Well, the presents have been unwrapped, the candy consumed, and the cats are playing with rescued ropes of curled ribbon–there’s only one thing left to do–write those thank you notes. It’s getting easier as my kids get older, all those years of battles and training finally paying off (or I’m just finally giving up)–but when they were younger, I remember the week following Christmas as five days of “Thank You Notes” battles.
When they were really little, we’d sit down together with crayons and colored pencils and I’d do the writing–”What would you like to say to Grandma about the Play-dough?” And then, I’d let them color in on the page, make a stab at signing their name and we’d be done. Then came the “How do you spell?” years. I would work on my own notes while they carefully drew out their letters with fat pencils on lined paper, calling out “How do you spell ‘transformer’?” or some other word frequently. I think this is when writing “thank you notes” took on a painful pale for my kids. It really was a painful process for them to carve out the alphabet, shaping it into words and try to create cards and letters that conveyed their appreciation.
Then came the slacker years; the “I’m going to do it” years. This was when I started incorporating everyone’s appreciation into my own letters just to make sure the bases got covered “just in case” my kids didn’t get their own “thank you” notes out until July.
Now, we’re in the “gentle reminder” and “I’ve got plenty of stamps when you’ve done your notes” years. Granted, they do use e-mail more, but I expect to see a few notes piling up in the outgoing mail basket by midweek. By this age, they are all quite decent writers and they actually “get” the manners and courtesy behind “thank you notes”–it’s not nearly as painful and I think one or two of them actually takes a little pleasure in crafting the letters to be sent to thoughtful relatives. Now, if I could only get my own self started on mine…