Etiquette question: writing thank you notes for baby-cards & gifts?

MaastrichtSon was born a month ago, and he is getting cuter every day. Exhibit One: this YouTube vid of his first smile, cooing back at his Dutch speaking dad.
We were pleasantly surprised to receive dozens of cards with well wishes. What we hadn’t expected is how many people sent a small gift with their card; gifts like a baby onesie or teeshirt or a little stuffed toy, small stuff that fits in the envelope.

Now I’ve got an etiquette question. Do I treat the cards+gifts as cards, and just receive them in thanks? Or should they be considered gifts, for which it would be rude not to send a thank-you note?
While I appreciate everybody’s thoughtfullness, with a newborn on my hands I don’t have that much time to write so many people. Is it okay if I just mention the gifts when I see the people again in person?

If someone gives a gift, you thank them for it. IMHO, it’s rude not to.

In the time it takes you to read all of the responses to this post, you could have several thank you notes filled out :slight_smile:

I’d probably try to do a note when you have the time (hahahahahaha!!! I had new babies myself once, and it’s hard to find the time to do notes) but I doubt Miss Manners would be completely horrified if you didn’t get around to it all that soon. Certainly a verbal (or email) acknowledgement of the card+small gift with a laughing “I’ll be doing notes when I can but you know how it is with an infant” will do if “when you have time” is “shortly after he graduates from college” :slight_smile:

You do not have to write a thank-you note for a card; otherwise it would be a never ending cycle.

You should write thank-you notes for gifts, however…the size and/or monetary value of the gift is usually not a consideration.

That being said, you’ve got a brand-new baby and nobody will think less of you if you “forget” to do this in a timely manner, or even if you forget to do it altogether, as long as you do as you mentioned, and thank them the next time you see them in person.

It’s the faraway relatives/out-of-town friends, etc., who would probably be most appreciative of a thank-you note, simply because they aren’t local and won’t see you or the new baby regularly…so if you don’t thank them via a note, you won’t have any other way to thank them. If you send thank you notes to anyone, it should be those folks.

Congrats on the new arrival!

Personally I think some acknowledgment is nice but an email would be fine for small trinket gifts. Thanking them the next time you see them or talk to them on the phone would be also fine, but this does assume that you see or talk to them in the next month or so.

If the gift is hand-made then I would send a note or call, whichever is more convenient for you.


oh, and congrats!

Can you manage one note a day, or even one every other? You don’t have to sit down and do them all at once.

How techie are you?

My friend just set up a merge mail list to print cards for everyone that had sent gifts for her baby’s first birthday. I know the one we got was fairly personalized, so I’m not sure just how she did it. I can get details if you’re interested.

Now she plans to go back and do the same thing for all the shower gifts from before the baby was born. :smiley:

Babies take up a lot of time; most people are pretty sympathetic. I think an email or phone call would be OK for this situation, too.

Ew ick gods no. Unless these cards each had a handwritten note in them, no way nohow. Tacky tacky tacky.

Sorry, but I’m a strict traditionalist when it comes to thank-you notes. The time you spend writing a thoughtful handwritten note – a few minutes at most – is a pittance compared to the time the giver spent choosing/buying/wrapping/mailing the gift (yes, even if they did it with a few clicks online and had it wrapped and shipped directly to you). Plus most gifts are worth more than the cost of a card + stamp.

Too late for the OP, but a technique I’ve heard of for dealing with a multitude of gifts, especially if they’re arriving piecemeal through the mail, is to write the note right away after you open the gift, while the surprise and joy of receiving it are still fresh in your mind.

I understand about babies taking a lot of time, but if you’re going to send thank-you notes, please do it right.

Yes, a thank you note is required for every gift and no, email is not the preferred method. You will never hear grumbling over a hand written thank you but an email or worse, none, can offend.

If you keep a card box right on the counter, you can fire them off within seconds of opening the gift (or a card containing a gift). You even have the envelope handy with the return address. Organization is the key…especially with a new baby.

Good luck.

In the US, I found that a thank you note is preferred, sort of mildly expected. Especially from folks far away.

When I sent thank you notes to the Dutch contingent, they thought I was mad. Thoughtful, but completely mad.

This may be local to Brabant, but around here they send cards/flowers/visit for coffee at the drop of a dime and for every imaginable occasion. According to my MIL, who was very much the dame and thus very helpful to me when at sea in a new social universe, you are expected to reciprocate at the next imaginable occasion applying to them; but are not expected to respond directly to the original (via thank you note or similar).

What they do up there in the frozen protestant regions and other foreign climes, I have no idea, lol.

Thank you notes for such small things are a complete waste of everyone’s time. The only reason to do one would be to make the old biddies that think they’re “needed” happy.

Were I to discover that someone whom I had given a gift felt this way, I wouldn’t waste any more time on giving them any more gifts.

This ungracious sort of attitude is entirely too prevalent. I say that from the point of view of receiving gifts as well as giving them. Gratitude is grossly underrated. I get nearly as much joy out of writing thank-you notes as I do receiving them.

Scarlett, 41-year-old “old biddy”

I wrote thank you notes for all the baby gifts my daughter received, including shower gifts. To me it’s a courtesy that will never go out of style.

I just bought cute pink thank you cards and wrote a brief note inside, being specific about the gift.

Also, when people went “above & beyond” and either made her something or obviously spent a lot of time choosing something relevant / sweet, I would email them a picture of her using it or wearing it.

Emails with pictures. Everyone loves baby pictures.
And I’m sitting here trying to remember if I sent thank you notes for any of the gifts I got…Oh - wait. I did. Eventually.

Who says I’m not grateful? When I am given a gift, I say thank you to the person’s face and if often discuss my plans for the gift with them.

If the gift is mailed (which is rare, as the vast majority of people I know who would give me gifts live in the same city as me), I will thank them the next time they call me or I call them.

Writing a little note (that often has to be “just so” for some of the biddies) is annoying and pointless.

That’s one gorgeous baby you’ve made there!

No gifts for JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! :wink:

In my case, I handmake a baby quilt and I would appreciate a card knowing that the frigging package even made it. I sent two to a friend for a new baby and its sibling, and that was almost two years ago. I don’t even know if they got them. These aren’t people I email or call; a note would be nice. Hell, that’s a family with two parents; one parent can surely watch the kids for five minutes while the other writes a two sentence note.

Luckily the vast majority have been hand-written cards that at least acknowledge the care that went into the gift.

Just received a thank you note in the mail from my SIL - it is almost word for word exactly what I would have written … I’m sure it took her about 2 minutes max to write the note and address the envelope.

“Dear Stainz - Thank you so much for all the gifts. R— loves using his swing and looks so cute in his “I love hugs” outfit. He uses his tummy time mat all the time and he is getting very strong. Thank you again. Love, (names)”

I truly do not recognize any excuses for not writing a simple note like this. My brother’s wife (a different SIL) does not send notes or even go out of her way to say thank you and they have brought up my nephews the same way - to me it’s disgraceful and so rude.

For a swing, and a tummy mat, sure, and for the larger gifts I have thanked the givers in person.
But in my case… to write a thank-you note saying: “Baby looks so sweet in his white cotton onesie”, or “That pair of baby socks will sure come in handy this fall !” doesn’t that seem a little heavy-handed?