Opinion

Opinion: Saying 'Thanks': a lost art?

Is saying “Thank you” for gifts and cards a lost art? Reporter reader Shelley Hader is wondering what’s up with kids these days.

She wants to know why her nephews and nieces and other young family members don’t seem to acknowledge gifts, cards or money they’re sent on birthdays, graduation or other special occasions.

“We never get a response back [saying] that they received the gift or cards or money,” she says. “Do they just expect it, or know they are going to get something but they don’t have to say thank you?”

Shelley points out that when she was growing up, she was taught to thank those who sent gifts or cards. To this day, she always makes sure to acknowledge gifts and favours from family, friends, co-workers, bosses and neighbours.

“We don’t understand,” she said, appealing to her local paper. “And we are not that old, either. Any explanation would be appreciated so we can understand the new generation growing up.”

We decided to throw the question over to our Facebook friends, who offered some responses and theories, revealing a technological divide along with evidence of a generation gap.

Turns out it’s not just kids who think the tradition is past its prime.

“Most people use technology now,” commented Niamh Kavanagh. “I used to write thank you cards for all my baby gifts etc. and people asked me to stop. They didn’t want to receive the cards because it was clutter, and they just threw it out anyway.”

The majority of commenters, however, said they think it’s just plain rude not to express thanks. “Kids today are greedy,” said Jeff White. “So the gifts are expected, not appreciated.”

“An acknowledgement or thank you, whatever media you choose, is only good manners and shows respect for the person that took the time, energy and thoughtfulness to get you a gift in the first place,” added Irene Wright.

Sigrid Tilley said when her daughters were younger, she make them write thank-you notes, explaining that that it was important to acknowledge the gift-giver’s effort and good will.

“[I’m] happy to say that they are still writing a thank you note or a quick phone call to say, ‘Thank you’ and yes, they are teenagers now.”

It’s difficult to know if we fogies should feel vindicated or hopelessly out-of-touch, so at the risk of sounding outdated as the squeal of a dial-up modem, “thanks” for sharing.



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