The thrill of an approaching holiday and the high of getting gifts (including money) torpedo to the ground when the next day dawns. My kids wake up, excited to check out their new toys and count their money, but a sense of impending doom forms inside them. They can try to ignore it, but they can’t stop it. They beg, plead and bargain, but this mom can’t be swayed.
They will write thank you letters.
And I’m going to hold their stuff until the letters are done. Some might call this blackmail, but I call it encouraging them to do the right thing. My kids just call it “mean.”
They often procrastinate for several days before they can’t take my nagging gentle reminders any longer. You would think I asked them to pen the next great American novel. My older son writes about 4 to 5 sentences per card. This takes about as long as getting my younger son to write an “s” that isn’t backwards.
This year, it took about an hour for the kids to write the letters and get their Christmas goodies back. They don’t know, and likely don’t care, but I have reasons for torturing asking them to write ‘thank you’ letters:
- It shows good manners (so maybe the recipient will forget my son asked them if they were alive when the Declaration of Independence was signed.)
- It helps them improve written communication skills (that will inevitably be undone when they learn to text…I can see it now: “10Q 4 the gift. TTYL.”)
- It is good for them to reflect on the gifts they received and to be grateful (because their haul is held hostage until those lovely heart-felt letters are written.)
- I bought 100 Forever Stamps at Costco (but it doesn’t mean I want to keep them forever.)
- Mailing ‘thank you’ letters boosts the economy by providing jobs for postal workers (this will be even more important if those bogus credit card offers and Value Pak coupons stop coming.)
- My parents made me do it when I was a kid (You got me. This is the real reason for carrying on the tradition.)
What are your thoughts? Are thank you letters outdated, or fun to get? Did you write them as a child? Do you write them now?