Dear Snarky – Thank You Note Throwdown at Thanksgiving

Dear Snarky,real-feelings-thanksgiving-dinner-funny-ecard-fkn

 My two sisters and I are so angry that our niece has never written us thank you notes for the wedding presents we gave her that we are planning on staging a manners intervention on Thanksgiving.

 We feel like we have to do something because her mom, our sister, sure isn’t making sure her grown daughter writes them. What has happened to people’s manners? Who doesn’t write thank you notes for wedding presents?

 Our niece has to be told she’s failing her family and P.S. my mother would be rolling over in her grave to know that one of her granddaughters’ was that lazy and ungrateful.

 The only problem is my husband. He says it will ruin Thanksgiving. What do you think Snarky?

 Signed,  Manners Police Because Someone Has to Be the Bad Cop

 Dear Manners,

 Oh my, I feel like there is a whole lot more going on here than a wedding thank you note, like years of family drama and deep-rooted hostility.

 My short answer is ditch the intervention. I agree with your hubs it will, 100 %, ruin Thanksgiving and I’m getting the vibe that you and your sisters just might love drama and pot stirring.

 Now on the thank you note issue. I’m going to reverse my longstanding position on handwritten thank you notes. Are they awesome? You bet. Should you get your feelings hurt if you don’t get one to the point of creating family division? Um no.

 If you sent a gift than yes you need to know it was received, but I now think any expression of gratitude is fabulous. I would much rather receive a sweet text from my nephew with a photo of him holding my gift and blowing kisses than a generic four line thank you note card.  Yep, times have changed.

 As for your niece – let it go. If the lack of gratitude upsets you and your sisters that much than don’t get here anymore gifts. There’s a strong message about how you feel. But for the love of turkey and dressing don’t let a thank you note destroy your holiday because that “Manners Police” would be a humongous etiquette gaffe a thousand times worse than not writing a thank you note.

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky, “21st Century Advice With An Attitude” email me at or send me a PM on the Snarky FB page. 😉


Dear Snarky – Dealing With the Thank You Note Police

dear_snarky_logo-1Dear Snarky,

My aunt is a real pain in the you know what. She spends the better part of Christmas talking trash about family member’s kids who didn’t send her thank you notes. Last Christmas she made a big thing about it and didn’t give gifts to the children that hadn’t sent her what she thought was a decent thank you for her crappy Dollar Store presents. Last year two of my sister’s kids got toothbrushes.

Do you have any advice on how to stop my aunt from ruining Christmas morning?

Signed, Not Happy

Dear Not Happy,

Nothing kills the holiday mojo like a relative hell-bent on being the thank you note police, even worse if the relative is the bearer of gifts that deal with personal hygiene. To stop your aunt from her campaign to ruin Christmas morning I would give her the one thing she desperately wants for the holidays – attention. You’re going to have to shut her down with love.

First thing Christmas morning give her a huge thank you note from the entire family expressing everyone’s extreme gratitude for all she does and what she means to you. So what if you have to maybe fib a little (or a lot) about some of her positive attributes. Remember, it’s all for the greater good.

Hopefully, this thank you note group hug will calm her down enough so everyone else in the family can enjoy Christmas. If this doesn’t work your family needs to rethink your Christmas gift giving strategies. For instance, maybe it should be suggested your aunt  make a donation to her favorite charity in lieu of giving everyone individual gifts.

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice With An Attitude – email me at or private message me on my Snarky Facebook page.

My Mother & The Thank You Note Saga

thank-you-road-signHave you written all your holiday thank you notes yet? Well, according to my mother you better get on it. In fact, she would say you are coming awfully close to committing good manners suicide. Hello – Christmas was almost a month ago.

I can’t be the only one with a mother who is very passionate, some might say hard core, others crazy about the thank you note. In fact, I think if you have a mom who hails from the south you were probably raised with what I call the “thank you note threatdown.” This is when you get informed about a whole list of dire punishments coming your way if you don’t get your thank you’s done.

You see for my mother the thank you note is more than a letter of gratitude. It’s a definitive statement on your upbringing. A mediocre thank you note means many things about your family and none of it good.

