We had a birthday this month in our house. Which meant a big birthday party with lots of kids, games, cake, and of course presents! We try not to go overboard on the gifts with our kids since we want them to appreciate what they have and not be a “gimme” or “I want” spoiled child. This can be difficult, especially at holiday time and birthday time. Children expect to get gifts, and while I do love buying and giving them things they love I also want them to want less and love what they have. One of the ways we try to keep this appreciation and gratitude alive in our home is through thank you cards. Every time my children receive a gift they write a thank you card to the gift giver. We try to make sure a lot of thought and love goes into each card.
We explain that each present they received was bought with love, and thought. That their friends and family spent a lot of time thinking of such a wonderful gift, then took the time to wrap and decorate that beautiful gift for them, and that they watched in anticipation and excitement as they opened that gift. That is a very involved event. They did all of that specifically for them, and that in return they should show the same amount of love and gratitude as well.
We began our thank you cards at a very young age. Even the two year old writes thank you cards. With the younger children we take a picture of the child playing with or wearing the new gift. We then turn it into a postcard and let the child draw, write, and color on the back to show their love and appreciation of the gift. The older children must write in words, as best as their ability allows, explaining why they loved the gift and how they are using it, and how happy they are that they received that gift.
Thank you cards started when I was a child. My mother always made sure that my siblings and I sent out thank you cards for all the gifts we received. Not only did she believe it was good manners, she felt it was an important way to teach us to appreciate what we had gotten. I truly think that it did. By making thank you card writing fun with special pens, markers, paints, photos, and stickers we looked forward to writing them. But we also had to write a different card to every person. We could not just write “thank you for the gift.” This was not a pro-forma card. We had to make each person feel that their gift meant something to us. Because they did. To is day I remember special gifts from my grandparents and great grandparents because of the cards I had written to them. To my surprise they remembered them too. When they passed away we found several of my handmade thank you cards in a drawer. Not only did my cards mean something to me they meant something to them. The circle of gratitude went on, now I am thankful that I meant enough to them that they kept the cards.
No matter what your reason for making a thank you card try to make it fun. Let your children try new ways to make them whether they do postcards, folding cards, letters, or even video thank you’d where they sing, dance, talk, or do something else to show how much they appreciate their gifts.