The first one arrived in the post yesterday and sent me into a panic, the like of which I haven't experienced since I sat down to write all our Christmas cards a month ago.
It was a "Thank You" card from my brother and sister-in-law who are seldom beaten in the race to show gratitude for our (hopefully) thoughtful gifts. Indeed, my sister-in-law once told me that she never uses a Christmas present she has been given until
she has written to thank the recipients. This is probably a good discipline but is almost certainly a step too far for me and the majority of the population. The percentage of the population, that is, who still believe in saying "thank you."
When it comes to Thank You letters, I am a believer. An email message or a text is better than nothing - but a proper letter, in an envelope with a stamp on it, can't be beaten in my view. Though I do remember, years
ago, when the Middle of the Darling Daughters, then aged about 5, received a Toytown Post Office set for Christmas, complete with tiny writing paper, envelopes and Toytown stamps. The writing paper was so small, and the letter-writer so intent on
demonstrating her new-found ability to write her address in full that every letter consisted of no more than our address with "From Hilary" squeezed in at the bottom in the tiniest of letters. Which wouldn't have mattered quite so much had she not
then posted all her letters using Toytown postage stamps...
I have an additional problem in that Mr B expects me to include his thanks with mine. Which I'd be (more or less) happy to do if he could
only remember who gave him what. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that several of his presents were books, mostly about sporting personalities. You can see my difficulty, can't you? One day I will follow the example of the Youngest of the Darling Daughters
who insists that her two are armed with a pad and paper when they open their presents so that they can immediately record the names of the generous donors.
Ah, yes, the Darling Daughters and the Son
And Only were brought up to understand the importance of the thank you letter. I can almost guarantee that I will be receiving sweet letters from the grandchildren any day, week, or (well, they do have busy lives) possibly month now.
In a drawer somewhere I am pretty sure I have some Thank You notes, left over from my birthday. I seem to remember that they were delightfully short on space which meant you couldn't write a long letter even if you wanted
to. Though as Mark Twain once memorably wrote: "Please excuse a long letter as I haven't had time to write a short one..."
It's so true, isn't it? With limited space in which to express one's heartfelt
thanks, it is necessary to consider carefully one's use of words. Does it matter, for instance, if you don't actually mention what the present was? Oh, yes, I think it does. Writing "thank you for your kind gift" sounds for all the world as if you've already
passed it on as a prize in the Bowls Club's next raffle. Not only must you mention what the present was but you need to add a brief sentence about it. This is the tricky bit, so I am happy to offer some advice, should you need it.
If it's a DVD, for example, you can say you enjoyed / will enjoy watching it. If it's something to wear, then you can comment on the colour - this is safer than commenting on the fact that it is two sizes too small
or (far, far worse) two sizes too big. If it's something eatable, then you can use words like "yummy", especially if it is chocolate. Just remember, it's easy to forget eatable presents once you have eaten them. This is no excuse for failing to
write to say thank you for them...
I need to buckle down to the task. At the very least, I need to make sure I have written to my sister before she has written to me. I could have written two
or three letters in the time it has taken me to write the Daily Blog.
But then the Daily Blog is MUCH more fun to write...