It May Be Old-Fashioned, But It’s Polite!

Sometimes I feel that politeness and gratitude have left us all. Folks of my generation were brought up to write thank-you notes when you received a gift. It was a polite way of saying to the giver that 1) you received their gift, and 2) you enjoyed it. It’s sad that we can’t seem to find the time to let the giver know that his/hers gift was received and appreciated.

I wrote the following quite a while ago, but it still stands.

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Back in the dark ages when I was growing up, when someone gave you a gift for your birthday, Christmas; whatever—you always wrote a thank-you note to the person who gave you a gift. It was considered extremely rude and selfish not to do so; after all, that person who gave you a gift spent both time and money picking it out (or making it themselves).

Here are some examples of good thank-you notes:

  1. “Dear Aunt Alice, thank you so much for the beautiful scarf you sent me; I love it! The colors are lovely, and I have already worn it. It goes with nearly everything I own, and I have gotten many compliments on it already. It was sweet of you to think of me, and again, thank you so much!”
  2. “Dear Uncle Joe, I was so surprised and so happy to receive your wonderful gift of the painting that Auntie Barb painted! I have loved that painting for years, and it now is in pride of place in our living room where we can enjoy it every day. Thank you so much!”
  3. “Dear Grandma, I am thrilled that you gifted me with the beautiful gold necklace that your brother brought back from the war! You have told me the story of it so many times, and I am so grateful that you gifted me with it. I will wear it proudly and with love every single day.”

And here are some examples of terrible thank-you notes:

  1. “Dear Granny, my mom made me sent you this note. Thanks for the suitcase, but I never go anywhere. Do you want it back?”
  2. “Dear Uncle Len, why would you ever send me an old book that my great grandfather wrote? I never read books anyway.”
  3. “Dear So and So, I got your gift. I didn’t like it so I gave it away.”

So what’s the big deal about thank-you notes? Basically, this is it:

A thank-you note lets the giver know that 1) you received the gift, 2) that you like the gift, and 3) that you acknowledge that the giver went out of their way to buy the gift, wrap it up nicely, and went to the post office to send it. If it truly isn’t anything you like, you really don’t have to tell the giver that; it truly IS the thought that counts.

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