I used to be so good about writing thank you notes for anything and everything. If someone did something thoughtful or invited me over for coffee or gave me a gift, a handwritten note (in calligraphy, no less) was soon to follow.
Fast forward to Christmas 2009...I was so grateful to have received only a small handful of gifts this year. I thought, "Oh, thank goodness, I only have to write four thank you notes!" Never mind the lovely dinners, cookie parties, and playdates surrounding Christmas...I just can't keep up with that level of handwritten appreciation anymore!
But now I have not only my own thank you notes to write, but the kids' thank you's as well! I took them to the dollar store and let them each pick their own pack of thank you cards, just to give them some ownership over the whole process. We made a chart for each kid with the gifts they received and the name of the giver, to be crossed off as the note is written. Our 6-year-old is painstakingly handwriting his own notes, and with his birthday just three days after Christmas, we let him combine both celebrations into one thank you note. He still isn't finished.
Last year, I made him draw a picture of each gift inside blank cards. When he finally finished all his artwork, I am so ashamed to admit that I completely lost his cards, his list of gifts and givers, and the envelopes (which I had already addressed). Those never got sent.
While KID 1 can just barely write his own thank you's this year, KID 2 can NOT, thank you very much. It is apparently my job to thank everyone for her gifts. I've tried having her "decorate" the cards herself in the past, but it becomes tedious for her and she finds something else to do before she's reached the second card.
I've heard of parents taking a picture of the kids with their gifts, but that just seems like extra work for me. Finding the gifts, taking the photo while berating the child in question to "smile like you really like your present!" and then actually having the photos printed and included in each appropriate envelope...I am SO not doing that.
How do you show friends and family appreciation for your kids' gifts? Any ideas for making the process a little easier?