“Spreading” The Gratitude With Efficiency

by admin on September 24, 2012

My husband is normally a very sweet and thoughtful guy, but he occasionally tramples all over etiquette in his quest for efficiency.

While we were going through the wedding process, I created a spreadsheet on my computer that listed important information such as the guest list, addresses for each guest, whether they’d RSVP’d, what gifts we’d gotten, etc.

When it came time to write thank you notes, my husband (who has a much larger family and was thus responsible for writing twice as many notes) desperately tried to convince me to let him use the spreadsheet to automatically create the notes, thus saving us all that pesky time that would otherwise be spent hand-writing thoughtful and sincere responses.

I can just picture it: “Dear AUNT BETTY, thank you so much for your lovely gift of CORNINGWARE CASSEROLES, THREE. We will cherish it/them in our life together. Your loving NIECE, Rachel.”

Needless to say, I didn’t let him anywhere near that spreadsheet. 0920-12

You can convince an efficiency freak of the need for handwritten, personal notes of thanks by reminding him or her that if they were to acquire that item, it would mean several hours of paid labor to earn the money to buy it, then shopping for it and bringing it home.  Writing a sincere note takes far less time, maybe ten minutes at most.


{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

jena rogers September 24, 2012 at 8:11 am

Ha! ‘Loved the OP’s example of an “efficient” thank you note. Bless your hubby’s heart…


clairedelune September 24, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Totally…I could picture the finished product.


Katie September 24, 2012 at 8:42 am

Loved this! Thank goodness you intercepted, OP 🙂


LovleAnjel September 24, 2012 at 9:14 am

That’s still decently personalized. We once received a generic thank you print-out, which didn’t mention our names or the gift, and wasn’t even signed by the couple. We were actually (I had thought) pretty close to the couple, so it really stung (and four years later, they are working on divorce – was this TY a sign of something maybe?).


Katy September 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm

At least you got a note. I’ve been to five different weddings for my husband’s family, I’ve gotten one thank-you note.


Hanna September 24, 2012 at 9:21 am

I wrote all the thank you notes after my husband and I got married, even all the notes to “his” people. (They received these notes no later than 2 weeks after the wedding.) If I had put it up to my husband, those notes would have never gotten written, plus he doesn’t like to write. Since the gifts are to *both* people, I don’t see any issue with leaving the thank you notes up to one person.


jen a. September 24, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Or the husband could learn to write out the thank you notes himself! I wrote all of the thank you notes after I got married, and it was a big task that I would have loved to have shared…


debi b October 17, 2012 at 1:00 am

25 yrs ago, I wrote out ALL of our thank you notes. Hubby asked to see one, as I was about to seal the last one. He was upset because I had simply signed them “Debi”, asking why I didn’t sign his name, too? My reply? “When you do half the work, you can take half the credit.”


Katy September 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm

My DH has atrocious spelling/handwriting. I wrote all of them to spare our guests, but he still complained when I made him sign them.


Agania September 25, 2012 at 1:23 am

Darn right Katy. My hubby has the penmanship of a 7 year old and the spelling and punctuation to match. Writing the TYs was a mammoth task but at least all our insanely generous friends and family were properly thanked. I drew the line at his 40th birthday and hence no one was thanked – even me who threw the epic three day celebrations! It’s lucky I love him so much!


Snarkastic September 24, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Yeah, it’s no big thing, but I suppose it would have taken some of the heat off you. Hah.


The Elf September 25, 2012 at 8:00 am

I don’t either – how you split work as a couple is up to you.

That said, I totally made him write his family’s and close friend’s thank you notes. We split Christmas cards the same way.


clairedelune September 25, 2012 at 11:17 am

I don’t really, either–and I wrote all our thank you notes–but it does get my back up to hear about a grown man basically whining his way out of a normal adult chore.


Shoegal September 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I had to write all the thank you notes myself – DH never would have taken the time – and not for “his” people either. I discovered that most people don’t really expect the groom to write these out – and I would have been personally blamed by everyone for not doing them myself.


The Elf September 24, 2012 at 11:32 am

I have used computers and typewriters for notes because my handwriting is so terrible, and I assume I’m not alone in that. But that’s not a form letter! OP is absolutely in the right and I’m sure when husband actually does sit down and do the handwriten thank-yous it actually won’t take that long. Just put in some good music for the background and have at it!


Cat September 24, 2012 at 11:59 am

Your husband is a rank amateur. I sent my niece a set of crystal glassware from Tiffany’s of New York, despite having received the invitation only three days before a wedding that was two-hundred miles away.
Her hand-written note read, “Thanks for the wedding gift. ” and she had signed her name. It saved all that pesky gushing about what the gift was, how it will be used/treasured/returned for cash.It was the last I ever heard from her so I take it there were no children.


jena rogers September 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm



AS September 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm

@Cat – sorry, I couldn’t help asking… is this niece the daughter of the awful brother you often tell us about? Then… well, like father like daughter!


Angel September 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Cat, that is awful 🙁


Snarkastic September 24, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Please, do explain! How or why did the invitation arrive so late?!

This is such a great story. I love your niece for adding to the annals of E-Hell/Hell’s Bells. She is, indeed, a pro.


Cat September 25, 2012 at 4:36 pm

No, AS, my awful brother decided never to have children because they are too expensive and he spends money only on himself. He tells people who ask that he loves his wife so much that he could never bring himself to put her through the pain of childbirth.
At least, that’s what he told folks about wife #1, who wanted children and had them with her second husband . I never met wife # 2 and don’t know if he has remarried after #2 split.

