Kids today

I’ve mentioned my brother once or twice; he and I don’t get along. I was hoping that I’d be able to be a bad influence on his kids, but that hasn’t entirely worked out. I used to get them birthday and Channukah presents, but gave up on that after my niece (the older of the two) stiffed me on a thank-you note once too often. Kind of a bummer that her brother, who was better about it, got tarred with the same brush, but it seemed unfair to get one presents and the other not. And it’s not like I knew these kids well enough to get them anything other than gift certificates anyway.


So, recently my niece graduated from high school; an event followed about a week and a half later by her 18th birthday. I figured, okay, even I can’t ignore this, so I got her a $100 Amazon gift certificate.

This morning, it being a week later, I inquired of her mother (my SIL) whether this had been received, or if I should follow up with Amazon.

A mere hour later, I got the following effusive email from my niece:

I esp. like the use of her last initial – since I have so many nieces named Leah, I’m never clear whether its the one who shares a surname or not. :rolleyes:

This was four hours ago and I’m still moderately pissed about it.

twickster: Do the parents encourage thank you notes? I find thank you notes are uncommon these days. Email has made it easier, but actual thank you notes sent through the mail are going away quick. I am surprised when I see one. My Grandmother, who is in her late eighties, is the only person we send Thank You Notes to at this point. A Thank you call is probably the most likely from my household and that is for gifts received through the mail/email.

Jim {I doubt this helped any, just relating my experiences}

Maybe I’m just weird, but when I give a gift to someone it’s more for the love of giving rather than the praise/thanks I may or may not receive by doing so. Wait, she’s 18 though… Yeah, it was rude of her to wait a week before sending you an e-mail, though I don’t see what’s making you so upset.

I mean, she DID send it and she used two exclamation marks.

No way. It was way rude of her not to send a note. I’m 30 and send thank-you cards all the time. I mean, at worst they’ll just throw it away, but I know most people like to get mail that isn’t bills.

E-mail is acceptable for a $100 gift certificate but it should be more than one line.

Ugh, I’d be miffed, too. Not to be all high horsey about it (neeeeiigh!), but I was raised that you didn’t use a gift until a written thank you note was mailed, end of story. My sisters aren’t good about it, but I make sure all gifts are thanked in writing, and I also send thank you notes for having been a guest at a party (just saying how much fun I had and how I appreciated being asked), and other social niceties. I don’t send my neices stuff either because I think having to call and ask if someone received a gift is BS. Writing a thank you note takes about 1 minute and costs 39 cents to mail. Just do it!

I’d like to take a dissenting view on this thread, if only to assuage my past guilt. I SUCK at sending thank-you notes for gifts. I always have. I’ve always just assumed that the gifter knew I was thankful.

But over the past few years, I’ve felt a bit guilty about it, so I made sure I sent nice handwritten notes to everyone who gave me something. And you know what I found out? I am now the only person in the family that does so. Nobody else cares. My aunt and uncle might send a quick thank-you e-mail, but that’s about it.

It’s great to have a laid-back family.

I’m not sure I’d be upset as you - and I’m pretty much a stickler with respect to thank you notes. If you regularly communicate with your brother (and his family) via e-mail, I don’t see a huge problem with the niece expressing her thank you via the same media. And I don’t think a week is necessarily an excessive time. I could imagine situations in which it took my kids (or me!) a week to get out a written thank you, which the mail wouldn’t deliver for another couple days. And I don’t think I’d consider that incredibly late.

I thought the acceptable amount of time was a month.

This bears repeating.

If I ever received a thank-you note from any of my numerous nephews or nieces, I would see that as a sign of the Second Coming.

Oddly enough, I would be thrilled to get an email acknowledgement such as the one you received, Twickster.

No, I don’t. I don’t communicate regularly with any of them through any medium.

