We started tackling our Christmas (and, I’ll admit, Reed’s birthday) thank you cards this week. I was sort of dreading it until a moment of brilliance struck. I gathered supplies, broke the task into small manageable bits, and motivated with enthusiasm. Plus, I bribed the pants off ‘em! But it worked. We have only three thank-yous left to go and the whole process has been painless - and maybe even fun. Here’s how we did it.
- Write all gift givers on a slip of paper and stick in a cup. Each boy draws a name.
- Each boy writes to all three of the names drawn.
- Actual cards are only used for Mommy and Daddy’s thank-yous. The boys have their own sheet of card-sized blank paper. That way, they don’t have to take turns, Calvin doesn’t write his huge name on top of Reed’s, and Max can scribble wherever he wants to. (Learned that the hard way last year)
- When they finish, they get a piece of candy.
- Set timer for 30 minutes after last card-writer finishes and repeat when the timer dings.
- Continue on the next day if necessary.
Each boy did something slightly different. First, I would remind them what they got from each person (we have a notebook listing gifts/givers that dates back to my bridal showers). This was even fun, as the kids relived and remembered forgotten toys--almost like they were opening them again. Then they would draw a picture of the toy. Reed would add his own note “Thank you for the pulese set.” Calvin would dictate to me (favs below), and I would ask Max if he wanted to say thank you to whoever. I wrote what the two littles said verbatim. Cracked me up! Max’s mostly said, “Cank you Grandma Grandpa,” or whoever, but he must’ve been listening to Calvin, because his last thank you was, “Cank you Mih Pam...uh heh uh (he does this cute grunting thing when he’s trying to think of a word)...toys...uh heh...Chri-mas...uh heh...Cank you Mih Pam...Cank you Mih Pam...Cank you Mih Pam.” I guess he really liked the dump truck from Mrs. Pam!
We’ve had three sessions and they’ve all been great. I did have to give Max his bribe early once. Probably not the best idea. Mimi and Papa will be getting a thank you that is more sticky “Tarburs” juice than drawing. Oh well. The boys have been cheery and grateful (sorta the whole point, right?) instead of whiny and in a hurry. Reed, my meticulous one who had to thank for a birthday and a Christmas gift from most of the people, took for-e-ver, but didn’t seem to mind a bit. Calvin even begged to do a bonus fourth card once. And he got more and more charismatic with each thank you. Here are my two favorite:
“Thank you for the toy, Miss Pam. I love you very much. Have safe travels.”
“Thank you, Brother Micah, for the two dollar bill. I love you very much. Have a good church when it’s a church day. It’s good that you preach to a lot of not-Christians to be Christians.”
I was seriously thinking about taking pics of the kids playing with their toys and e-mailing thank yous this year, but dial up internet stopped me. I guarantee I won’t ever say this again, but I’m glad we have obsolete technology! (Though I make no promises for Christmas 2014 thank yous...) My only problem now is getting the fifth member of our family to add his notes. Somehow, I don’t think a box of markers, mysterious slips of paper, and Starburst are going to cut it.