We’ll round off our week of birthday reminiscing by talking about the practice of writing thank you notes for all the presents you received on your birthday. Mum or Dad would suggest you should write a short letter to each friend or relative thanking them for the gift they gave you and saying how much you liked it, but to a kid the thought of writing more than a couple of letters made you yawn uncontrollably.
If you were lucky your parents would forget about it after a couple of days, and you’d get away with doing nothing, but some peoples parents were adamant that you should do this task in order to teach you good manners. I was lucky, and usually got away without doing it, but I always felt a little guilty for a time afterwards, but that soon passed! Other kids weren’t so lucky though, and would be sat down with pen and paper and made to do the job.
There were a number of reasons why writing these letters was such a chore. If you received more than a few gifts chances are you had forgotten who gave you what, so that made things tough straight away. Then there were the gifts of clothes. Until a certain age no child likes to receive clothes for their birthday, so writing a letter to say thank you for a jumper or some underpants seemed somewhat unfair. For me by far the biggest problem was knowing what to write, as “Dear Gran, Thank You” didn’t seem to cut it, as I felt that letters were supposed to be a bit longer than that.
As an alternative to writing a letter you were sometimes offered the chance to thank certain people, such as grandparents or aunts and uncles by making a phonecall. This too seemed incredibly daunting to a young child, but it really was a much better option. You felt like you had to say something, but really just a shy sounding “Thank You” down the phone was all that was required, and the relative at the other end of the phone line would be more than pleased with this. Funny creatures adults, aren’t they!
For all those kids out there reading this who are facing this chore, here’s a sample thank you letter you can use. Just insert the relevant words in the spaces provided and there you go.
Dear (Grandma/Uncle Fred/Bob),
I hope you are well. Thank you for the (lovely / wonderful / brilliant / red) (toy car / jigsaw puzzle / bar of chocolate / underpants) you sent me for my birthday. It’s just what I wanted and I really enjoy (playing with / making / eating / wearing) it.
Just be sure you pick the correct words. You wouldn’t want to end up thanking grandma for the lovely red underpants you enjoy eating, would you.