I love planning parties and gatherings. Especially birthday parties for my girls. I enjoy picking a theme, making decorations, planning food and pulling it all together. I’ve hosted parties from dinosaur and train theme to picnic and art themes and even a Sesame Street shindig to boot. I enjoy hosting friends and family to celebrate my girls. I don’t even mind the clean-up afterward.
There are two parts of the birthday party planning and hosting process I do not enjoy one bit, though. The first is the time between sending out invitations and the actual party. Trying to figure out who is coming and who is not is a frustrating dance. Unfortunately, in all the parties and gatherings I’ve planned, getting people to RSVP in a timely manner has not gotten easier, and I haven’t figured out a magic trick to make it more enjoyable either.
The second part I would happily skip if I could is the thank you card. First let me say, I like thank you cards and enjoy sending them in general. I like sending and receiving happy mail. The issue I take with thank you cards for gifts given to my girls has nothing to do with my actual feelings about thank you cards. A thank you written by me from my perspective for a gift given to my young child feels awkward to write. A thank you written by me from my child’s perspective is even more awkward. I’m grateful for the gift, and my child is grateful, too, but in all honesty, writing a thank you card from a toddler just feels weird.
Regardless of the awkwardness I feel after each party – until my child is old enough to write her own notes – I pull out my address book and start writing. To help combat some of my awkwardness, I usually have my child take part in the making of thank you notes in some way. One year, we stamped the front of pre-printed thank you cards with dinosaur stamps. Another year before my oldest could write anything more than her own name, she signed her name in crayon at the bottom of each card. This year, for the second birthday of my youngest, I broke out some card stock and paint and let her paint all over one side of each sheet. I cut the papers into strips, and I’m writing our messages of thanks on the back sides of her art and shipping them off in the mail.
Including a toddler or squirmy preschooler makes the thank you card process a bit longer, but at least I feel like she’s showing her thanks in her own way, and it isn’t just me awkwardly writing notes. Hopefully, by involving my children at a young age, writing thank you notes will be a habit as they get older. In the meantime I’ll just bide my time and try to find ways to ease my feelings of awkwardness.
What are your feelings on thank you cards? Do you send them? Do you involve your children in the process?