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Do You Still Write Thank You Cards?

By Edited Jul 13, 2016 1 4

Are Thank You Cards Still Necessary?

Or is it just old fashioned?

Do You Still Write Thank You Cards?
This situation has been is an issue in the Dear Abby column for as long as I can remember. A grandparent/aunt/cousin continually sends gifts to mark special occasions, and they never receive a thank you card or call from the recipient. They want to teach this person a lesson, so they write in to Dear Abby to ask permission to not send a gift.

She always says that it is fine to stop sending presents if you are feeling unappreciated. A gift is not an obligation, it is something you want to give. If someone is ungrateful and never gives any kind of acknowledgement, why bother? An empty card will speak loudly and clearly and may open up a conversation that needs to be had.

Growing up, my mother always displayed the thank you cards she and my father received in the mail after they had given someone a gift. She still does this!

My daughter, on the other hand, reads and tosses it. She wants to know what the point is in sending a card when you can email or text your gratitude. She isn't ignoring the gift giver, she is just relaying her thanks in a different manner.

Is this a generational issue?

My Personal Take on Thank You Cards

I am a big believer in writing thank you cards. When I had a conversation about it with a friend, she wanted to know why I was annoyed when I did not receive one from a person.

I really had to think about it, and it boiled down to this...

When I send someone a gift, it represents a lot more than the item, check, or gift card that I am giving. First, I have to work to earn the money to buy a present. That may mean saying yes to a sub assignment that I really do not wish to take because I have so many other things going on in my life, but the need for additional income for extra items (like your gift).

There is the time factor to consider. While gift cards are easy and convenient for some people on my list, for others, I like to give something more personal. That means taking the time to shop, whether it be in a brick and mortar store or online. The gift that I give also represents time that I had spent on you when I may have had other things that I needed or wanted to do.

When you think about it, there is more involved in buying a gift that meets the eye.

How to Write a Thank You Card

It is really very simple!

How to Write a Thank You Note
I believe that people dread taking the time to write the actual notes than doing the deed itself, as it takes away from doing other things. The more presents you have, the more time consuming the task.

Notes of appreciation do not have to be long and flowery, but they do have to be personalized. For example, here is one that I just wrote to one of my students when she gave me an end of the year gift.

Dear Leah,

Thank you so much for the Stabucks gift card, I like to buy hot vanilla lattes when I go there, and I will think of you on my next visit! It was so thoughtful of you to remember me.

I really enjoyed being your teacher this year. Have a fantastic summer!


Mrs. mommymommymommy 

Yes, it is time consuming to repeat this twenty times, but I am so happy that people have taken the time to show their appreciation for what I do for their children.

Three or four sentences is adequate to convey your thoughts of gratitude.

Big No-No's When Writing a Card of Gratitude

Is it better to receive some kind of card than none at all?

bigthanks Thank You Cards
I am a big believer in modeling the behavior you want your children to learn. My kids have seen me write thank you cards to my students for years, so when I tell them to write theirs for the gifts they have received, I am only asking them to do what I already do.

I break down the task into small amounts, like write five at a time, so they do not feel overwhelmed. One rule that I have is that they cannot spend any gift cards or cash until the thank you note has been written!

Over the years, I have received thank you notes that are shortcuts. To me, not only does this show bad manners, but it also demonstrates a lack of appreciation for the present that was received. These are some of the faux pas I have received:

1. Including a thank you note in the goody bag. It was written before the gift was received!

2. A mass email from the parent, thanking everyone on the list for their gift.

3. Not sending a card or note at all!

Perfect for Boys and Girls

Colorful Balloons Fill-in Birthday Thank You Cards
Amazon Price: $14.95 $11.95 Buy Now
(price as of Apr 3, 2016)
This fill in the blank thank you card is perfect for both boys and girls. With bright colors and just enough space, four and five year olds can easily fill this out on their own with just a little bit of help from you.

Different Kinds of Thank You Notes

Fill in the Blank Cards

Once your child is about four or five years old, s/he can write their own thank you notes. One of the best inventions for teaching your child the habit of writing notes to family and friends are fill in the blank cards for kids.  Children can pick a favorite character or theme and  write the person's name,the name of the gift, and sign their own name. Young children feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when they do something themselves.

Picture/Photo Cards

Photo Script Thank You Cards

When I was a new mommy back in 1995, there were no photo thank you notes available. I had to develop pictures of my daughter at the store or give everyone a picture from the photo package that I bought. Picture cards did not exist back then! Now parents can select a single photo or a collage of photos for their thank you cards. You can choose from greeting card size, note card size, or even a postcard. These kinds of cards can be used for children of any age, and all of these designs can be customized

Blank Cards

Finally, there is the old fashioned blank photo card for the person to write their words of gratitude and appreciation.  A few handwritten sentences go a long way in making the gift giver feel acknowledged.

In my opinion, writing a thank you card should never go out of style.

A Touch of Whimsy

Spring Collection Thank You Cards - 24 Cards & Envelopes
Amazon Price: $19.95 $12.95 Buy Now
(price as of Apr 3, 2016)
This set of six designs permits you to send just the right note to just the right person.


Jul 31, 2014 9:42am
Hi Mommy--Thought this was an important article--my wife ALWAYS writes thank you cards and notes and now and then we receive them too. In fact, its nice to know that someone went to a little bit of trouble to show appreciation or let you know they had a good time. Two thumbs and a rating from me.
Aug 1, 2014 12:52pm
Marlando, it truly takes time to find just the right gift. Just yesterday I had to take my kids to a store to buy one of their friends a birthday present. A note of thanks for my time and effort is not asking for much, in my opinion. Thanks for reading!
Jan 13, 2015 12:42pm
I love the balloon cards, because they can teach young children to write these notes. What a great idea.
Feb 3, 2015 6:49am
If you start them when they are young, it hopefully will become a habit.
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