Why I’m “miffed” – my brother was raised by the same parents I was raised by, who told us that if a gift is delivered in any manner other than in person, a written response of more than 15 words is mandatory, to go out within a few days of receipt of said gift. If a gift is delivered in person and opened at the time, a verbal thanks may suffice; if delivered in person but not opened then, a written thank-you is called for.

I can’t believe he would raise his kids any other way. Given that he has chosen to, I choose not to give gifts to people who either don’t acknowlege them or who acknowlege them only cursorily, after parental prodding.

(Another email I wrote this morning: a quick thank you to a friend of mine’s GF, who had me over yesterday for an afternoon of hanging out in the pool [plus a very delicious lunch]. Yes, I thanked her four times before I left – but a quick note this morning was not excessive. IMHO. YMMV, you ill-mannered slobs.)

I’d like to second this part. I know that’s how I feel. I’d much rather just not get anything than be expected to praise the giftgiver. I feel like I’m being forced to buy my own presents, even if they only cost a thank you note.

I know that older people think it’s rude of younger people to not write thank you notes, but maybe younger people think older people are rude for making such a big stink about it. Obviously, we appreciate the gift. Who wouldn’t? Why do you need such constant confirmation of that? And if we don’t appreciate it, do you really want an insincere thank you note?

-Seren, who has told her grandparents to stop sending her presents, because she doesn’t think it’s right to demand a thank you note in return.

(I didn’t mean this to come off sounding that bitter. I just really think giving gifts should be more altruistic.)

I want an acknowlegement that she received something. I don’t consider that unreasonable. Otherwise, how do I know she got it?

I was raised the same. However, we didn’t have email then. Done well, I think that an email is just as valid as a letter.

twickster, were you miffed that the note was short, that it was an email, or that it was not sent until prompted? I’m assuming that it’s not over the fact that it was emailed, since you emailed the gift in the first place.

A cousin of mine recently graduated from high school, and I sent a card with $20. The response was incredibly prompt. She must have mailed the thank you note the same day she received the card. She’ll be getting more presents in the future.

Holy crap, I’m “older people”? I’m 30! I am not older people. I just think it’s polite that you send a note. And I’m not going to budge from this position. The wheels of society are greased by good manners.

I’m with this, too.

And unless I’m misunderstanding something, are you telling us you’re insulted that a gift which is delivered by email shouldn’t be responded to in kind?

And don’t worry, Anaamika, I know someone who’s only twenty-seven and sends thank-you notes! :stuck_out_tongue:

My daughter always (I hope) writes thank-you notes. Heck, she even sent me one once! My sister’s kids - well, I got one email once and I was handed a written note once. And the only reason I got the written one (I’m pretty sure) is that I’d made a comment to my mom how her favorite niece and nephew never, ever thanked me for any gift I’d given them. I don’t expect gushing praise and undying gratitude, but I would like to know that they received what I sent them and they appreciated it.

Heck, even when I was at their house and invited them to choose from a box of ceramics items I’d made, I didn’t get a thank you, but they sure grabbed what they wanted. For the record, one is in high school and one in college.

From now on, they’ll get a none-too-generous gift card and I consider it to be the cost of keeping peace in the family. But I’ve also decided the gifts stop when they graduate from college.

No, I’m fine with the fact that the reply came by email.

What I’m pissed about is that I had to sic her mother on her, and that when she was forced at gunpoint to say “thank you” for a $100 gift certificate – a gift that I’d be darned excited about, and I actually have an income – she does so in a manner that is terse to the point of surliness.

This young woman claims to want to be a writer when she grows up. “Thank you so much!! I got it now. I can’t wait to use it” is the best this Bryn-Mawr-bound exemplar of her generation can do?

My niece failed to acknowledge the expensive gifts we gave her upon the dates of her high school graduation, college graduation, engagement, and wedding. Now she has given birth to a baby, and I am sorely tempted to send nothing but a nice card with our good wishes.

It’s true that gifts should be freely given without demanding effusive responses. But, for cryin’ out loud, at least the recipient should acknowledge having received the gift. Otherwise the giver never knows whether it got there or not.