The good aunt and thank yous

Today was the first day of school here where I live. I know some of you had your first day of school earlier in the summer, and others won’t send the kids back until next week. Those of you who don’t have children to pack off to school may still find yourselves reacting to the changes all around you: driving to work through hectic school zones, shopping among the back-to-school frenzy or even gearing up for the last month of the quarter at work.

Trust me, I know this is a busy season for many of you. So thank you for taking the time to drop by my blog today. I’ve got an exciting contest to announce at the end of today’s post, and I’m thrilled you get to hear all about it first.

Today’s theme is all about thank yous. Show of hands: how many of you learned to write thank you notes at an early age? My mom always made sure that by the end of Christmas break, we had written thank you notes for every gift we received from someone other than close family. Birthday thank you notes didn’t have such a hard-and-fast deadline, but my mom still made sure we wrote them in a timely manner.

I’m no Miss Manners or Emily Post, but I am sad to see the expectation of writing thank you notes disappearing from our cultural consciousness. And I’ve struggled with how to deal with the lack of thanks.

There are young people in my life who write some of the loveliest thank you notes I’ve ever gotten, but there are also those who don’t even acknowledge the gift at all, not a note or a word of thanks or an email or even a text or Facebook message to let me know the package arrived.

One of my friends brought this up in our interview for this series. She has several grown nieces and nephews, and she mentioned her struggle with the lack of thank you notes. But when she thought back to her own early adult years, she had to admit that she didn’t always send the thank you cards she should have. So she has chosen to extend grace to her nieces and nephews and continues to show her love for them by giving them gifts, even when they go “unthanked.”

Good aunts such as my friend can be pretty low maintenance when they have to be, but if you’re on the receiving end of a good aunt’s gifts, here’s what you should do. Find out if she’s the type who insists on thank you cards and seethes on the inside if you don’t send one, the type who loves thank you cards but doesn’t necessarily expect them, or the type who is fine with a quick acknowledgment that you got her gift.

You’ll notice that I’m leaving out another option, which is to say nothing at all. I think this is rude, plain and simple. And I’m not willing to let anyone off the hook entirely when there are so many easy, free, quick ways to acknowledge a gift.

I’d love to hear where you stand on the to-write-or-not-to-write-thank-you-notes issue.

Contest: Thank your good aunt
Now about that contest I mentioned at the beginning of the post. Is there a woman in your life you’d like to acknowledge and thank as a good aunt? Maybe an aunt or great aunt, a sister or a friend, someone who has made you or your children feel special and valued and loved.

Here’s your chance to publicly thank her.

From now through Monday, September 24, you can write in here to thank your good aunt. Please include the following information:

  • Your good aunt’s first name and last initial. Please don’t include the full last name.
  • The state (or country, if outside of the US) where she lives/lived.
  • Your relationship to her (biological niece, son of her best friend, sister, friend)
  • Why you want to thank her (i.e., the things she has done for you that make you feel loved and special).
  • One favorite memory with her.
  • Anything else you can think of that defines her as a good aunt to you.

Where to enter:

  • You may post your entry as a comment on this post (click reply below to fill out the comment fields).
  • You may post your entry on the good aunt series page of this blog.
  • You may email me your entry. If you choose this option, please let me know if I have your permission to post your entry in the comments section of this post.

I know there are lots of good aunts out there, so start sending in your stories to thank them!

The prizes (intangible and tangible)
The greatest prize is letting your good aunt know you love her and are grateful for all that she means to you, but I know you’d probably like a tangible prize, too.

Throughout September, I have an awesome line-up of guest bloggers who will be writing about the good aunt. To give you a little extra incentive to enter the contest, I’ll be giving away a copy of one of those guest blogger’s books. The winner – to be announced on Monday, October 1 – gets to choose which author’s book.

Let me know if you have any questions. Otherwise, let’s hear your “thank your good aunt” stories.

6 thoughts on “The good aunt and thank yous

  1. Pingback: Thanking your good aunt | The Flourishing Tree

  2. Pingback: Guest post: The courage to love imperfectly | The Flourishing Tree

  3. Pingback: Guest blog post: Dealing with pain | The Flourishing Tree

  4. Pingback: Guest post: The power of a good aunt’s pen | The Flourishing Tree

  5. Saying Thank you is one of those things that I have at times failed miserably at as a mother trying to train daughters who will be grateful humans. This was a nice reminder for me to light some fires around here to get some thank you cards sent you – so, thank you!

    The aunt I would like to thank is my Aunt Kate A. She passed from this world 14 years ago, but she was a wonderful aunt who made her many nieces and nephews feel special. We lived many states apart, when we visited our New York relatives, staying at her house was the highlight. She poured her love out through details and time. She always had a freezer stocked with treats bought just for my sister and I. She would remember a favorite flavor of ice cream or cookies, and it would always be waiting for you. As the one adult around in my childhood who did not have children, she had the available bandwidth to spend time with me individually. She painstakingly taught me how to play her favorite song on her piano. To this day The Rose is still the only song I can play (well sort of play!)

    • Well, don’t tell your girls I’m to blame. They may not feel like thanking me for reminding you. 😉

      Thanks for the lovely tribute to your Aunt Kate. What a wonderful gift to remember and stock favorite goodies in the freezer. I need to be better about doing that when my nephews visit.

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