I got all my wedding thank-you notes written within a month of receiving the gifts. (Took a bit longer to get them mailed, but oh well.) It took me longer to handle all the new-baby gifts, but Beauty is currently almost six months old and I have written thank-you notes for every single one of the 90+ gifts I received. They’re not up to the old standard Miss Manners uses, mostly because I used blank thank-you notes from Target rather than the personal embossed stationary that I don’t own, but they have at least three sentences and they were written by hand and they will arrive in the mail sometime after Hero gets around to addressing and stamping the rest of them.
And then today I got a thank-you note from a young lady we know who recently had her Bat Mitzvah. As is our practice, we bought a card at CVS and I wrote a short message inside and we enclosed a check. (This process is going to change slightly in that I am tired of picking out themed cards at CVS and have ordered a dozen monogrammed blank cards from etsy for future use.) And in response, we got a one-line email today, thanking us for our generous gift. It didn’t even address us by name, so I suspect she just sent it out as a BCC to everyone who sent her something.
I’m annoyed, honestly. She’s a sweet girl and she probably thinks she has fulfilled her social obligations, and I get that the mountain of gifts seems overwhelming and she figures at least this way I get some sort of note. But would it really kill her to write a decent note? She’s not even in school, since it’s summer now. I wouldn’t have minded email, actually, if it had been an individual note, but we obviously got all the gratitude of taking ten seconds to look up our email addresses and add them to the list.
But I wrote thank-you notes for all my Bat Mitzvah gifts. Actually, I wrote most of them later the same day, as an excuse not to talk to anyone! (I was very tired of socializing and my mother very rightly would not let me hide upstairs.) And I’m going to expect the same thing of my daughter. I have nothing but sympathy for young mothers who may not manage it, and a young bride and groom are also pretty busy and might take a while to finish, but a teen with nothing better to do? My sympathy wears a bit thin.
I don’t mean to be a curmudgeon about this, and I do understand that times are changing and in the future an emailed thank-you note may be perfectly acceptable. But gratitude, and taking time to express it sincerely, should not be left behind.