Service of Thank You

December 26th, 2013

Categories: Gifts, Thanks

Niece Alison, 12, at right

Niece Alison, 12, at right

I’ve written about this subject most often relating to those who don’t–for wedding gifts or business support–and those who do extremely well. In a recent radio interview I heard of brides who write one email blast thanking all gift-givers in an e-note.

I enjoy writing thank you notes and this year my work is cut out for me.

Here, first, I wanted to thank you. I am constantly shocked by people who tell me they read this blog and those who suggest ideas for posts and who comment. All give the most precious gift: Time. Between frantically busy lives with deadlines and obligations and communications at warp speed and transportation universally more complicated and time-consuming, I am viscerally aware that every second counts. Can you believe that the blog was five years old in November?

Next I am grateful to my nieces who live far away yet stay in touch. It’s unusual for almost teens/20-somethings to communicate with grownups.

Christmas cards decorate the house. I love the colors and messages inside.

We were spoiled by amazing, imaginative, thoughtful, often handmade and practical gifts–too, too many. My nephew noticed that I freaked when the fresh turkey I bought for Thanksgiving didn’t come with a pop up device to indicate the bird was cooked. One gift he gave me: a package of the pop up timers!

I started to share a list that included homemade jams, sauce, candied fruits, chocolate, whiskey cakes and biscotti to a designed, cross-stitched and framed saying enhanced by cross-stitched hearts and ribbons: “Parcels and packages, silk ribbons tied, eyes filled with wonder to see what’s inside.” But the list felt too much like that wedding gift email blast I criticized in the lead as well as a boast. We are blessed and spoiled.

What are you most thankful for? Have you received or heard of creative thank you missives?


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6 Responses to “Service of Thank You”

  1. JPM Said:

    I had a most forceful mother who quite rightly insisted when I was a child that I send a hand-written thank you note to thank for each gift I received whether for Christmas, my birthday or other like event. Unfortunately, I have a physical disability which makes the act of writing a real and tedious drudgery, and consequently, over time I came to dread receiving presents which required more than a verbal acknowledgement. My situation has not improved with age.

    What am I most thankful for this year? Strangely, since I have no noticeable religious beliefs of any sort, I am most grateful for the new Catholic Pope. At last, it would seem an organized religion has a leader who, instead of just beating the drum about how wonderful his religion is, genuinely believes in tolerance and consistently demonstrates compassion for the suffering of his fellow human beings.

    Every time I despair for the future of mankind, I think of Francis and am cheered.

  2. Debby Brown Said:

    In response to your blog last year on this subject, I followed up this year on what I said I was going to do.

    Well, I’ve transitioned.

    Instead of the scratch off lottery tickets sent to relatives and all Godchildren from which I have rarely, if ever, received an acklowedgement: this year I sent an Arbor Day card to each. The card announces that “A tree in your name is being planted…”

    I felt a twinge of guilt without any forwarning to the age 8 to 22 persons in question, so included one lottery ticket.

    (So far, no acknowledgement via text, phone, Skype or Face Time)

    Next year, only the Arbor Day card!

    Debby Brown

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I wouldn’t want to write anyone about anything if the physical aspect of it was as daunting as it must be for you. A shame that your family didn’t recognize the disability and think of other ways in which you might communicate thanks such as a phone call.

    I agree with you about Pope Francis. Flash and pomp are inappropriate in a world that suffers from hunger and poverty. Here’s hoping that people who thrive on splashy symbols of wealth become more like this Pope and Warren Buffet. Instead of paying $thousands for a handbag and multi-millions for house buy a nice bag for $200 and a house for $2 million and give the rest to charity. I realize this would put some businesses out of business…or maybe help lower prices from the stratosphere. In addition, the greedy who are tempted to cheat might find it less compelling if signs of over-the-top spending are frowned on just as smokers are these days.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Good for you.

    Two people who received gifts from us last year–one for 20+ years–got zip this year. Like you, I’ve had it!

    I love the idea of planting trees…that might be a compromise from this year’s cold turkey.

  5. Carol Said:

    Like you, Jeanne, several people who had received gifts from me for years received zip from me this year. No more automatic gift-giving to ingrates. I’m so done with that. Debby: Trust me, going cold turkey is not difficult. Even if I had been inclined to donate to a charity in honor of said ingrates, I think they would not have appreciated the gesture. On the other hand, I totally spoil those who appreciate it and express genuine gratitude. Now THAT is a fun thing for me to do.

    Jeanne, thank you for all the great work you’ve done on this blog for the past five years. So many thought-provoking posts! I don’t know where you find the time to do what you do but I’m glad you do.

    A healthy and happy 2014 to all!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Thanks for the wishes–same to you–and recognition of posts. You have given me a great idea for one which I plan to use in the New Year.

    I can’t agree that it was easy not to send to those for whom even the tiniest acknowledgement would be welcome as I still feel a tug and can think of a million reasons why they didn’t and feel badly for their family members young enough to enjoy a surprise…next year it may be easier.

    Happy New Year!

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