Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Write Stuff

"Ms Manners" says that while written thank you notes are the gold standard (noting who doesn't like to receive written cards or letters in the mail), they aren't the only 'right' way to say thank you anymore, and one must consider the source. For example, if you normally correspond in email, she says email is fine. She argues that the important thing is to acknowledge a kindness. That's true. That is always the important thing. That's one reason I usually shoot off an email to let the person know I've received their gift or whatever, and will be following up with a written note of thanks. My mom ingrained into me to write a thank you note within 24 hours. I still maintain, despite what MM says, a handwritten note is the only real appropriate response to acknowledge someone's kindness and thoughtfulness.

In the sour grapes department, for instance, I needlepointed a huge Christmas stocking for my darling grand daughter that took more than 3 months and cost upwards of $300 in materials and finishing costs, not to mention the time it took. Although it was something I wanted to do, I am still appalled my step daughter didn't do much more than smile when she opened it and put it aside. A lot of effort and love went into something unique that Parker will, I hope, treasure in her life as she grows older.

But back to writing--as far as birthday greetings are concerned? I'm sorry - if you're going to 'send' me an electronic greeting card, or post on FB after being reminded by FB, please don't bother. I'd even prefer an email note. I'm not much for phoning it in. I went to the store, picked out a card I thought would be amusing to you, and mailed it with a special stamp. If you can't be bothered, fine. But remember actions speak louder than words, and I'm one of those dinosaurs of etiquette who still conforms to standards that are fading away.

Talk Show, Dick Cavett's latest book culled from his newspaper columns and blogs, is excellent, to the point I have read his other two books. As clever as his shows were, I laughed at his anticdotes and remembrances on every page.
Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James, takes up 6 years after Jane Austen's most famous characters married, fared -- the murder mystery involves the younger sister Lydia and her earstwhile husband who Darcy had to pay off to have her married to prevent scandal so he could marry Elizabeth...


Ms. A said...

Heck fire, I'd settle for any kind of acknowledgment of the gifts and investments of time and money I've made for others over the years. Not even acknowledging has not only spoken loudly to me, I'm taking notes and learning who will no longer be receiving things from me. Sure does cut down on my time and money!

Jane said...

I've increasingly moved away from sending people cards to acknowledge birthdays and holidays, because I'm not actually a big fan of cards. I think they're silly things that just get read once for a few seconds, and then eventually get thrown away. I'd rather give someone something that will either make a greater impression or last longer.

Thank you notes are a different thing altogether. My boyfriend teases me because I still send thank you notes for Christmas and birthday gifts (especially to my grandmother). However, I usually only send TY notes to people who mailed or sent gifts to me, and who thus weren't present for me to say thank you personally. I sort of feel like if you're there, saying thank you then is enough. Although, I go out of my way to really say thank you, and I'll tell you why: I actually really hate giving obligatory gifts on certain occasions (birthdays, Christmas, etc), and would much rather give people spontaneous gifts that made me think of them. So I always consider it an honor to get an obligatory gift from other people, and I make sure to show my gratitude exceptionally at the time. I hope that works for my friends. No one has ever complained, certainly, and I'm still getting gifts. :-p

ReformingGeek said...

Our world is changing. Hats off to you for keeping your standards but most of us won't be there with you.

Some young people just don't have the same feelings about handmade gifts such as your beautiful stocking, especially when it's one of many gifts they will receive at Christmas. I'm older and more sentimental. I would love your stocking!

Most of the gifts I receive are received in person and a personal thank you is given. Later, I try to follow up with a mention of the gift and how I am enjoying using it.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I ALWAYS send hand written thank you notes. I don't think it should be a lost art in our technological age. I find it rude when people don't even acknowledge their gifts. (step daughter)

A blogger friends found something that reminded her of me - and never having met me - she sent it to me. I was so tickled with the gift! A hand written card was in the mail in a matter of hours. An email certainly went out to express how her thoughtfulness thrilled me. But I still send the card!

injaynesworld said...

I completely agree with you on thank-you notes. What appalls me is many kids in school today aren't being taught handwriting because they're always on a keyboard. I do admit to the occasional FB birthday greeting, but not for my closest friends or family.

Wishing to well, Amy.

Retired English Teacher said...

I hear you! I couldn't agree more. A note of thanks would be awesome. I would also settle for an acknowledgment. Since I raised my kids myself, I guess I can only blame myself for their lack of acknowledgment for gifts and all I do.

I am sorry for the response you got on Christmas. It seems that few even understand all that went into the gift you made. It all goes along with the decline of civility that we see all around us.