I love etiquette books and discussing etiquette.
This not because I want everyone to follow “the rules”, but I really like knowing the rules – the history of the rules – and how the rules can sometimes make my life easier.
When having a multigenerational household and getting along with in-laws, I think having common etiquette knowledge and agreeing to certain rules and expectations can help to lessen miscommunication, keep people mostly on the same page, and assist in not inadvertently slighting or hurting someone else’s feelings.
I had to chuckle when I heard Philip Galanes discuss the generational shift around the proper etiquette of writing thank you cards.
Maybe the grandmother (grandparents – to give full credit) who wrote in to Mr. Galanes worked really hard to teach her own children to write thank you cards. Perhaps she had to chase them around their childhood home to get the thank you card task writing done. It is potentially possible that she was chastised at a social function or the ladies’ mixer, in her community, because her kids failed to send out thank you cards on some Passion. And because of all these possible thank you card faux pas – this grandmother is fixated on thank you card etiquette.
And with her own adult children, maybe they hated the entire idea of writing thank you cards. It sucked, it was a burden, and they didn’t get it. If this is the case – it is highly possible these adult parents are not going to encourage or force their own children to go down the thank you card etiquette road.
I’m just making dramatic speculations here because I think the look of sending a thank you card – for this grandmother, adult children, and grandchildren – needs to be expanded.
Yes, the grandchildren should acknowledge the generosity of their grandparents. At the same time, the grandparents can engage in joyful gift gifting without expecting anything in return.
With my kids having grandparents and a great-grandmother living in other states – we get creative with saying thank you. We take a picture of our kids with the gift the grandparents have sent.
We email or text the pictures (hardcopy for their great-grandmother). This is quick and easy thank you feedback. We may even video chat and talk about the gift and have the kids verbally express their gratitude for what their grandparents have sent. With us being busy, going this route keeps us from forgetting to say thank you.
As our days, weeks, and months are going on – if I see my kids using the gift from the grandparents, I’ll snap another picture and send it to the grandparents to show them the grandchildren are still enjoying the gift.
For myself, I enjoy sending a handwritten thank you card and sometimes my children get in the mood to do the same. With all the things I have to coordinate and navigate for my family – doing thank you card battle is definitely not on my list.
How do you feel about thank you cards?
How do your children say thank you to their grandparents?
Grandparents, what type of thank you recognition would you like to receive?