:59

My DM is like this over thank you cards too. When my kids were small some of her friends would send tat that they didn't want to my DD. My DM said DD must send a card to thank her friend. It got really silly, ugly plastic green handbag she didn't want, old costume jewelry, old make up... Eventually I started refusing the tat, it isn't cheap to send cards these days!

myusernamewastakenbyme · 13/09/2022 19:14

Ughhh my mum was obsessed with people being 'thanked' properly...I can remember being forced to speak to elderly relatives on the phone that i barely knew having to thank them for gifts I didn't want....I made sure with my own children that they thanked the giver when the gift was handed over or sent a text or whatsapp.
I've never needed to be thanked profusely for a gift...i find it bizarre that people are so hung up on it.

forrestgreen · 13/09/2022 19:19

I'd tell her that when she sends them a physical gift or voucher then they'll respond in the same vein - virtually.

Foxglovers · 13/09/2022 19:21

myusernamewastakenbyme · 13/09/2022 19:14

Ughhh my mum was obsessed with people being 'thanked' properly...I can remember being forced to speak to elderly relatives on the phone that i barely knew having to thank them for gifts I didn't want....I made sure with my own children that they thanked the giver when the gift was handed over or sent a text or whatsapp.
I've never needed to be thanked profusely for a gift...i find it bizarre that people are so hung up on it.

I could have written this myself.
It kind of takes away from the idea of giving a gift if it’s only given to have a formal thank you in return!

BreadInCaptivity · 13/09/2022 19:30

forrestgreen · 13/09/2022 19:19

I'd tell her that when she sends them a physical gift or voucher then they'll respond in the same vein - virtually.

Wins the thread...

Tiani4 · 13/09/2022 19:35

My DCa never send Thankyou cards or letters as that's so 1900s!

They take a photo of themselves with the present and WhatsApp it with a "Thankyou I love it it was very kind of you - I will use it at school/home/ my hobby "
That's all any one gets and no one complains a as frankly no one writes Thankyou cards or letters these days- it's not good for the environment
Your MIL is well out of touch with the new gens

Tiani4 · 13/09/2022 19:36

Yanbu at all
Your MIL is a dinosaur 🦕!!
Your DCs say a lovely Thankyou using the medium they know and everyone uses these days

momtoboys · 13/09/2022 19:42

Whenever I read these threads I feel ancient. You do you when it comes to thank you's but I am the awful mother that always made my sons hand write thank you notes. When they graduated from high school they could not have any of their money or gifts until the notes were written. 3 of the five have kept up the practice after becoming young adults.

flexiblebenefit · 13/09/2022 22:39

momtoboys · 13/09/2022 19:42

Whenever I read these threads I feel ancient. You do you when it comes to thank you's but I am the awful mother that always made my sons hand write thank you notes. When they graduated from high school they could not have any of their money or gifts until the notes were written. 3 of the five have kept up the practice after becoming young adults.

I had to do this and resented it. Times change. The ability to email or text wasn't available so of course we wrote- that was the only option. However after a while when so many easier and more convenient options are available isn't it just performative manners- the purpose is surely to say thank you, and frankly a nice text ( which often leads to a brief text flurry "Did you have a nice birthday?" "Well done on your GCSEs", "glad to hear from Mum you're feeling better") is surely providing more actual connection than a grudging card?
We used to have a lot of things when I was a child I'm glad to see the back of...

OP posts:
Duchess379 · 13/09/2022 22:42

I'm with you, op. A thank you is a thank you! 💁🏼

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