‘Tis the season for graduations and weddings! Thus, it’s also a season for gift-giving! Some might opt to shop for the perfect gift while others may rely on gift registries, cash or gift cards. Nevertheless, we purchase celebratory gifts on these and many other occasions.
At one time, etiquette rules dictated a handwritten thank you note for each gift received. But, you know, over the past five to ten years, I’ve noticed this tradition is no longer a priority for many people. I really don’t keep track of whom “owes” me a card of thanks. It’s just something I’ve inadvertently observed.
Perhaps, I’m a sentimental middle-aged woman who longs for the days when cards, notes and letters arrived in the mailbox instead of the inbox. I realize technology has influenced how we congratulate and offer support to others.
I know I’m guilty of sending a Facebook “hApPY bIrTHdaY” message to relatives and friends instead of mailing an actual greeting card. I know others utilize e-cards or e-vites.
All very convenient, but sometimes; I crave a more personal touch. I do love handwritten letters and creative letter-writing. However, I’m only asking for a simple note of thanks following an act of kindness or as an expression of gratitude.
Maybe that’s too much to expect.
Is this lapse due to technology or is it an attitude of entitlement or is it just a lost art? Perhaps parents no longer teach their children this common courtesy. Or, possibly it’s because schools are doing away with teaching cursive handwriting and do not stress the importance of penmanship.
Students learn to keyboard at an early age and rarely need encouragement to practice these skills. So, why not just send out an email, text, Facebook “thank you” or possibly mail a photocard?
I suppose these gestures would be better than nothing…but barely!
Both of my kids understood that they would need to write thank you notes following their graduation parties. I know it seemed daunting due to the volume of writing required. I did offer a few suggestions:
- State the literal “thank you”.
- Refer to the specific gift and how it will be used.
- Add a personal flair. Recall a memory. Make a relational comment.
- Use legible handwriting.
My daughter completed hers within a few days of her graduation while my son completed his at a more leisurely pace. In my opinion, it’s “better late than never!”
I believe it’s time we reinstitute the good ‘ol handwritten thank you note! We all need to do our part in keeping the United States Postal Service in business!