Mum's the Word

The importance of thank-you notes after Christmas

Posted: Jan. 5, 2017 12:01 am Updated: Jan. 5, 2017 9:56 am

"I bet Jesus didn't have to write thank-yous to the wise men!"

This was my oldest child's last sentence as she sullenly sunk into her chair ... to write her thank-yous from Christmas.

I retort, "Yeah, but he died for our sins so we're going to let it go. Now get going on those cards."

I probably should have had her write his as well.

Dear wise men,

Thank you for the gold, frankincense and myrrh. I will enjoy using all of those things. Frankincense is my absolute favorite! You are so thoughtful.



This is the first year since the twins were born that I'm insisting they all write their thank-yous. I, also, took a hiatus in that time. It was just so crazy there for a while I kind of just said goodbye to thank-yous.

So before I actually start on whether I think thank-yous are necessary:

Dear everyone,

Thank you for all the gifts, support and love the last few years. You are all the best! I live with the guilt that my grandmother is probably rolling over in her grave that this is your forgotten thank you. I hope this makes anyone that is incensed by my thoughtlessness feel better.

All my love forever,


So this year, the twins are in kindergarten and everyone can at the very least write "Thank you," "Love" and his or her name, so we are in business. I'm finally re-instituting the thank-you policy. After the initial fights subsided over whether or not I was serious, we all enjoyed doing them.

We did them two days after Christmas and I'm so glad we didn't wait longer because even then I was struggling to remember who got who what. While most were finished that day, I have yet to send them. I'm contemplating the best method to send four cards to the same person ... yeah, that's the hold up. I think sending them individually is out since they've been painted in glitter.

Emily Post suggests getting them out by New Year's Day and I suggest that she go take a long walk off a short pier.

As far as etiquette goes, some say that if you receive a gift in person and can thank said person, then a handwritten thank you is not necessary. Those people would have been tarred and feathered by my grandmother, though. A few presents we did not receive in person but we either FaceTime-d or emailed right away (again sorry Miss Post). This is more out of fear I would forget, which is my ongoing struggle with pretty much everything.

Most gifts were handed to the children directly and subsequently torn into in a manner akin to a raccoon and a garbage bag. This gave the children the opportunity, I stress opportunity here, to say thank you on the spot. With four kids, however, it's hard to stay on top of every single one of them. One child made the mistake of saying, "It's just a gift card" out loud and I was all over that. For the most part though, the kids did get a chance to say thank you and seemed relatively grateful. In the haze of Christmas, one cannot be sure it all sinks in.

While I don't believe that thank yous are always necessary, I do believe our latest recount helped the children reflect on what they got and the thought that went into the gift giving. It felt good to talk about the presents and the people who gave them.

I enjoyed getting the kids excited about this activity and helping them accomplish the task.

Now to write mine ... Hey, Jesus, can I have a pass?

Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.

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