• Thu, Jan 30 - 1:00 pm ET

Anonymous Mom: Thanks, But I Won’t Be Sending You A Thank You Card

‌vintage-thank-you-cardMy kids are polite. They say “thank you” and “please” without prompting. They are considerate. They share. My older one voluntarily gives part of her allowance each week to help kids who “don’t have as many toys as I do.” They are good, grateful kids.

But they don’t write thank you notes, because I’ve never asked them to. And I don’t usually send them out on their behalf.

This is a very unpopular opinion, I know. And it’s not a blanket thing for me. Weddings, showers, anything mailed to our house–these things deserve, and get, a thank you note from our family. But Christmas and birthday presents for the kids? No. Any time my kids can thank the gift giver directly, they do, and that just seems like that should be enough.

My parents never asked us to write thank you notes, nor did they send them out for us, although they were insistent that we were appreciative. So I never got in the habit. As I mentioned, throughout my wedding process and showers/presents for my babies, I did write notes. I was touched and grateful for how much was given to our family, and I said so. I write notes for many things, like congratulations on new jobs or even deaths, in which I usually share a memory of the person who has died. A note of encouragement of sympathy makes sense to me. But I don’t strictly write a thank you note for every present I have ever received. And I don’t think that makes me a bad person, or a bad mom.

What seems to me to be a hell of a lot more toxic are people who are obsessively keeping score. I know people who are constantly complaining about how long it took to get a note, or what form the note came in, or something along those lines. They always find something to criticize. I have heard people declare that if they do not receive a note, they will no longer buy for that person. That, to me, is so much worse and much more shocking than an absence of a thank you note. Do we give gifts simply to receive adulation? Do we really have to find yet another thing to judge people for? I really hope not.

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  • Melissa

    Yeah, it’s pointless and kind of douche-y to hold a grudge or make a big production of withholding future gifts if you don’t receive a thank-you card. But overall, sending a thoughtful note isn’t very time consuming in the grand scheme of things (if you keep some cards and stamps on hand, writing out a few thank yous takes less time than posting a comment on, say, mommyish), it’s a really nice thing to do, and it might make someone’s day–especially grandparents–yes, even if you already thanked them in person. I can understand stressful life circumstances or a bout of “momnesia” as excuses, but to be intentionally against thank-you cards for no reason other than it being inconvenient will strike most people as lazy.

  • MeLuRe

    I hate thank you notes because I have been badgered for them my whole life, even after personally thanking members of my Mom’s side of the family. My Uncle has stopped giving my children gifts because he doesn’t remember that I thanked him over the phone for some Christmas gifts 2 years ago. Guess what, I realize a thank you note is ideal, but I am not going to stress myself out writing thank yous for myself plus two kids…that is for weddings and baby showers…also for people who don’t complain about not receiving one (if I am in the mood).

  • Victoria Wheeler

    I sense selfishness and entitlement. Why should people do nice things for those who dont have the kindness to acknowlege the goodness of others? Guess what, they won’t.

  • Sarah Izzett Sikora

    We took my daughters friend on vacation with us one summer and a couple weeks after we returned I received a nice little thank you note for taking her on vacation with us. I thought that was the nicest, sweetest gestures…..but I never got my daughter in the habit of doing that. It was like pulling teeth to get her to write thank you notes for her graduation presents. In the end, she ended up writing generic thank you cards and wasn’t even gift specific or personable. I am just happy she finally got them down after 4 mths of hounding her.

  • Heather

    Thanks for standing up against the madness!!