If nothing else, I have taught my kids that writing a thank you note is mandatory, when receiving a gift. It is not an option. With their eyes rolling, they will again hear about why this habit will be beneficial to them for the rest of their lives.
As the carnage of wrapping paper, boxes, packing peanuts and empty wine bottles make their way out the door, as we return gifts that don’t fit, join the gym (again) and vow to never again eat dessert, the wrap-up of holiday cheer should end on a sweet note. Pun intended.
That sweet note, the thank you note, is an expression of your gratitude for the time, effort and cost someone invested to making you happy. The note reminds us that some things should never go out of style, and that small gestures like a handwritten note are still important in a world of greed and instant gratification.
As technology runs through our daily lives like blood through our veins, it is eye opening to realize what the kids of today do not know how to do. They hardly write anymore, so handwriting can be a struggle for them. And I am started by how unfamiliar I am with what my kids’ handwriting even looks like. They also are not used to looking up an address or phone number, as organization by alphabet is not a routine concept for them. There is no search bar, guys. You have to know that “k” comes before “s”. They also do not immediately know how to organize the address on an envelope, where to place the stamp, how much a stamp costs, or where to include the return address.
Thank you notes are like gold to the grandparents. They love to receive it, displaying it proudly for everyone to see. See, I taught my kids good manners and they taught their kids good manners. (and yes, they may even post a photo of it on Facebook.)
Two candidates for a job with the same qualifications…..one sends a thank you note and the other does not. Who do you think has a slight edge over the other one at that point? How about the new boyfriend, equipped with good table manners and a vocabulary filled with “yes please” and “no thank you”? Sure, he is a convicted felon, but he has manners.
Good manners do not usually work against anyone. In fact they can un-equal the playing field and set you apart. More importantly, writing a thank you note is simply a nice thing to do, the right thing to do, and a sincere way to recognize someone’s thoughtfulness.
It all starts at home. While I cannot follow my kids around forever, waving a package of notecards at them, I can certainly be passive-aggressive about making sure they write them. I am almost 50, and my mother will still say to me, “Oh, that was such a nice gift from Sue. I have her address if you need it.”
Parents never stop looking out for their kids, protecting and training them to do the right thing. They also never get tired of hearing from someone who received a thank you note from their wonderful child. Maybe that last reason is reason enough for us to write thank you notes. Maybe deep inside I know that my parents will find out that I was a good girl, and they will be reminded that they did everything right.