Am I the Only Old Fashioned Mom Left?


I wonder…….do other moms still make their kids write “thank you” notes???  Is this so “old fashion” that I am asking too much?  I mean, does anyone ever get real mail in the mailbox anymore?

I have had my kids write thank you notes for gifts since they could write.  For a long time they didn’t know the difference – they thought all kids were required to do this simple common courtesy, until one day…….

It was the first Christmas that my husband and I were married and now the new step-mom was in charge of the “motherly” stuff in the home.  My step-son had no idea of the “thank you” note policy our family had, so when I just assumed we would all fall under MY guiding, well – it was taken with some resistance.  My husband didn’t quite understand my insistence at having all the kids write thank you notes, even to people that were present when the gift was opened.  I gave my reasoning and you guessed it……we all write thank you notes!

I feel my kids get a great lesson out of this experience whenever  their birthday or another holiday rolls around.  It helps them continue to be grateful – they don’t just say a quick, “thank you” when they open the gift and move onto the next.   Even if the person giving the gift is present when the “present” is opened, they typically send a note as well.  They write a true expression of how they intend to use the gift as well as saying, “thank you”.

I like that my kids have to write an actual card, address it and mail it.  This is rather “old fashioned” some of you would think, but I love getting REAL mail!  I think when someone receives an actual card in the mail it is impacts them in a different way and can touch someone much deeper than an email or phone call.

So if you are not in the habit of having your kids write “thank you” notes, maybe this year is the first.  Think about what you may be teaching your children and what habits they could be developing for when they are no longer living at home.  Call me “old fashioned” but I write thank you notes too – yep – remember they are watching you.  Live by example, express your gratitude and have fun finding creative ways to say “thank you.”


Our children are watching us live, and what we are shouts louder than anything we can say.      – Wilfred A. Peterson

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  • Love your comments! Thanks for your thoughts on how important it is to the sender to even be recognized whether a gift arrived or not too. That is a great point, I had forgotten about that.

    Yes, Go snail mail! 🙂

  • Cortney @ Evan Has Landed

    I think it’s a great idea. It keeps our kids grounded and helps curb that sense of entitlement that many kids now a days have!! My oldest is just now turning 3 and up until now I have sent everyone pictures of him (and his younger brother) with the toy that was sent along with the thank you, since they are too young to actually express themselves.

  • Love the photo idea!!! That is very creative and I am sure appreciated. Makes remembering who gave what gifts easy too. Appreciate you taking the time leaving your comment. 🙂

  • Heather Mundell

    I totally agree with you and have the thank you note policy myself and with my kids. Thank you notes take 4 minutes to write and are so appreciated. They’re one of the last surviving low-tech courtesies that should never go out of style.

    It’s so annoying to me to send kids and teens gifts (especially through the mail) and never hear an acknowledgment. Did it get there or didn’t it? It’s like mailing a gift into a black hole. After a few years of this, why should I bother to continue?

    Go snail mail!

  • I totally agree with you and the other comments. This is a fantastic way to show gratitude, and be respectful of other people.. These are such important values, values we want our children to take with them throughout their life!

  • Sandra Huber

    I am with you Susan! I think writing thank you notes is a dying art.. but one that I continue to encourage and support.. Our daughter has watched us write notes since she was born and she loves doing them herself.
    For her birthday, we take pictures with her friends and their gifts they brought so she can send them a card with a picture. It is great to have a picture of her, her friend and their generous gift!
    We also send some of her “art” along with thank you cards. If someone gave her some arts/crafts gift, we send a sample.
    It makes it personal and makes us all remember to be grateful for the generosity of others!
    It starts at home!
    Thank you for the reminder!!

  • So great to see you and your readers practicing the art of gratitude!
    It really is our job as Moms to teach and role model for our kids the importance of simply saying, “thank you.”
    I loved reading your blog entry!
    Our kids wrote their Christmas thank you notes yesterday–Now if their Momma could just get them in the mail! 🙂

    Happy New Year!

  • This is just the inspiration and reminder I need today. As I write this, it is Saturday morning and all three kids are snuggled on the couch together. The two boys are playing their Nintendo DS games, and my three-year-old daughter is content to watch them. As a person who generally dislikes TV and video games, it is an act of acceptance to allow how much my boys love these toys. But screen time will be over shortly and I know the perfect activity for us to do together!

    Thanks for being old-fashioned, Susan.

    Lara Galloway
    The Mom Biz Coach

  • I’m with you completely on this. It’s simply part of good parenting to raise children who appreciate what they have and to give thanks for it. We had a lovely time making these snowmen cards to say our ‘thank you’s.

