This post is me eating crow. After my daughter’s 7th birthday, my husband suggested that she should record video messages and send them via text, in lieu of writing traditional thank you cards. I totally scoffed at him. What would Emily Post say?
It seemed at the time like an egregious affront to traditional etiquette. Besides, aren’t we losing the tangible enough already? I feel a responsibility to keep certain polite customs of our culture alive for future generations, and good old-fashioned thank you cards is one of them.
Not shockingly, my daughter loved her dad’s idea and ran with it immediately. I felt like they were taking the lazy way out, but I could not have been more pleasantly surprised by the outcome of their experiment. Even though it proved much easier than writing cards (especially for a 7 year old), the sentiment and expression was no less heartfelt. In fact, the results were downright heart-melting.
My daughter took my phone to a quiet spot, and--totally on her own--recorded a message of thanks to each person who had sent a gift. She held the gift as she talked about why she loved it, said thank you, and told the giver how much she loved them. It was ADORABLE. It was totally from the heart, and she was so much more able to express herself than she would have been using the limited writing skills of a first grader. I couldn’t wait to send them out.
I had been totally wrong about the “video thank you.” This was technology at its best. This was technology fostering a deeper connection between two humans. That might sound melodramatic, but in a world where all of our family is out of town and they never get to be there in person for the gift opening, this was a treasure.
I don’t know if we’ll do it every time, or if it would be as cute if a teenager did it, but for this birthday, it was just right. And so was my husband. :)
He was so right, that I’m actually writing this blog post to recommend the “video thank you card” to other moms! They’re adorable, heartfelt, instantly gratifying, easily stored (no more bins full of thank you cards you can’t bring yourself to throw away), and you didn’t have to go through the pain of making your kid sit at a table and write for an hour. What do you think—would you give these a try?