“Sorry seems to be the hardest word”, sings Elton.  But I’ve started wondering if it isn’t really: ‘thank you’.  I know of two people who have recently sent lovely gifts and weeks later still haven’t heard a peep out of the recipients; not even an email or phone call.

Apologies if I sound a little grouchy.  I realise that gifts are for giving freely, not for demanding a certain type of response, or indeed any response, necessarily.

But in my day – I know, I’m sounding old here – it was drummed into me that people who took the time and effort to give gifts merited a proper thank you.  Thus from a young age I was obliged to write thank-you letters within a day of the gift being opened.  The letters were torturous to write (and, perhaps, read) – but it was The Done Thing.

Somewhere over the intervening years it seems to have become optional, even quaint, to send someone a thank you card or letter.  Yet, at risk of being seen as old-fashioned, I persist in doing so – although I do also use phone and email, depending on the recipient and the nature of the gift.  I even keep a supply of thank-you cards these days.  (I guess I am old!)   The write-within-a-day-of-opening rule rarely gets met; within three days is more like it now.  But my heart tells me that sending a few words of acknowledgement and gratitude is still the right thing to do.



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