Snarkastic, I recall some problem about the address on the invitation being incorrect. Even with the correct address, it would have arrived too late for me to take off from work, make reservations, etc. I had only seen niece once as an adult and have never heard from her since.


Enna September 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Well done OP.


Tracy September 24, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I can see the mindset behind doing the spreadsheet thing. I admittedly did that for my college graduation TY cards. Now several years older and having been on this site for a while, I still cringe when I think about those thank you cards.–at the time it seemed so efficient! Ah, youth.


AS September 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm

OP, your hubby dear seemed to be quite naive about finer etiquette. Good that you nipped it in the bud. When I complain to my father about my husband’s occasional etiquette flaws, dad often says that some men are a little flaky about certain nuances of etiquettes (and no, dad never seemed to lack in etiquette, but he claims that he learned them – rather fine polished himself as I call it – after he got married). Hubby is very sweet and has amazing social grace, but he has to be told occasionally.


Katy September 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Put a password on it and keep up the good work, OP!


Angeldrac September 24, 2012 at 3:25 pm

The Elf: thank you for bringing this up! I’m hearing you loud and clear!
It always makes me wince, a bit, when I see, on this site, people complaining about typed thank you notes. As a “southpaw”, I do have poor, laboured, smudgey handwriting. The thought of defacing all those lovely thank you cards made me out off writing the things for far longer than would be considered polite. In the end I typed out personalised notes to go into the cards. I know many would not agree with this, and could probably take issue and complain about it, but I don’t see myself as having had any other choice. I do wonder if etiquette had just permitted me to email people thanks they would have been done withing a week of the wedding and have been worded with as much sincerity as a frou frou little card that someone would look at for a day then discard.


Margo September 25, 2012 at 9:34 am

I don’t think the typing is a major issue if the letter is individual and is signed by hand, especially if this allows for it to be legible.
I personally would far rather receive an actual letter or card than an e-mail, even if it takes a little longer. It feels as though the sender has made more of an effort, and it feels more personal to me. (also, you can’t sit an email on the mantlepice or stick it on the fridge door for a week or so after getting it the way you can with a card)


Kate September 28, 2012 at 4:08 am

Angeldrac, that’s why I’m choosing to have my wedding invitations fully typed. As much as I like the idea of writing the invitees’ names on the invitation with a beautiful calligraphy pen, I’m also a lefty and if a pen leaves any ink on the page, it’s going to smudge all over the place. Which is a shame, because my handwriting is actually really neat!
I remember being really upset as a kid because I spent my pocket money on a card for my grandma’s birthday, only to leave a huge texta smear on it while writing.


Angela September 24, 2012 at 9:21 pm

My dad showed me a photo card thank-you note for a wedding present. It read in part “Thank you for being with us on Jack and Jill’s special day. Thank you for the gift of _______.” in the blank was written “money”.
Dad thought it was hilarious “they didn’t know any better”.


Claire September 25, 2012 at 8:50 am

Save the trees and write a round robin email. (I jest)
I don’t see why a typewritten personal note would be unacceptable. And I don’t keep cards sent to me (who has the space?)


Angeldrac September 30, 2012 at 8:38 am

Exactly! I don’t keep thankyou cards, they barely even stay on the fridge for a week. And I think that’s sad when the couple has spent good money on them. Really, all things considered (the money, the waste of resources/environmentally impact, the pressure on the recipient to keep the things), I think I’d much rather get a personalized and beautifully worded thank you email. Let’s move with the times and be accepting of a perfectly reasonable and acceptable change in practice – it’s still a “thank you”, after all!


JeanFromBNA September 25, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Thanks for the laugh! I could just picture the TYN!


River September 25, 2012 at 11:07 pm

I think receiving a typewritten letter would be charming. You know that the same amount of effort has gone into it as a handwritten letter because it can’t be printed in multiples like a computer document can.

The only problem would be getting the typewriter in the first place… maybe I’ll start giving them as wedding gifts now.


Lizza September 26, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Sounds like a thank you note I got once! The wedding was in early May, and my gift wasn’t anything extravagant, but it was still a gift off their registry. In DECEMBER I got one of those Christmas-newsletter things from the couple. It came with a small card that had, “Thank you for the lovely gift,” printed on it. Nothing was signed or personalized. My honest reaction was why send this now? I’d honestly forgotten all about it (we weren’t very close and didn’t see each other frequently) and to be reminded with that stunning lack of effort was rather like a slap in the face. Like, “Oh yeah, we didn’t forget about you, we just don’t care!”


MeganAmy September 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm

This reminds me of my cousin and his wife. I was invited to the bridal shower and I got her a very generous gift. I never received a thank you card (nor verbal or email thanks). The wedding was only a few months later, and I figured the thank you card might still be on the way, so I got them a generous wedding gift. Still never a thank you. About a year later, I received an invitation to a baby shower for them. I declined and only sent a card. Apparently, many of our family members also declined and only sent cards. Suddenly, I got one envelope in the mail with two thank you cards in it – one for the bridal shower gift and one for the wedding gift.


penguin tummy October 7, 2012 at 6:51 am

I can only recall receiving one handwritten thank you from a wedding, the rest have all been generic notes with no name or the names written on after. They have always been really nicely done cards with a photo of the couple and nice colours etc, which I do appreciate may have taken a while to create.


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