Some of us don't like our kids or grandkids to thank us via email or text. We'd like our gifts acknowledged the old-fashioned way: with a handwritten note. There's something polite and etiquette-right about pen (or crayon) set on paper--and the time it takes to do so. When young grandchildren embroider those notes with their very own drawings (see above), we're in orbit. But we live in a digital world. Our older grandkids and grown kids are happier using their thumbs to let us know they appreciate a gift we've sent. They're more likely to send a note--full of their immediate enthusiasm--if they can pick up their smartphone and tap it out. It's up to us to decide how "traditional" a reply we're willing to accept. Insistence on tradition may come with a cost--a delay of thanks or a less spontaneous response.
Whether or not we say Yes to the Text, some of us can't be thanked often enough. Sometimes we ask how, say, a grandchild enjoyed a book we sent. And we may ask several times, even though we've already gotten an answer. One grannie defends her practice of asking for thank yous over and over again, saying, "Hearing that what we do is appreciated and liked brings a smile to my face."
That said, the constant "request" for a thank you can be annoying, even irritating, to the receivers of those gifts--not so much the little grandkids but the parents, aka our grown children.
When a reader posed a question along these lines to Carolyn Hax ("We always thank her for gifts, and these comments feel like she's asking for thank-yous over and over again"), Hax offered several ways for the grown child to deal politely with the recurring queries from her mother about a gift. (One approach: deflect the query with a question, such as "Oh, did you not get our thank-you note?")
But Hax wasn't the only one to respond to the issue. Several of her readers did, addressing not so much the grownchild's question as the grandparent's need for the reassurance that multiple thank-yous bring. One reader suggested that if the grownkids take repeated inquiries as pressure for repeated acknowledgements of your gifts, "then tell your kids you ask these follow up questions because it makes you so happy to bring the grandkids happiness. Say that's all you mean by it and hope you aren't misconstrued."
There's also this: If you've received a thank you--by phone call, email, text or in-person hug--enjoy the expression of enthusiasm and bask in the satisfaction of it. The additional pleasure in hearing a thank you again and again may not be worth the annoyance factor.
(Link to Hax column:Carolyn Hax: I can never thank you enough. No, seriously, it’s become a problem.