Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Wednesday Wonderings - Should children write thank you letters?

Posted by Rosie

The tree is down, the turkey is but a distant memory and that slightly tight feeling around the waist all that remains to remind you of those Christmas chocolates you scoffed ... oh and all those extra things around the house, the children's presents!  In our house, at least, there is one more reminder of Christmas ... the writing of thank you letters.  As soon as they were old enough to write their names and draw something we got the boys to send a thank you card to anyone who had given them a present but who had not been there to see them open it and it is something they continue to do now.  We feel it's important that they take the time to say thank you, respecting the fact that presents don't just miraculously appear under the tree but some-one went to the effort of buying or making it.  It helps them to learn also, that no-one is under any obligation at all to give them anything anyway.  Finally it keeps alive the tradition of pen to paper writing rather than texting or messaging on social media.



We read an article several years ago from a mother who said she would not make her children write thank you letters - "after all," she went on the explain, "they had so many presents that she could not keep track and some were just tossed over the back of the sofa and ignored during the frenzy of unwrapping." (or words to that effect)


EXCUSE ME??

So many presents she couldn't keep up?
Tossed over the back of the sofa?

Call me old fashioned or tight-fisted, or even both, but in my opinion, those children had far too many presents.  It's all a bit different here at Eco-Gites of Lenault.

The boys both get a stocking and now know that we buy the presents in it.  They include inexpensive items such as a giant paper-clip, a jar of (palm oil free) chocolate spread, highlighter pens, a cheap DVD (which they watch so we can have a bit more time in bed on Christmas Day), the obligatory packet of maltesers plus a satsuma ... oh and a pot of meat paste because that is what Hacker from CBBC likes!!  Later then get their "big" presents - this year they included between them: books, a game, a sports bag, a mug, some money, a remote control car, another DVD, a car kit, a Diary of the Wimpy Kid dressing gown and some Father Christmas eggcups.  Some of these came from us and Sally (their aunt) who was over here for Christmas, but others were from friends and family who were not here and it isto these people that thank you letters are written.

We don't demand reams and reams from them but as they are now both at secondary school we do ask for a couple of sentences making them more that a "Dear so and so, thank you for, love T/B" sort of affair!  Their writing is usually accompanied with some grumblings but to be honest once we get them going they don't take long - this year there were 6 to write.  4 down and 2 to go!

What do you think though?  Peter Ormerod of the Guardian thinks they should not be made to write them but The Thank You Diva thinks they should.  Do your children  write thank you letters or does a quick message on Facebook suffice, or a phone call or maybe you do nothing at all?  If you do get them to write is it done under sufferance or undertaken gladly?  I would love to know if we are in the majority or minority when it comes to this post Christmas job.

Mummy Alarm


15 comments :

  1. Absolutely they should! There is nothing so pleasurable as receiving a 'real' letter in the post, and the very least we can do is afford someone that pleasure after they've taken the time to choose and send a gift.

    On Christmas morning this year I was scribe. I wrote down everything that was received from outside of the immediate household. My eldest did thankyous on the phone on the 25th and 26th, and we've followed those up with a card (eldest) and picture (youngest) since. I can't say the kids have rushed to the table to write them, but there's not been too much grumbling as I've only been asking for one per sit down session. I'm pleased to report that there's only one remaining to write, and that's one to my sister's children that I'll be writing myself :)

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  2. Mine are too little at the moment but I think it's a great idea, after all there's never any reluctance among kids to write a letter to Santa asking for something is there??x

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  3. Definitely, although we never liked doing them ourselves I now know just how much they're appreciated when they're received.

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  4. I am all for thank you letters! As my kids are small, I write them, but everyone gets them and I must admit, it annoys me when I hear nothing from people we've sent gifts, too, not even a text, let alone a letter. My daughter is now starting to write, so she'll be writing her own from next Christmas.

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    1. It is such a simple thing to do but so important.

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  5. My children write thank you letters, well this year I made the cards, BB wrote the message and all three children signed their names, that's as much as they are capable of at the moment. Children should learn to respect things and be grateful that someone has made an effort to think of them and give them something, so it is polite to thank them back.

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    1. I could not agree more, Karen. A thank you is so easy to do but so important.

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  6. Mine always write thank you cards - sometimes Santa even puts a set of lovely cards for just that in the stocking. If my kids complain about it I always explain that they were happy enough to receive the present, and that's that! I also make a list as they unwrap so we avoid the 'I can't remember' problem (so the ungrateful mother you mention at the start of the post is falling short on that too!!!). In the past I have stopped buying for a relative, who NEVER said, or wrote, or even texted to say thank you. I was cross with her parents of course really! #PinItParty

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    1. I would have been cross too. I do like your idea of thank you cards in stockings, I might pinch that one for this Christmas.

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  7. I have a post just like this, great minds and all that, it is always a chore to do but i still make them write them for all the older generation & godparents

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    1. And what's the betting our kids will get THEIR kids to write them too! I hope they do.

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  8. I think it's important too and if they are too little, it's a lovely touch to send a painting or a little craft project. It's just nice to show that you are grateful for what you've received.

    Thanks for linking up with Monday Parenting Pin It Party x

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