January 20, 2010

Weighing in

The column, Annie's Mailbox, appears in one of our daily newspapers. Recently this letter was one of those printed:

Dear Annie: We have six grandchildren and talk, e-mail and text often with four of them. They always thank us for the gifts we send for birthdays and holidays.

The same, however, is not true for the other two, who live out of state. They are both teenagers and quite capable of acknowledging gifts, but they don't. When we ask the parents if the children received their gifts, the answer usually is, "I think so, but I'm not sure."

Our children were raised to be properly grateful, but for some reason, our son doesn't feel his children need to follow rules of any sort.

We sent money to the kids for Christmas and never heard a word. I sent an e-mail to their mother asking if they got their cards, but she didn't reply. Our son believes it's up to the kids to say thank you and if they don't, we should accept it. He says we are expecting too much.

My first instinct is not to give them anything for birthdays and holidays this year. I wonder if they'd even notice. We are both retired and live on a fixed income. Should I stop sending gifts? Should I donate their share of birthday and holiday presents to the needy who would appreciate them?— Very Disappointed Grandmother

Dear Grandmother: Your son and his wife apparently don't believe their children should be responsible for even the most basic courtesy. Use this as an opportunity to educate these misguided grandchildren. Send each an e-mail and explain why you expect some type of acknowledgment for any gift, and that if they don't thank you, you will assume they no longer want your presents. If you wish instead to make a donation to charity in their names, by all means, do so.

This isn't exactly what Bob and I are experiencing, but it rang enough bells and we've talked about it, in the past. A couple of years ago I started diminishing the value of the gifts to the grandchildren who don't bother with a phone call or an email, let alone a written thank you note when we give them a gift. We truly love these kids and won't consider not remembering them for special occasions; but some times we've thought of it, because they don't seem to appreciate any effort we make.

How about it, how do other grandparents deal with this, or are you lucky enough to always be thanked.


  1. We are lucky enough to live close enough to the grandparents that my kids hug and kiss on their grandparents and say thank you when they open the gift and when we leave. I guess maybe we have done something right. The older kids will even call to check up on the at least once every two weeks.
    Blessed on both ends I guess.

  2. I myself am not a grandparent yet but....I had the same sort of problem with my neices and nephews. It always upset me that they could not let me know they received a gift from me. There parents too thought I was totally wrong in expecting a thank you. Therefore, I stopped sending. It's just not right and I too taught my kids that this is the right thing to do. It's a hard thing. But right, is right I say.

  3. I hear about this a lot; however, I am lucky that I get thanked by each of my eight grandchildren. In fact, this Christmas when I got up, my 20 year-old grandson in Idaho had already texted me Merry Christmas and thanked me for his gift. It was very nice to see first thing in the morning.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Boy have you hit a nerve with me...YES we are in the same boat. I will not mention names but let me say at least half of our grandchildren(nine total) do not acknowledge our gifts. It is a matter of simple manners. How hard is it to pick up the phone, text, email or even write a note of thanks!!!! This is something that sticks in my Kraul and I find a hard time getting over! I saw that article years ago and thought about sending it to the guilty parties but lost my nerve. These kids are highly educated and want for nothing...I wonder how they will teach their own children when the time comes. Giving to a charity in lieu of a gift is becoming very appealing to me...It just may be time to implement. phewwww...glad I got that off my chest!

  6. Jan...I keep meaning to tell you I recieved your book and cannot wait to read it..Thanks again!

  7. I am not a parent, so there are no grandchildren. But I have nieces and nephews, and had bad gift-giving experiences with all of them. The oldest nephew is an adult and I stopped giving him gifts long ago because he never thanked us. And I sent a large check to one brother with 4 children (2 months before Christmas). I have yet to get a thank you from anyone in that household. This brother is also unemployed, so the generous cash gift should have been especially appreciated. Previous presents to those childen have rarely been acknowledged. I am ready to cut them off the gift list as well. We are retired and on fixed incomes too.

    The only Christmas card or birthday card I got this past year was from my mom. I guess my five brothers didn't think that I was worth the stamp. I've already decided to not send them cards from here on out.


Thank you for commenting! I enjoy replying to all comments that have an email address attached. If you are not on Blogger please include an email address within your comment--then I can say hi back!