My mother would say the top three things a so so thank you note indicates are:

1) You lack decent home training. This means your parents failed in their responsibility to teach you the most common of courtesies. It also means (according to my mom) you were probably raised that drinking beer out of can is acceptable, napkins are optional, RSVP means just show up if you feel like it and flip-flops at a wedding are “cute.”

2) Your character is flawed. If you never learned to write an adequate thank you note then it’s a good guess you’re probably going to serve time, at the very least, in the country jail if not the state penitentiary.

3) Your family tree is suspect and inbreeding is a distinct possibility. I’ll never forget the time my mother received what she thought was a sub standard thank you note for a wedding present and her comment was “Well, you know that family has some cousins who married each other so that explains a lot.”

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 11.10.30 AM

The preprinted wedding thank you note that’s guaranteed to send my mother into some sort of etiquette seizure.

I’m not exaggerating one bit when I tell you that my mother and her friends discuss the quality of the thank you notes they receive from the stationery (FYI do not use a card that has “thank you for the wedding gift” pre printed on it. It could send any woman over 75 into cardiac arrest) to the penmanship. (Cursive lives my friend and it’s home is the thank you note.)

About now you might be wondering what my mother considers a decent thank you note. Let’s just say it’s not for slackers. To begin with an acceptable thank you note is four paragraphs. The first one is for thanking the giver only. It’s considered tacky to mention the gift in the first paragraph. You must build up to the gift. My mother believes the gift is secondary. What the note is really doing is acknowledging the givers thoughtfulness in thinking of you.

The second paragraph is where it’s okay to express your gratitude for the gift and how much you will enjoy using it etc. The third paragraph is where you share a unique tidbit about how much the gift giver means to you and the fourth and final (thank God) paragraph is where you wrap it all and do another “thanks again” shout out.

But wait, there’s more. Those thank you notes have to be written in a timely manner. You don’t get married and think you have months to get that chore done. Oh no, gift gets opened thank you note gets written. After I got married my mother used to call me at work everyday and badger me on the status of my thank you’s. My co-workers didn’t believe my “sweet” mother could be that big of an etiquette bully, so one day I put her on speaker phone and I had colleagues stunned and speechless. You don’t mess with Texas or my mom.

All of this has made me a nervous wreck when my children write their Christmas thank you notes to my parents. I don’t know where I went wrong, but for the life of me they can’t get the hang of the four paragraphs. They want to “21st century it” and go four sentences. No, no and no! This is our family legacy on the line. I will not be the one that lowers the standard. I fear a four-sentence thank you is the gateway drug to a total abandonment of any and all social graces. What’s next texting a smiley face emoji as your expression of gratitude?

As I’m stressing out my son looks up at me and says, “Relax Mom. It’s just a thank you note not the Magna Carta.”

What he doesn’t understand, and perhaps never will, is that for my mother this is her Magna Carta. A well-written thank you note is her way of letting the world know she’s doing her part to make sure manners still matter.

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 **For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. 


Dear Snarky – I Write My Teenagers Thank You Notes

Dear SnaManyThanksBACrky,

 I’m in big trouble with my mother! I have two teenagers and over Christmas my 17-year-old daughter spilled the beans to my mom that I have been writing my kids’ thank you notes for years.

 I started doing it when they were in elementary school. I got tired of nagging them so I just sat down and did it. As they’ve gotten older I’ve become pretty good at matching their handwriting style. Yes, I know it was bad parenting, but my mother has blown it out of proportion and says it was an “act of betrayal.”

 Do you have any advice for mending this rift?

 Signed, Thank You Mom

Dear Thank You,

I’m not going to lie. You’ve got a mess on your hands and it’s bigger than writing thanking you notes. Good Lord, woman are you also doing your kids’ homework and penning their college application essays? This is just all kinds of wrong BUT I’m not here to make you feel worse. I’m here to help.

So, the only thing I’ve got for you is telling your mom she’s right. You have to do a full mea culpa and beg for forgiveness. If you have to get on your hands and knees to do it – so be it. THEN I would reexamine your parenting practices.

Perhaps, your daughter sharing with her grandma that you have been writing the thank you notes was a “wake up” call. I’m guessing there are bigger issues of control going on.

P.S. Please don’t write me a thank note for this advice.

Yours, Snarky