Don’t even think about that toy until you send a thank you note or text. Seriously!

Growing up dirt poor on a small farm in Minnesota, it was like Christmas whenever we received any kind of toy or box of clothes from those “rich” relatives in Missouri.   One of you (dear cousin Judy in Independence, MO) whose beautiful hand-me-downs I used to receive is probably reading this right now and laughing because I don’t think you really were rich, but you lived in that lovely little town, and your home seemed quite upscale to me, the little farm girl with atrociously thick eyeglasses. Several times a year we would receive boxes of clothes from my older cousins, and I couldn’t wait to rip the box open and try on everything.  However, my mom, educated only through grade 8, had one very hard and fast rule.  No playing with toys and no trying on clothes until you sit down and write a thank you letter; and it had better say more than “how are you?” and “I am fine”, which was about the extent of my writing abilities in those days.

I’m sharing this story because in the past few months recipients of some “thank you” notes that I sent have taken the time to personally thank me for doing this. Seriously, I didn’t expect a thank you for a thank you!  But these friends and I agree that writing thank you notes is a lost and/or dying art.  I hear from other parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles about the frustration (and sadness) they feel when they take the time to buy a gift or send an Amazon gift card.  Then, lo and behold, not a word from the recipient of that gift or gift card.   Ya, ya, I know it’s more blessed to give than to receive, and we should give out of love and expect nothing in return.  But seriously, do you feel as sad as I when you don’t even get a text or email just to hear they’ve received it?  My Mom wasn’t educated, but I thank God she taught me it doesn’t cost anything (except maybe a postage stamp) to write a note of thanks! People loved her, and I think in large part it was because she had such a thankful attitude about everything.  So to my Cousin Judy in Independence, MO, I know it will bring a smile to your face when you read this because you’ve told me many times how much you loved my Mom.  She loved you and all our Missouri relatives so much, so on her behalf I am saying one more time “thank you”, not only for the special gifts of toys and clothes, but also for your wonderful love and friendship and those many random acts of kindness.

Please tell someone “thank you” today.  Seriously!  It will bless them more than you will ever know.

From Philippians 1:3 “I thank my God every time I remember you.”



  1. I agree 100%. Thank you for your dear friendship through the years. Thank you and Jerry for your steadfast love to God. You are an inspiration to so many. Thank you for your blogs. They are encouraging, meaningful, and needed. They touch our hearts! You are loved and appreciated. BK

  2. Peggy Fowler

    Oh Char! Thank you for another great blog! You seem to get right in there where we all live and say things that need to be said! (Our Mamas taught us some great principles-I sure do miss mine!)

  3. Michelle Miller

    Seriously!!! This is one of my biggest pet peeves! I have given numerous gifts, including quilts that I have labored and loved over, without receiving a single thank you. Unfortunately, it seems to be a trend to not send wedding thank you’’s. It is embarrassing to have to reach out to someone just to ask if they actually “received” the gift.

  4. Sandi Mahan

    I love this blog! Thank you Char for sharing your special insights and heart with us! My grandchildren write Terry and I thank you notes and we appreciate them so much. I save their notes and it is so fun to go back and reread them as our grandchildren grow older. You are so correct that this lost communication was taught to us by our mothers. I have often thought that when we do not receive a thank you note after sending a gift that the recipient was not taught to do this. My daughter with seven children insists that everyone in her family personally sign a greeting card and with more than just their name! I must have done something right somewhere and thank you Mother for teaching me this lost art!

  5. Karen Ekren

    Charlette, this is the first Blog of
    yours that I have received being
    new on the blog scene.
    You are right on as I grew up in Minnesota and it was always an expected thing to do. My children and grandchildren who are now grown ALWAYS thank us by a short note.

  6. Ginger

    I’m catching up with your blog! I love this one! And, yes, it is a pet peeve with me, however, I am not always the best at sending timely thank you’s. Your blog makes me want to be better. Love you!

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