Etiquette of thank you letters - Bubablue and me

The etiquette of thank you letters

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 of thank you letters - Bubablue and me

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?

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  1. I have mixed thoughts on thank you letters. I do they they are polite but I think any form of thank you is sufficient. I hated being made to write thank you letters as a child.

  2. I am very much all about pushing my kids to say thank you if they are given a gift or someone does something for them. However, thank you notes or cards have always been difficult. A reluctant child and a busy life has meant it never really happened. Overall though I am always tough about manners. #sharingthebloglove

  3. I always adore the hand written thank you notes and Christmas cards from my grandmother. She is also on top of every birthday and holiday with hand written notes delivered with time to spare. While I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up with her there, I can definitely manage thank you notes and am hoping to get my daughter in the habit. She is currently only one and a half, but I give her crayons and stamps to decorate and put her mark on anything we send!

  4. We’ve got some nice cards that we get the Tubblet to write a few sentences in so the person knows the gift has arrived safely and it’s appreciated. We usually bung in a few photos as well. Although I totally agree with the concept of thank you letters, the reality of trying to get someone to do it is completely different

  5. Hi, we always wrote thank you letters when were children. It is so nice to receive a thank you letter from a child be it a family member or a friends child. They are lovely to keep #sharingthebloglove

    1. I agree. My nephews/niece have never written one to us as we see them all the time and on the day we hand the present over, but I always get a thank you card from my godson

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  7. I’ve always done a short thank you note for Christmas and Birthday presents the girls have received. This will be the first year that Alice will them herself. She loves to write and will love doing it. It’s a great way for her to practice her writing. I don’t think I will force them if they don’t want to. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    1. Yes, I use it as a practice for writing as well. N is quite productive once he gets going, but it’s all dependent on when he wants to do it.

  8. I was always made to write thank you letters, and I do think it’s important to teach your children to say thank you. But I do think in this day and age there are so many quicker and easier ways to do it. I tend to think that the thought counts, so I’m happy with whatever way people like to say thank you – a facebook message, a phone call, a text – as long as there’s a thank you I think that’s fine. I suspect I’ll have trouble getting Max to sit down and write thank you letters! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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