21 November 2007

Gift Giving

With the holiday season coming up, this post might be timely. I thought I'd write a post (read RANT here folks) on etiquette. Where'd it go? Do people not think about acknowledging a gift with a simple spoken "thank you" or drop an email or even a snail mail thank you card? Arggh!

So what brought this on?

This past summer, I had the opportunity to attend a familial get together to celebrate a 2nd cousin's college graduation with her master's degree. I am on a limited income and to gift money, I have to budget. Which is what I did. It wasn't hundreds, by no means, but it was what I could afford. She opened the cards and gifts in another room so I know she got the money. Was there any kind of acknowledgment? No. I doubt if there ever will be. This relative will not receive another gift from me.

Second installment this year happened fairly recently. I sent some handmade baby receiving blankets and hand knit sox to a niece and never received a "Hi, how are you, thanks". This is the second time this has happened with this person. I was thanked for the handmade afghan (wedding gift) after prodding from her mother.

Both of these girls are of the same generation. Could that be it? Am I expecting too much? Should I stop sending gifts to the niece too? I do have a three-strikes you're out policy. Do I really want to spend more time and effort on a handmade gift when I know I'll be treated the same way? Questions, questions and decisions to be made.

Is it just my family in which this happens or is the lack of etiquette more pervasive?

On a more positive note, the ponies and miniature horses were playing tag this morning. With their manes streaming and their breath going out in clouds, they were having fun kicking up last night's snow!


  1. Oh dear ... lot of that going around ... you could try one more time, and send her a box of Thank You notes ...

    Sometimes I am truly amazed at the things people have NOT been taught, but you know, maybe THAT is the problem. (Trying to be kind here.)

  2. I am always grateful for any gift! I hope that I have always remembered to say thank you. I am bad at thank you cards, but even just a big hug and a thank you isn't too hard for these relations to do!!

  3. I wish I knew what it was. I know my mother has stopped giving gifts to one set of my cousins because of lack of thank yous. I also know that I have "slipped" once in awhile in getting a thank you card out. But -- I was also taught that if you can't write the thank you note -- you can't keep the gift. My daughter will be taught the same (when she can write -- for now Mommy will do it for her. Speaking of which -- thanks for the reminder that I need to go and pick up some thank you cards for Christmas gifts.

  4. I have no answer to this issue. It is our tradition to send thank you notes. Along with that an email so the wonderful gift giver knows that the package arrived safely and is appreciated!

    I send gifts to my sister and her family. She doesn't bother to tell me that it made it's way across the world to Italy...it is no small task to get a package to her doorstep either! I don't know what to say...she was taught the same manners that I was. Now she hints at the lack of packages, but it's just not so much fun to send them anymore...

    A phone call, or emailed thank you notes are fine with me (just my opinion, but less card- stock in landfill is ok).

    Sorry your gift recipients are not more thoughtful! We've all been there...thanks for sharing! :)

    PS: I have a friend who once sent me a thank you note for a lovely thank you note that I sent to her, lol! This became a tradition...

  5. I like Kim's idea of the email and the thank you note. I was taught from an early age that a thank you was required for any gift (thanks, Mom!), and that you had to write the note and mention the specific gift - if it was $$, then what you planned to do with it. I don't always get them out as quickly as I'd like, but they do get out.

    There is a distinct lack of this these days, which makes me sad. If you can't get the note out, then at least call.

  6. No, you are not alone. That is just what happened to me and my neice. So I don't waste my time with gifts for her. It is not the thank you that I want, it is the acknowledgemnt that I was thinking of her. That is what is important to me. It is the closeness. And that is sadly missing sometimes. My son was taught that he must immediate call the gifter and thank them, then write a thank you immediately in the next mail. I hope he remembers that!!


  7. I'm SO with you on this. I've stopped gifts for my nieces and nephews (all same family) because I never knew if they were received. This was when they were young enough to be told by mom to call and than us.....Very annoying.

  8. It's a generational thing - you are expected to give them a gift, so it is no big deal that you did. They are used to getting, and not having to give anything in return. I have tried to teach my daughter, but it is hard to fight this sense of entitlement. We don't send thank you cards here, but certainly we can say thank you. In your case, since you delivered the gift personally, they wouldn't even have had to pick up the phone or go through any extra effort to say thank you.

  9. I received a nice little thank you note this week from a bride and groom. I was delighted to get it. Her mother taught her something.
    I've never had a thank you note from my DILs, not even an e-mail thank you.
    My grandchildren have not learned to write yet (at 15 and 12?).

  10. I think NOT saying thank you has become a trend in today's world and not JUST with the younger generation! We stopped all gift giving a few years ago and just send cards for xmas/birthday. I definately wouldn't spend a lot of time or money on someone who doesn't bother to acknowledge a gift. How much effort does an email take????

  11. I agree!!!! I spent countless hours picking fabric,sewing a quilt AND quilting it for my mother in law, mailed it and thought that it got lost/stolen etc... Never heard anything, finally I asked and she said, oh yes I got it. I wanted an applique one.
    Uggghhhhhh!!!! And she is the older generation.
    Whoops, still a little angry about that.

  12. I think that we've all gotten very lazy with our manners! Sadly, that's no excuse but unless you've been taught and prodded you will never get it.

    I try to acknowledge every gift and package I receive but sadly I don't always send a thank you card.

    I give alot to friends but very little to family. My friends seem to be more appreciative. LOL I've had three recent instances where my giftees were not acknowleged. It hurt!

  13. Gosh, we must be sailing in the same boat *s* This has been an ongoing issue in our family for many years. I have finally just stopped giving to the worst of the offenders . . . but the joke is on me as they don't seem to have noticed. In the end the lesson really was for me to learn.

  14. I've always been very bad at sending thank you notes, but I DO say thank you in person, and e-mailed "thank yous" go out right away. I never really pushed my kids to send thank you notes, but the funny thing is that they do--or call the person or acknowledge gifts in some way. Frankly, I'm not sure where they picked it up, but I DID teach them to be considerate and kind, so maybe it's an extension of that. But there will always be those who don't think about it and I'm not sure what you can do about that.

  15. I agree with you. I don't think parents teach manners anymore. Not only do young people not say thank you, but they lack other manners as well.

    DH's sister taught her children well. They always send handwritten thank you notes for each and every gift they receive.

    PS - My blog tested at a genius level. That's scary.

  16. elizabeth9:56 PM

    A newer reader here...you write of a common event for most of us. I rarely send other gifts, unless some kind of acknowledgment is sent. There are lots of poor people today who might appreciate something and why not help them instead? You could always give it in the name of the person who does not thank you...ha! But I certainly would not waste time and effort on anything handmade for someone who does not appreciate it!! Guess you can tell that has happened to me a few times!

  17. Unfortunately, I think this is becoming far too pervasive in "our" society...

    I have sent things to my couterparts (my generation) & my elders without response...

    My husband has to be seriously prodded by me - the bad guy/big bad meanie - he feels "silly."

  18. Just ran across your blog...I too feel the same way about ungrateful people. We have some in our family (kids and grandkids) that fall into this category...we are at our wits end. We have one grand daughter who did not send out Thank you cards after her wedding. So I gave her cards and stamps...I think she used them...but we never got a card for the money we gave her. We are retired and money is somewhat tight. Recently I sent her two handmade quilts plus some clothes for her set of twins. the quilts I had spent many hours on making then ...nary a word of thanks.

    Well, thanks to you for listening (reading) my gripes.

    Have a great day!