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)
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.