Wednesday, September 17, 2008


It is birthday season in our family. It is kicked off in August, when my sister has hers, then my nephew has his, followed shortly by Eli's. Then comes my BIL's, then mine and my MIL's (we share the date) and then Adelay's followed shortly by my SIL. Before my grandpa passed away, his was sandwiched in between my BIL's and mine and MIL's. All of this leads to lots of fun, of course, but LOTS of parties and food and gifts.

So... I have a question regarding the gift part of this. Do you send thank you notes, like real, live licked-and-stamped thank you notes? Do you send them just for random, above and beyond acts of niceness, or for ANY gift received by any of your family members, even if it is Christmas and each family member received about a gazillion apiece?


LoriD said...

The way our family does it:

- if you received the gift in person, thank them at the time, follow-up with an email thank you.

- if you received the gift by mail, or the other person wasn't there to see you open it, send a paper & stamp real thank-you note

- Grandmas & Grandpas always get real thank-you notes once the kid is old enough to contribute to the note (with a picture or writing it out themselves) because Grandmas and Grandpas live for that kind of thing

- Kids always send out real notes after a "friends" birthday party

Hillary said...

I love thank you notes, but I'm really the only one in my family that uses them regularly. My policy is thank-you notes for birthdays, special or random gifts, and any gifts that the giver didn't get to see me open, including Christmas.

For in person gifts at Christmas, I think you can forgo a thank-you note because everyone is there and all warm and fuzzy and thankful anyway.

Anonymous said...

Yes to written thank you notes. I teach my daughter: If someone spent the time and energy and money to get you a gift (any gift, by the way), it is rude not to take the two minutes it takes to send a thank you note. It appears ungrateful.

You can scan/print or photocopy a drawing your daughter made, with her name and age, and write a short note on that to send. People love that.


Jess said...

I send emails. Does that make me rude?

Although for wedding gifts we are sending real notes in the mail.

Fine For Now said...

Yep, I do thank you notes for any gift that the person was not there to see get opened :o)

TheMusingMommy said...

yes, thank you notes all the way.

d e v a n said...

Here is what I do:
- if the gift comes in the mail I send an email asap and let them know I got it and thank them. Then, when I get around to it, I send them a "real" Thank you.

- If they give it in person, I say thank you (for us or the kids) and send a thank you later.

- for birthday parties I often do emails because I can never seem to get them out on time, or get the right address, etc. The kids will have to write them when they get older though.

Swistle said...

The official Miss Manners rule is that although it's never wrong to send a thank-you note, it's not needed for gifts opened in the presence of the giver.

BRash said...

I like to send thank you notes, even for presents giving right in front of the giver, but for things like christmas where you get a lot of loot, I just send one note highlighting the top 1 or two or three gifts. Here's an easy formula I always use:

Elizabeth said...

I send a a written stamped thank you note for EVERYTHING. The only exception is that I don't send thank you notes to the people I actually live with, and I don't send thank you notes back - as in, thank you for the thank you.
But otherwise, yep, always with the thank you.

Erin said...

For me, it depends on whether the gifter usually sends them. My sisters never do, for example, which is fine with me, and therefore I don't send thank yous to them either. A friend of mine always sends them, so I send them to her too. Unless of course it's something especially generous our thoughtful, in which case I'll send one.

Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

Totally depends whether the gifter sends them, as erin said.

Exception being Grandparents and family that are obviously fans of that type thing.

Also, when kids get old enough to do their own, I think it's great practice for them to realize what it means to be grateful instead of entitled.

Mommy Daisy said...

If someone gives me a gift in person, I thank them then. If it was sent to me, I will send them a thank you card. I'm better about sending thank you's for Zachariah's gifts than my own.

Jill said...

Re: Swistle's post-- that makes it seem like Miss Manners doesn't thnk it's necessary to send a thank you for a shower gift. That's contrary to any etiquette rule I've heard, but maybe she just means for Christmas or birthdays.
I think I got way more strict about thank yous after my wedding, and now I get slightly huffy if I don't receive one, but maybe that's just me.

I don't do thank yous for Christmas, even if we don't exchange together. I guess I figure exchanging gifts, rather than simply receiving one, cancels out the need for a thank you note. I do them for birthdays and other random gifts/favors. But then, I actually enjoy sending mail. I sent my friend a thank you for a gift the other day and she emailed me back and thanked me for the thank you note...I think some people are surprised to ever get real mail like that anymore.

Astarte said...

I do not do thank-you notes for gifts received in person. If I get something in the mail, and it's a friend, I send an email. If the kids get something in the mail, I have them draw a picture and send that. If someone who doesn't have email sends me something, like an elderly person or my mother, I call or send a note. I think that as long as you express gratitude somehow, it's all good.

Kelsey said...

I nearly always send in the mail thank yous, but I ENJOY doing so. And it nearly always takes me longer than it should, which probably negates the thoughtfulness of sending them. Now that Harper is old enough to draw a picture, I make her help with her birthday thank yous, but I usually send collective thank you's for Christmas (I'll write the note and mention everyone's gifts so the whole family is covered.).

kati said...

i love thank you notes! i send them for every gift, received in person or not.

although if you got multiple gifts from one person, like at christmas, then you only send one note!

thank you notes are one of the last reasons to get any personal mail anymore. and who doesn't like a little personal mail mixed in with the bills?

i think the lack of thank you notes these days (and i'm only 29 here) is horrible. i go to WEDDINGS where i don't even get thank you notes for WEDDING gifts!

just write them, people!

Musings of a Mom said...

I think to give a gift and then get annoyed when you don't get a thank you note is rude, personally. If you give a gift, you shouldn't be expecting something in return.

But that's probably because it's incredibly difficult for me to remember/ send thank you notes. I've sent them out a year late before.