  • Those cards are wonderful! How creative!!! Appreciate your comment, Cathy. I will have to check out your site more often! We may think a lot alike! Happy New Year!

  • Tiffany

    I 100% agree here. In fact, I create the newsletter for our MOPS program and in the one they will get next week (which you will see if you want) has an entier page devoted to writing thank you notes and getting your children started early. Some great ideas and helpful tips. We have not written ours from Christmas yet but they will get done very very soon.

  • Thank you for your comment Tiffany! Yes, it all starts early and at home. I would love to see the MOPS newsletter. When I go to speak at MOPS groups I always take with me the latest newsletter that they have available. Such great information and a wonderful resource!!

  • I clicked on your site and one of the first posts I found was this one!!! Near and dear to my heart – the simple act of saying “Thank you!” My kids just got bday gifts in the mail from their aunt across country and they heard me at least 3 times since yesterday reminding them to “write those notes to Aunt Helen!”

    Yes – thank you notes are “old fashioned”. As old fashioned as “please”.

    Please folks, don’t let theses things go out of style! Thank you!!!!!

  • Thank you Kelly for your comment! I was so surprised that this post received so many comments, but I am glad it did. Hopefully for those who did not leave comments, it jogged their memory about incorporating it at home!

  • Hi. I have been making my kids write thank you notes from the time they were able to write. It’s not optional in my house. I, myself, also write thank you notes too as I feel I need to set a good example. It’s difficult getting a 17 year old and 15 year old boy to write them but they don’t get to use their gifts (money, gift cards, or whatever) until the notes are written. It’s about common courtesy and decency. It’s our jobs to raise our kids to be decent, caring, thankful human beings.

    That said, I never made them write the notes if the person was in person and they thanked them. I may have to rethink this policy.

    On another note, I constantly send out gifts to my brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews and RARELY get thank yous back. Some times I don’t even get an acknowledgment that the gift was received. My mother would roll over in her grave if she knew of that.

    Let’s make a revolt to bring back thank you notes.

  • My mom instilled it in my sister and I to write Thank you notes when ever we received a gift. It was so common place that after my wedding I wrote out all of my thank you notes that week after my husband and I got home from our Honeymoon. Everyone was so surprised to get their thank yous. My children always write a thank you when they get a gift or when they have been to a party or play date. It’s just a common courtesy.

  • I did the same thing with my wedding thank you’s! I is a shame when everyone is so surprised to get your “thank-you” so soon or at all, what does that say about our society?? It is truly disappointing that all cannot have the gratitude for someone taking time to find us a gift and make sure we get it to extend the courtesy of sending a note…oh well, I had better get off my soapbox! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to drop a comment! Truly appreciate it!

  • I am absolutely totally WITH you on this one.

    I’m fanatical about sending thank-you notes even if I opened the gift when the person was there.

    My babies are 7 months old and I did cards for each person at the baby showers. Another nice thing I do (which seems to mean so much to people) is I take pics of the babies all the time (obviously) and if they’re wearing something someone else gave them, I email the pic with a short note – it takes seconds because I’m sorting and organising the pics anyway, but people love it! I even did this with non-cute stuff like bottles (look! she’s using your bottle or the blanket you gave him :))

  • I love your kind heart and generous thinking to take the extra time to send photos, how that small touch must brighten so many people’s day Marcia! I love it, hopefully other readers will use it too! Yes, we send thank you’s even if the person was in attendance when it was opened too. Even for the $2 in a Valentine Card from Grammy – it gets one too!

  • Susan,

    Such a terrific post! I love that you’re “old fashioned,” or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say you have “good manners.”

    I was brought up to write thank you notes for gifts that I received, so its a habit that I’ve practiced pretty much my whole life and have passed on to my little boys. Even before they could write their own words (they are now 5 and 3), I lightly wrote in pencil what they wanted to say and let them trace it and then they can decorate/color the card.

    We also send pictures of our kids either using the gift or opening the gift–especially with Christmas thank you notes.

    It’s just common courtesy, but somewhat sad that it’s a dying art.

  • Love your comment and so glad that you are encouraging your children to be thankful in this way too! I love the picture idea, that makes it even more special to the giver!

  • Hi Susan!
    I’m making a point to stop by more and comment because I always love what you have to say and I share it with others! I am a fan of the thank you note. It’s something my mom taught me and I love the personal feel of them. I hate to think of it as a dying art–I know I’ll continue it with my son:)

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