Your Opinion: The “Controversy” of Birthday Party Thank-you Cards

As you know, Hadley turned five last week. Since her birthday fell on Memorial Day this year, we had two parties: one a week early for friends and a family BBQ on the holiday.

Because I didn’t have anything better to do than plan two birthday parties.

Hadley has been asking for a dog for three years. And for three years, we have been telling her, “Not until everyone is potty trained.” One of the only good things about our son 2-year-old son Bode’s aversion to the toilet is we do not need to cash in on getting a dog. Yet.

Jamie’s sister Lisa approached us about another option: she wanted to buy Hadley a fish tank and some goldfish for her birthday and we agreed. She was beyond ecstatic and named them “Tad, Rad and Cad.”

Not to be mistaken with the names of her first three boyfriends.

Even funnier was when my sweet, quiet dad suggested the names “Joe, Moe and Hoe.”

Hadley received some really great presents from family and friends and each was welcomed with excitement and gratitude. But I was not prepared for the backlash I received on Facebook last week when I flippantly posted the following status update:

Do I REALLY need to send “thank you” cards to all of Haddie’s peeps from her birthday? It’s not that I’m ungrateful. I’m just lazy.

Now, that is only partially true. I was lazy but I also very busy. In years past, I have sent thank yous out of obligation. But this year, many of the kids we invited to the party are school chums and I don’t have their last names, let alone their addresses. I really had no way of contacting them because school was out for the summer. Plus, the majority of birthday presents we give are not acknowledged with a thank-you card, nor am I put out if I do not receive one.

Many of my friends commiserated with me and a few burned me at the stake. Here are a few of the responses I received:

“Everyone I know sends a thank-you card for the birthday gifts their kids receive at their party.”

“We always write down what people give my kids, but we never seem to get farther than that…Maybe next year.”

“I don’t think birthdays warrant thank-you cards, I took your kid off your hands for 2 full hours, fed him, entertained him and sent him home happy and full of sugar. Really I feel like you should be thanking me….”

I laughed at the latter comment because I just returned home from a friend’s huge pool party and BBQ for the entire neighborhood in honor of her child’s birthday. Afterward, I felt like I should be the one sending her a thank-you card.

I don’t know about you but I never sent out birthday thank-you cards out when I was a kid. Social etiquette dictated that I do so for my wedding gifts and baby showers and these days, I do it if someone has gone above and beyond to help me with something. My thank yous are always sincere and unexpected.

But should I be sending them more regularly? I have friends who are like clockwork. If I do anything for them, I can always count on a thank-you note. A nice gesture? Sure. But I have to admit I sometimes roll my eyes because I feel like it is done out of obligation, not sincerity.

And so I am curious to hear your take on the whole thing. Do you send out thank-you cards after birthday parties? Do you expect to receive them? What camp do you fall in? I hereby promise to implement whatever the majority rules!

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