Dear Annie: When did it become OK to not send thank-you notes for wedding and shower gifts? A close relative got married in September, and I have yet to get a reply for the wedding gift or shower gift. In fact, in the past several years, I have given five wedding gifts with no response by the happy couples. It makes them look ungrateful, unappreciative and, frankly, lazy. I'm about ready to throw in the towel and not be a cheerful giver anymore. One bride told me she had a year to get her thank-yous out. Who started that ridiculous rumor? I feel that three months for wedding gifts -- and before the wedding for shower gifts, assuming there is ample time in between -- seems appropriate. -- Not Happy
Dear Not Happy: Your feeling is in line with the etiquette. According to wedding magazine The Knot, couples should send thank-you notes within two weeks for any gifts received before the wedding and within three months for gifts received after the wedding. That doesn't mean they will, but I'm printing this to nudge any newlyweds who have a stack of unaddressed envelopes gathering dust on the credenza. Seeing as you wrote me and they didn't, here's my advice for you: Try to let it go. Holding that anger will only hurt yourself.
The other side
Dear Annie: I feel for "New Grandma," who does not get to spend enough time with her grandson; I really do. But did she introspectively look at the reasons her children have pulled away? My in-laws could have written that letter, yet they are terribly clueless about the hurt they have caused us. Never helping when the children were little, only asking them over to show them off when their friends were coming by with their little ones, no baby-sitting, announcing that they weren't having family dinners anymore at their house (which the grandchildren took to mean they were not welcome there) and not offering support through a major family illness. Oh, yes, and recycled gifts, even for major holidays.
For a long time, we were always ready with a dinner celebration for which we paid, an invitation to our home, cards, phone calls, transportation to the doctor, thoughtful gifts, rides to the airport for their vacations several times a year, lawn mowing, checking on them in bad weather, cooking when they went through illness and other things family members do for one another. But no more. We got tired of being used and have pulled back. We limit our time and conversations with them because of the one-way street of the relationship. (They are healthy, drive and live in the next town.)
Do they get it? I seriously doubt it. I wish my children had warm and fuzzy grandparents, but they do not. Instead, they get grandparented by their friends' grandparents, for which we are truly appreciative. By the way, we didn't just disappear. We had several conversations with them about their lack of interest in our kids' lives, and their answer was an astonished, "But I didn't like going to your activities when you were kids, so why would I do it now?" Enough said! -- Moved On
Dear Moved On: That is truly their loss.
It's always enlightening to hear from readers who have been on the other side of an issue. Thanks for writing.