Thank You Notes from Expectant Moms
If you’re like many adults, the last time you wrote a thank you card may have been after your wedding. Now here you are, pregnant, hormonal and so big you’re about to pop, and you have a large list of baby shower attendees and gift-givers to thank.
This is only the start—you’ll receive presents after the baby is born, too. From there, it doesn’t end: baptism, birthdays, holidays. I do believe in sending thank you notes for every occasion and teaching children to do the same from a young age.
My nephews send thank you notes to us without fail for every occasion that we give them a gift, and those cards receive places of honor on our refrigerator. It’s been fun to watch them evolve from notes written by their mom, to the simple words “thank you” in big blocky letters they wrote themselves as kindergarteners, to the personalized, heartfelt notes they now send as young adults.
Thank yous are important, but I digress. Some etiquette experts say you have as long as six months after an event to send thank you notes. The rule of thumb I’ve always adhered to is two months. Unless you have 1,000 people at your gala event, there’s really no reason to take six months to send a thank you note.
But do yourself a favor and get those baby shower thank you notes out as soon as possible, so you don’t create a backlog and find yourself with a long list of cards to write and a crying infant in the other room. If at all possible, get your shower “thank yous” out before the baby is born.
It all begins with the list. If you send Christmas cards every year, you probably already have all your important family addresses well-organized. If not, you may have put together an address list for your shower—or whoever hosted the shower did it for you, in secrecy. Get that list! It will make your life so much easier and keep you from having to re-invent the wheel.
Our article about Baby Shower Ideas recommends having each guest fill in their own name and address on thank you card envelopes as they leave, which is certainly a great idea if the host of the shower thinks to provide thank you cards for the mom-to-be in advance. (And what a thoughtful idea!)
With your address list in hand, you’ll also need the list of gifts you received and who gave them to you. Hopefully, one of your friends at the shower wrote all this information down as you opened presents and everyone ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the adorable onesies and baby blankets.
And, of course, you need thank you cards! For round-two of gift-giving, after the baby is born, you may want to have cards printed with the baby’s picture on it or simply include a wallet-size photo with the card. If the baby isn’t born yet, it might be fun to include a sonogram picture (especially if you have one from a 3D sonogram), but there are also a wide variety of adorable thank you cards to choose from with no baby pictures required, online or at your local store.
Some Web sites and even drug stores will allow you to include your own special message pre-printed on the cards, but this is not enough! Each card should include a personalized, handwritten message, too, along with the gift-giver’s name, and your personal, handwritten signature. Visit the Tiny Prints Store for a great selection of Thank You Cards that you personalize or buy as-is!
The writing… for many people, that’s the hard part. What do you say? The important thing is to be heartfelt and personal. Mention the gift by name, and possibly even the way it will be used or something you especially like about it. “Thank you so much for the adorable outfit. It is my favorite color, and Ashley will be wearing it when we come home from the hospital together!”
If you know the baby’s name, it’s fine to use it, even if the baby isn’t born yet. Don’t forget to sign the card from both yourself and your husband, even if the shower was thrown in your honor. If you feel weird signing a card from an unborn baby, you can definitely skip that, but some mothers think it’s a cute touch.
In addition to commenting personally and positively on the gift, be sure to thank the person for attending the celebration, as well. Let them know you appreciated their presence, not just their present!
What if a gift is positively awful and you plan on heading right back to the store to make an exchange? (Or they didn’t check your registry and you received a duplicate.) Find something nice to say, but don’t be phony. Let the person know you appreciate the thoughtful gift, and emphasize how nice it was to see them at the shower. If you received two of the same item, comment on each as if it were the only one you received; the gift-giver doesn’t have to know whose Diaper Genie went back to the store and which one is sitting in the nursery right now.
Finally, be sure to send an extra special card, and maybe even a small gift, such as a box of chocolates or a scented candle, to the host or hosts of the shower. Let them know you appreciate how much work goes into planning such an event, and how much it meant to you. Don’t forget to thank them for their gift, as well!
Writing thank you cards is not difficult or scary and, in fact, it should give you a warm feeling inside, as you reminisce about the good times you had at your shower and all the love (and presents) you received! You don’t have to be Shakespeare or Miss Manners to write a good thank you card. Take time to truly appreciate the thought, expense, attention and care that went into each gift, and this gratitude will be reflected in every word you write.
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