Saturday, June 16, 2007

Thank You Note

I have a confession to make: I am very bad when it comes to sending thank you notes. Emily Post would be horrified. If I would be "judged" using Emily Post's guidelines on etiquette, I would miserably fail. I would be classified as "lacking etiquette", I maybe called "ungrateful"....

Could it be cultural? Growing up, I don't recall us sending a thank you card or notes after receiving a gift on different occasions. We are obliged to "say" thank you... and I have always said thank you from the bottom of my heart when I receive a gift...but sending a note after is not something we did.... Is it just our family? Although it is a very nice gesture, in the Philippines, a "thank you note" is not "expected" as much as here in the United States. I am posting this post on the Pinoy Moms network to get a feedback and find out if what I am saying is true...

However, at this point it does not really matter wether "sending a thank you note" is a custom or not in the Philippines. The fact that I have been living here in the States for 13 years is enough reason for me to follow the "etiquette rule" of sending thank you notes. I should be teaching this to my kids also. Sadly, I have not. year after year when my kids receive birthday gifts and holiday gifts, I told them that we would be writing thank you notes and letters, but we never did. Bad, bad, bad.

And why am I being so hard on myself now on this? Because I have seen first hand the difference. Here's an example: In the company I work for we build quality affordable housing. Because the need is huge, we receive hundreds of letters from people asking for consideration. I have five huge binders of letters of requests. Many of those who wrote had been given a chance to buy these affordable homes through our bosses' discretion, in response to their request. Now I have one very tiny binder of thank you letters... and I often thought that it's interesting to see the difference of those binders. More request, less thanks. It reminds me of that story in the Bible when Jesus healed the 10 lepers and only 1 of them came back to thank Him. The other nine didn't.
Many of my friends send thank you notes. I feel guilty every time I get them because I know I should do the same when I get gifts but I don't. Oh, always planned on doing it... but I rarely do. I am disappointed with my self about not sending thank you notes.

What happens is that I get stuck. In my mind I don't want to just send a thank you card and sign my name. I always want to hand write a long note expressing how truly grateful and thankful am, and how the gift touched my heart, and how I really appreciate it. The problem with that is that I end up not writing and not sending. I should just really keep it short and send it right away....

And why am I posting about this now? Because I have received a lot of wonderful gifts for my birthday this year. It's really very humbling. You see, I am not very good at giving gifts either. That's another "issue" that deserve another post...but my point is my friends gave me these generous gifts not because they felt obligated to because I gave them nice gifts before...they gave these because they love me and I really want to send them note to tell them how much I love them and appreciate them as much as I appreciate the gifts they gave me.

So, before I get sidetracked on "just posting" about thank you notes, I should end this post and start writing my notes lest I'll end up not doing it again. In fact, I would once again do a "self imposed restriction" to myself: No Blogging until I finish writing the thank you notes (and not just writing but actually mailing them. It's it's not mailed, it's not done yet and I cannot blog:).

8 comments:

raqgold said...

hi liza - in Germany, thank you notes are also not a part of the book of etiquette. they prefer to hear them via a phone call or get them thru a visit with hugs and kisses or you get them a bit later via christmas cards or a small token like flowers or a bottle of wine. but you know, despite that, I still do send thank you notes. Just because :-) Notes need not be elaborate, a simple thanks would do - sabi nga, it's the thought that counts! good luck!

Dexie said...

i send thank you notes too. i usually attach a family picture to keep it more personal ;)

geri said...

Liza, been here for almost 4 years and yes I noticed that in the US too (and what about those Christmas cards - even our handy man sends us one!) From what I gathered it really makes a bad impression if we DON'T send out TY cards. Ako I'm bad in sending them out too late. Right now I am in the middle of it too. So you're not alone hehe.

Bongga Mom said...

You're not alone. I don't remember ever sending or receiving a thank-you note (I grew up in Manila). My husband's family (English) are very diligent about sending birthday cards and thank-you notes, and I actually happen to like the custom, so we do it for our kids' birthday presents and Christmas presents. I have to admit that I'm not very consistent at writing thank-you notes for presents I receive, though!

ScroochChronicles said...

Hi Liza..here in Manila it is customary to send "thank you" notes to guests at your wedding. It's also done to thank people who attended the funeral/wake of someone in the family.

rowena said...

hi liza,

this is my 1st time to visit your site, got it thru pmn.

here in our country (phil.) we do not practice much on writing thank you notes. but now, even in childrens' parties, some resto have prepared thank you notes for parents to give to their guests.

Mama P said...

Liza - I think your issue might lie not in the fact that you dislike writing notes, but you are too worried about content. I humbly suggest to stop trying to be perfect about it. Leave that to God. A simple "thank you for thinking of me" is sufficient. I really believe that. Happy Fathers Day!

Gretchen said...

I think MamaP has a point. It's the thought that counts. Whether a phone call, an email, a hug and person-to-person verbal thank you, the "how" doesn't matter. The heart matters. Happy Father's Day, and thanks for all the peeks into your culture.