Welcome back to Manners Monday! Each Monday we will tackle an etiquette question (or story about bad etiquette) submitted by a reader. Have a question or story to submit yourself? You can submit it here!
I received the following question from Sami:
Is it acceptable to make a Christmas card do double duty as a holiday greeting and a thank-you note or a birth announcement? Baby was born on March 5th, and I’m just getting to thank-you notes now. It seems silly to send everyone two cards at the same time, but I wonder if that is “expected” of some of the older generation of generous friends. What do you think?
Hey Sami! First, let me say “Congratulations” on the birth of your baby. Since he or she is about 9 months old by now, hopefully you are starting to get some sleep by now.
But the fact that your baby is almost 9 months old and you are just getting around to writing Thank You cards for gifts that I assume you received within about 6 weeks of the birth is your first issue. Babies aren’t like weddings. You don’t get up to 12 months to send a thank you card (and I am not even sure why you get that long with weddings, but that rule seems to be pretty well established)
Look – I get “New Mommy Brain” and how sitting down to write Thank You notes has probably been the last thing you wanted to do, but waiting this long to send them has been a rudeness on your part. I am sure that you have thanked many of the people in person for those gifts, but if gifts were sent to you from your Great Aunt Edna (or any of “the older generation” which, at the age of 45, you might consider me a part – or people you haven’t seen since you received the gift) and you have yet to thank them in person (in detail – as in “Hey BFF – thank you so much for the adorable clothes”) or in writing, you need to correct that now…in it’s own card.
Because I can guarantee you that anyone who has made a mental note that they haven’t received a Thank You card isn’t going to be impressed by you combining it with your Christmas card. They will likely think you extra lazy for doing it that way!
Write them a separate Thank You card and get it in the mail tomorrow.
As for the people that you have already thanked in person but never sent a card? While not technically 100% etiquette approved, I think you can and should add a personal note to your Christmas cards. Something light and breezy – maybe a “I can’t believe Baby is already 9 months old! I can’t think you enough for that XXX you gave them! They looked so cute/got so much use out of it/got so many compliments! Merry Christmas!”.
Lastly, as for combining a birth announcement with a Christmas card? I guess you can do it, but why would you at this point? The people that really care about you (or that you care about) should know by now that you have had a baby. Sending a birth announcement this late would seem like a gift grab (even if that isn’t your intention).
I have learned about my friends from college having babies when I get a photo Christmas card from them and their “baby” is 3 years old. The only thing that it makes me think? “If it has been 3 years and I didn’t know that they had a baby? Why are we still sending Christmas cards to each other?”
Have a question or story to submit yourself? You can submit it here!