My mother had a strict rule about opening gifts on Christmas morning: No random ripping allowed.
Instead, each child opened one gift at a time while the rest of the siblings looked on, and my mom dutifully jotted down the name of the gift giver and the contents of the box. Then, as soon as the last present was unwrapped, my mother would distribute the lists and my brothers and I were given three days to complete handwritten thank-you notes to our generous benefactors.
That was more than 20 years ago.
Apparently, times have changed. At least in most families. Not so much
Whereas I am not quite as stringent as my mom when it comes to writing Christmas thank-you cards, I still require my 7-year-old to pen notes of gratitude and place them in the mail by New Year’s Day.
We’re a dying breed, according to a new survey.
A recent TODAY Moms and Parenting.com online poll shows that most parents do not mandate that their children write thank-you cards to gift givers. The online survey found that just 30 percent of moms always require their children to send a note, while 41 percent sometimes make their kids write a thank-you card. The remainder of the parents surveyed never require that their kids express gratitude in a handwritten note.
What would Miss Manners say?
I have no clue, but I know what my mom told me and my brothers: “Don’t expect people to continue to be so generous if you don’t bother taking the time to say ‘thank you.’”
Bottom line: Kids need to know that they are not entitled to material goods at Christmas, or any time of the year.
Having my child take time out of her day to sit down and write thank-you cards for the mountain of gifts she gets from family members and friends is a way to keep her humble. In my opinion, most of her generation lacks humility and can benefit from the simple exercise.
What’s more, over the years I’ve learned not to ever underestimate how much a short note of appreciation means to loved ones who have spent time, money and energy shopping for Christmas gifts.
By the way, according to the poll, parents who are under the age of 30 are “almost twice as likely to let their kids skip thank-you notes than moms over 45.”
So, I guess this post shows just how old I really am.
Then again, it also proves that with age comes wisdom… or at least proper etiquette.
Do you mandate that your children write thank-you notes?