Manners, the forgotten art of – how NOT to thank someone for a gift.

I’m noticing more and more that manners are becoming a forgotten art. Just watching an episode of Eastenders the other night it was even apparent. Michelle pulled up in a black taxi and said “wait here while I get your money”! What! This is not how I would speak to anyone! I would have said “please could you wait here a moment whilst I grab my money from inside. Sorry about this”.

I’m not even going to ask if anyone thinks I’m wrong because I’m a believer of manners and I’m disliking this world that has not only forgotten them but doesn’t seem to be teaching them to our children. 

This leads me to my biggest and longstanding bug bear. Thanking people for gifts.

When I was growing up, after each Birthday and Christmas, I would, along with my sister, write thank you notes and send them out to everyone that had sent me a gift or card or money. This wasn’t under duress. I actually enjoyed writing a thoughtful letter to each person that had sent me a gift or money. I would explain how much I liked that gift and how or what I was intending on spending the money on.

As I’ve aged and technology has advanced, I have on occasions switched to the same routine but sending it via text message, email, whatsapp and alike or phoning the individual. A personal thank you to let them know that the thought and effort they placed into ensuring I received something for my birthday or christmas had not gone unnoticed.

I took a leaf from my sister, as a fellow list lover and would have a running list next to me as I opened the gifts. Documenting who the present was from and brief description of what it was. At my baby shower my sister ran the list for me. I just find it helps later on in remembering who gave what. Especially if you receive a lot of gifts.

As George is now in our lives, I quickly jot down presents as he opens them also. I try to ensure this doesn’t take away from me watching him open the gifts. In between making a list and taking photos of him, gift opening is somewhat of a military operation in my world. It’s still fun though I promise.

It encourages him to take his time and appreciate each gift. I’m not sure how practical this will be at christmas if we have more than one child but I’m sure we’ll manage.We usually open gifts over the course of several days so as not to overwhelm him and also to encourage appreciation. We have a relatively large family so he receives quite a lot of gifts.

Here’s my list of acceptable and unacceptable ways to thank people for a gift.

Totally acceptable and I will love and respect you forever

  • Bespoke postcards – mass ordered but with a handwritten note thanking me for noted gift
  • Text message/Whatsapp to me personally, thanking me for the specifically identified gift. (Bonus points if you include a picture of you wearing the gift, of it in your home, your child playing with it etc).
  • Handwritten letter or card
  • Creative art from the child who received the gift. (A scribble, a scrawl, a handprint in paint, it’s the thought that counts.)
  • A verbal thanks at the time of opening

Pretty unacceptable methods of thanks leaving me unlikely to give you any more gifts , or at least no longer put much thought or effort into them.

  • no thank you at all
  • A verbal thank you on being handed the gift but nothing after you have opened it and actually discovered what it is.
  • A “one message fits all” Facebook status, thanking “everyone” for their gifts. No! I want to know you personally received and liked MY gift not everyone’s.

I try to treat people the way I wish to be treated. Unfortunately this sets my expectations of people far too high, often leaving me disappointed. I’m making a stand though. No longer shall I spend hours of my time putting together well thought out gifts for those that cannot find the time to thank me properly.

Here’s a fab post I found with some great tips on how to thank people for gifts for many occasions;

12 ways to say Thanks and mean it

What’s your idea of good manners when it comes to thanking people for gifts? Do you think I expect too much? Do you get annoyed by people’s apparent ungratefulness in this day and age?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

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28 Comments on "Manners, the forgotten art of – how NOT to thank someone for a gift."

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haha, yes, I totally agree. I am guilty of late thank you letters, in fact very late thank you letters (up to a month), but they always arrive (eventually). Pen x

Samsam Said

I still appreciate a good thank you; only a few people do actually send individual thank you cards or messages. 2 most important things we need to teach our kids about manners is how to say “thank you” even for the little things and “please” when they want something. Kids copy us so I think parents need to polish their manners as well. #KCACOLS.

Ann from Rainbows are too beautiful

It seems people often use a lack of time as an excuse to not say thanks. But appreciation is an important thing for kids to learn. Lovely post #kcacols

Kelly-Anne | Mimi Rose and Me

I feel exactly the same as you my lovely. It seem as if people have forgot how to show manners. I am very polite and therefore I want to teach my daughter to be too, so it really annoys me when I remind my daughter to say excuse me but adults forgot to use the word and knock into her. Looking at me as if she’s done something wrong. So when we receive any gifts we always send a little thank you card to family and friends. #KCACOLS

Ali Duke

You are so right. I am a lover of writing notes and cards so thank cards are fun for me. My daughter also loves doing this. Manners are falling by the wayside in all aspects of life.


Ah it really frustrates me when people forget their manners. It’s not a sign of weakness. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

Acorn Books

I always write thank yous and encourage my children to do them and be involved even from a very young age. Sometimes it takes us a long time to get them finished and sent but usually they all make it! Children get bought so much stuff so I hope that sitting down and talking about each gift and who sent it will help them to appreciate it. #KCACOLS

Becky @ Educating Roversi
Manners are a huge importance to me and I’ve been trying to instil them in my son since he was able to mutter “ta”. Luckily, at just over 3, we are now regularly complemented on his lovely manners which makes me happy. As for the Thank you’s, I think we are living in a society where people are becoming more and more busy. Not that it’s an excuse. When I had my son, I wrote down everything we received and had little postcards made with his picture on the front. I wrote a note on the back, thanking said person… Read more »
Stephanie ReadsWell

Saying thank you is good, but how often and in what way? I completely agree with you.

Crummy Mummy

Oh dear – I still have the thank you cards for Littlest B’s gifts on my desk and she was born in February!! #KCACOLS

Tracey Bowden

Totally agree with you and after reading this I feel I may have fallen into the second category. Not out of disrespect but just laziness I think. But as I like to know how others like gifts off me, I think I should make more of an effort to thanks others too from now on x #kcacols

Helen | Jam Sandwiches

I definitely need to start writing down my boys’ presents. I genuinely want to thank people for their gifts, but they get so much, I forget who got then what! I think you’re right to expect a thank you; thank you for reminding me that I need to get better at thanking people! #KCACOLS


Popping back again On behlaf of #KCACOLS. Thank you for linking up and I hope you come back next time.

Ruth - Mummy and the Mexicans

I agree, it is important to say thank you in a meaningful way. It’s something that perhaps people forget when they get caught up in their hectic lives. #KCACOLS