I’d like to apologise straight away for our lack of thank you letters over the last 2 years. More so for N’s birthday presents, because Christmas thank yous were written to those who he didn’t see to say thanks to. But his birthday I’ve struggled to get him to write anything, with it coming soon after Christmas (well, a month! But it was soon after he’d finished his Christmas ones).
Because for me, thank you letters should be written. We always had to as children, and I think it’s a good practice in politeness to say a formal thank you.
Etiquette experts Debretts explain thank you letters a lot better. But essentially, with any gift or help given, a thank you letter should be written as soon as possible after the occasion. Easier said than done when your child gets bored after writing:
‘Thank you for my xyz. It is/was or I did xyz for my birthday’.
With N I suggested drawing a picture and just saying thank you, but once he’s on auto, there’s no stopping him. The issue is getting him to start in the first place.
Ok, so letters are old fashioned, and if you’re writing a few, then it takes a while and can be pricy with stamps. But it’s so nice to receive a handwritten note. Especially if you don’t see the child that frequently, it makes the donor feel like the recipient is appreciative of them and the gift. Plus it reflects well on the parents bringing up the child to be polite.
With family, N usually opens gifts with them, so a hug and an immediate thank you is fine. I’d rather he did draw them a picture or write a quick note, but I don’t think it’s expected. He’s pretty prolific with his hugs anyway.
For his birthday, he did write a thank you card to my best friend (his godmother), and another friend who sent him some money. But gifts from children who came to his birthday treat were left unanswered. I wrote out his list (it was only 2 cards, the other was family) but I couldn’t get him to write them. What’s worse is that he received a thank you card from his friend only a few weeks later, showing N up, but that still didn’t make him do one.
Some people aren’t too worried about thank you letters. I tend to text to my friends when we exchange gifts to say thanks, but if we do that for N’s gifts, it’s not really from him. And an email is probably more hassle than getting him to do a letter.
So for the time being, I’ll keep working on the thank you letter writing. Maybe next year will be different and he’ll just whip them off with no complaining. Or maybe it’ll be the same, and by the time I can persuade him, it’s probably miles too late.
Do you insist on your children writing thank you letters?