By Diane Forrest,
What kid doesn't like opening presents at Christmas? Surrounded by toys, clothes, treats? When I was young we would have several Christmases, going from one grandparent to the next, then seeing aunts and uncles. A week full of parties, fun and food. Every year, after all the gifts were open, and the decorations came down, I had to start writing thank you notes. That was worse than homework. While it was great getting the gifts, it wasn't as great having to write the notes. Then it hit me, these people, my family and friends, cared enough about me to brave the stores, find the perfect gift, wrap it and deliver it to me. Just that thought alone made me appreciate their kindness, even if I didn't like the pajamas or Jean Nate' splash.
Everyone who knows me knows that I am a stickler for thank you notes. I send them out as soon as I receive a gift. I want to make sure the giver knows how much their gift means to me. While I prefer sending a card in the mail, it is acceptable these days to send email, even a phone text will do. I remember a while back reading a Dear Abby letter from a grandmother who never received thanks from gifts she sent to her grandchildren. Abby's advice was to send a box of thank you notes at the next gift giving occasion. I think about that often, and haven't ruled that advice out.
I am constantly sending gifts to family members. I will give them a few days to let me know they got it before asking about. Not only to see if they liked what I sent, but to also make sure they received it in the first place. Occasionally the post office will lose a package, or it will get stolen. I mail things to my stepson frequently, but didn't hear back from him on his birthday. I finally called to see how he liked it, and discovered he had not recieved it, so I was able to check with the post office, and even though it couldn't be found, I was able to replace the gift.
One year I sent my elderly great aunt an arrangement of flowers. I always believed it was the law to immediately call and say thank you. After 2 days of not hearing anything I began to get concerned. She lived alone, and there was no family near. She took frequent trips with her group from church, so I contacted the church to see if a trip had been scheduled. There wasn't one, and upon further investigation I learned that she had not been to any activities for that week, which was unusual for her. As my concern began to grow, I called other family members to see if they had heard from her, no one had. It was now the third day, so I decided to call the local police station and ask if they could go by and check to make sure she was ok. When they went by she was not at home, but her neighbor saw the police arrive, and assured them that my aunt was alright, she was at the store at the time. While I was relieved that she was alright, my aunt was livid that I had sent the police to her home. She called all the relatives complaining about my actions, however she was reminded that the same thing happened to a friend of hers, who had fallen and had no help for 3 days. While this helped to calm her down, my name was removed from her greeting card list.
So today, on National Thank You Note Day, take some time to write a note of thanks for the gifts you received, and also remember to thank each time you receive a gift, such as graduation, wedding, birthdays, holidays anytime you receive a gift. You don't want the police knocking at your door!
P.S. The reason my aunt hadn't called to thank me for the flowers was because she thought I was in town, and would be coming by to visit, and was waiting to thank me then.