Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What Ever Happened to the Thank You Card?

During one of our "on the road" conversations the other morning, my sister Sheryl and I remarked to each other about how not many people take the time to write out a thank you card anymore. Now I am not talking about the verbal expression, although that has fallen into disuse as well these days. A verbal thank you is better of course than nothing. I am talking about the written expression of thank you. In our increasingly instant messaging society, written thank yous are a dying breed. They are going the way of birthday cards, holiday cards, and telephone landlines. People have stopped sending cards and instead Twitter or Facebook “Happy Birthday” or “Merry Christmas."  When it comes to the Facebook "Happy Birthday," I admit it; I am guilty as charged. We, as a society, have become so wrapped up in our own lives, that the quick electronic greeting is now becoming acceptable! Also, people no longer call each other for Sunday evening calls to find out how the extended family is doing. It is far easier to email, “Hey, we are all OK, how ‘bout you?”

When I was a young boy, my mother and father instilled unto me the art of the thank you.  Every time I received a gift from someone or, say a birthday card with $5.00 in it (That was a lot back then!), I would make a handmade thank you card, or as I got older, grabbed a card from my mom’s never ending supply of various all-occasion cards. These days, I go out of my way to find the perfect thank you card. I have to laugh because it probably means more to me than the person I sent it to. Sometimes, embarrassingly, I don't even want to send the card because I like it so much and want to keep it for myself.  Hopefully I am not the only one!

Sending thank yous is definitely a family trait, or perhaps a generational trait, as I remember getting thank yous from my Nana, my Aunt Janet and Aunt Emmy, and my Grandparents Leslie and Lavina. I have kept special ones from childhood reminding me of those loved ones that have passed on and certain thank yous from friends who have taken the time to write something in the card.

My brother has been very good about passing this family tradition on to his kids. I have been on the phone with him after Christmas morning and he thrusts the phone into his kids' hands, commanding them to “THANK UNCLE MARC FOR THE CHRISTMAS GIFT HE SENT YOU!” It was all I could do to stifle my laughter. A quiet meek voice gets on the phone, “Thank you Uncle Marc for the Christmas gift you sent me.” When my niece Angelica and nephew Johnny were younger, their voices were so similar that I couldn’t tell them apart, so I would stumble through “Oh, your welcome … Angelica.” “It’s JOHNNY!” the voice would yell. “Oh I know, I was just pulling your leg … ha ha, now put your Dad back on the phone!” I would hear Johnny in the background, “Uncle Marc called me 'Angelica' again Dad!” Adam would just laugh “Well that’s because Uncle Marc is crazy.” Yes, brother dear, I have heard you say that! The kids also send me the same type of homemade wonderful thank you cards, which of course I keep. I am very proud of my brother for carrying on this family tradition.

I am often disappointed when supposedly close friends and family do not send thank yous. There, I said it! I am putting everyone on notice! Although I prefer a written thank you as I am "old school" like that, I will even (gasp) accept an email or verbal thank you and I will be just as satisfied. It shows to me that you, as a means of courtesy and respect, are acknowledging something that I sent to you. That’s all. It takes less than a minute to call or email. Send me a thank you card and count me impressed for life by your superior etiquette standards!  And don't forget, it truly means the world to the person receiving the thank you.

Sigh … it just seems sad that we have moved away from these rich expressions of formal and informal etiquette. And I am not talking about going overboard with a FTD floral thank you bouquet! Just a little personally scribed note to say “Thanks, I appreciated that.”

“THANKS” by the way, for reading.


  1. I loved it Marc/mitzi!!!


  2. Marc, You are sooooo right. I'm with you.
    H Heller

  3. Yes i totally agree, me myself i love sending cards in the mail. i love going to the card store to find the "just right card" and it is just not a thank you card, i will just get a hello or thinking of you card. People are too busy to go to the store and pick out a card(thank you,thinking of you) so there for the email and face book come into play. marc you are not alone i myself love getting cards in the mail, so i know when i send them people will hopefully like getting them as well

    Debbie ;-)

  4. About to submit an op ed about this very subject and found your blog post. I guess at 43 I also was instilled with the idea of writing thank you notes and miss that others have moved away from it. I am making the movement back in that direction!


  5. Marc, Frazzled at FortyNovember 15, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    Thanks for the comment Linda. It's nice to know some of us still do this! I may over do the formality of it all but no one can ever say I don't respond, RSVP, or thank them for something!

  6. Have you noticed how Expensive cards are now... a basic nice card is $4.99 and up - crazy.... but I don't think people have manners anymore.

  7. Hi Nancy, I have noticed that. I always scour the 99 cent cards first at CVS! LOL. And I agree, most people are lacking manners. Take care! Thanks for the comment.