The following is a real email I received from an associate (who will remain anonymous to protect the innocent and their future gift haul at the holidays):


On Christmas Day my Grandma and I both thanked each other for the gifts we gave each other.

When I returned home I sent my Grandma a Thank You card.

Before said card was delivered, my Grandma called me to thank me again for the gift I’d given her.

Since she was on the phone I of course thanked her again for the gifts she had given me even though I knew the thank you card was in the mail.

Two days later my Grandma received my Thank You card.

The next day I received a Thank you email for the Thank You card. In addition to thanking me for the Thank You card, said email also thanked me again for the original gift.

So the question is: Do I send a reply email thanking her for the thank you email for the thank you card? Which of course would have to also involve thanking her again for the original gifts which precipitated the thank you card for which she sent the thank you email.

There is a piece of me that wonders if I can keep this going until May or June.


This email could not have arrived at a better time last week as I’ve been thinking about this whole Thank You card conundrum for some time now.  It’s gone too far people.  Let’s all agree to just cut the head of this dragon and move on shall we? 

Thank You cards were invented to send your appreciation to those whom you are unable to deliver it to in person.  Anything beyond that pushes the Thank You card into the excess pile.  I didn’t have an appreciation for the pandemic that these cards entail until I was married.  I think that it has something to do with the extra X Chromosome that women carry.  It is apparently the root source of the desire to collect knick-knacks and acquire card stock.

Per this writer (and most of the male community from what I have gathered), a Thank You card is appropriate in the following scenarios:

  1. When a gift is sent to you from afar and thus you are unable to offer a sincere sentiment of gratitude in person.
  2. At an engagement party/wedding or baby shower/large birthday party/etc. where the receiver is the center of the attention of many, and thus a forum for a true personal exchange of appreciation is difficult to convey.    
  3. In teaching your children a lesson in gratitude and responsibility for the gifts that they have received.

I would argue that in any of the situations above a direct and personal phone call from the recipient to the giver would equally suffice in lieu of the card as well (one must call until a conversation can commence – no messages/voicemails accepted).

Anything beyond that is just getting carried away.  This world of Thank You cards being exchanged for Thank You cards which beget more cards in response is simple madness.  Let’s all agree that once a proper thank you has been delivered then the matter is done and settled.  Otherwise we end up swirling down an endless wormhole in which sanity is a parachute packed without a ripcord.

It’s important to show gratitude when others bestow favors upon you.  I do not want that message to be lost in all of this.  Be grateful for all that you receive.  Say your thank yous, and when they cannot be delivered in a meaningful audible fashion in person, a written note will most certainly suffice.  But I beg of you all to collectively come to an understanding that there is no prize for being the last voice in this sick and twisted cycle.  Like with many things, if done properly the first time, then then is no need for a second.

You’re welcome.