You are still invited to send 'thank-you' notes
QUESTION: We were invited to a couples' baby shower for friends and the invitation included this note from the hosts: "Our first gift to the bride and groom is forbidding them from writing any thank-you notes for gifts received at the Baby Bash!"
We never heard of this. Is this a thing now and we're just out of touch?
Honestly, we don't expect thank-you notes from our families’ members of younger generations because they stopped sending them a long time ago, and we wouldn't be hurt if this couple didn't send one. But is it the hosts' place to make that decision?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: Whoa! How forward of the hosts, but there's no way the couple didn’t OK this invite, right? I have never heard of an invite to state this. No matter, people should send a thank you for a gift. AND there is no time frame on a thank you. Send it.
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: It’s hard with a new baby to get it together to write thank-you notes, and the hosts were kindheartedly trying to help ease some of the stress. It’s nice when someone whom you have thanked in person says don’t worry about a thank-you note, but that should be an agreement among individuals and not a blanket statement in an invitation. A thank-you is a beautiful way to express your gratitude for a gift of an act of kindness and I would hate for this lovely tradition to go away because it seems to be inconvenient. We should all aspire to write them and recognize another person’s effort and gifts, even if we fall short sometimes. But if you don’t get one, don’t worry about it — the hosts took that off the couples’ plate whether it was up to them or not — and they can set the tone for the party they are throwing.
HELEN’S ANSWER: The hosts thought they were doing something very special for the couple to exempt them from writing thank-you notes, but no, it is up to the couple how they thank people for the gifts they received. Hopefully, someday, we will return to the niceties of writing special notes to say thank you. It is a lovely touch and it means a lot to some people.
GUEST’S ANSWER: Devonne Carter, licensed clinical social worker: Yes, this is a thing now! It has become very common for the hostess to declare that no thank-yous have to be written. Times are changing! We have to be aware that not every generation is going to continue our habits and traditions.
We didn't keep all of our parents’ or grandparents’, or I would be riding a horse to work, and wearing a prairie dress! I am also so grateful for indoor plumbing! It is hard to let go of our traditions, especially when they seem to serve a purpose.
It is polite to send a thank you note and to acknowledge a kindness someone has done for us. It is also overwhelming to have a new baby and try to get all those notes written! I do hope this generation of young people appreciates their bountifulness and learns to thank people in their own way! The older generation can continue to model for them how to be thankful.
Since 2009, Callie, Lillie-Beth and Helen have written this generational etiquette column. They also include guest responses from a wide range of ages each week. So many years later, Callie is 20-plus; Lillie-Beth is 40-plus and Helen is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email firstname.lastname@example.org.