When I was a child and still under my parents’ control, one of the unbreakable rules enforced at birthdays and Christmas was you did not get to play with your gifts until you had written suitable “Thank you” notes for them.
It has been brought rather forcibly to my attention that this sort of etiquette nicety is considered a thing of the past. In fact, a person who expects a “Thank you” note is some sort of curmudgeonly dinosaur.
My dear son and his little wife were the first people who I ran up against who displayed this cavalier attitude to the maximum after their wedding. My mother made a Double Wedding Ring quilt for them. She cut out all the pieces, allowed this charming couple to choose the fabric for the quilt backing. They did so, with no regard for her pocket book whatsoever, choosing the MOST expensive fabric in the entire quilt fabric store. No matter, she loved her grandson and produced a beautiful quilt, completely and exquisitely hand quilted. Following the wedding, which was in September, she waited for a thank you note. Christmas approached, no thanks were offered. She gave them a small Christmas gift. No thanks were proferred for this either, and the wedding present was still being ignored.
Finally she asked me if they liked the quilt. So I asked my lovely son why he and his bride had not written a thank you note to my mother. His response was “I told them thank you at the wedding when we opened it.” When I endeavored to explain why it might be considered appropriate to actually write a note expressing his thanks in addition to his verbal thanks, he could not understand why such an archaic idea was appropriate.
So I invited him to consider the time spent piecing the quilt, putting it together and then quilting it. Let us not even consider the price of materials, just the time expended completely out of love for him. Perhaps, I suggested, this sort of effort was worthy of stamp, paper, envelope and five minutes of his time to write a concrete expression of his appreciation to the craftswoman who created his quilt. I also mentioned to him that if he did not find the time and energy to make such a concrete expression of appreciation, he was unlikely to receive any further gifts from his grandmother. Ever. He and his bride wrote an extremely belated note.
In consideration of those ideas and values, I spent a pleasant couple of hours yesterday writing thank you notes for the gifts I received from family, friends and clients this holiday season. I admit that I did not wait until I had written the notes before I played with (and ate) any of the presents.
Without wanting to sound like I am bragging, my job of writing notes required the use of well over twenty stamps. I found myself sitting there at the onset of the job, thinking “I have to write thank you notes.” It was not long before I realized that I should not be viewing this as a chore but more as an opportunity to count my blessings.
I have many blessings, not the least of which is a circle of friends and clients that loves and appreciates me. I frequently sit back amazed by the sheer quantity of them. It particularly impresses me when I look back on my childhood and adolescence, which were marked by my isolation and introspectiveness and had a paucity of what I would call friends.
I promise not to bore you with a recitation of all the “things” I got for Christmas, but I do have to mention one item. My brother, who reads my blog, gifted me with a new Cross pen/mechanical pencil set exactly like the one he gave me in 1971 when I graduated from high school. I am going to try very hard not to lose the mechanical pencil this time! I figure this set will likely last me through the rest of my life, considering how long the original lasted.
And that brings me to a final place: Thank you to all my dear blogging friends! For your support, inspiration, and encouragement, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. May the coming new year find you healthy and bring you prosperity and joy!
Now I shall go walk my labyrinth and think kind thoughts towards all of you. Blessed be.