1. Terri Duggan

    My niece has a birthday party for both of her children. Of course, you purchase gifts for both of them. At the party the gifts are not opened. She never thanks you for the gifts. What action should you take, if any? Her children are one years and 4 years old.

    • Elizabeth

      I think I saw that in your other post, you mentioned that their birthdays were now 9 months or so ago. At this point, I would just let it go. I do think it’s a little strange not to let the kids open their presents in front of the giver, and it’s possible to politely ask your niece to let them because you’d like to see their reactions. (it’s also good training for them for the future) But after the fact, I think it would be reasonable to call after a couple of week or a month to ask and say – hey I didn’t hear from you, and I wanted to see how the kids liked the toys. At this point – Christmas has passed, etc – your gifts have been long forgotten, and it’s well past the point where a thank you note could still be expected. This might be something you bring up with their mom (your sibling?) – you can mention that you were surprised that you didn’t receive a thank you note or other acknowledgement and ask her if “everything is ok.”

      The other thing to remember is that when you give a present in person, the receiver is able to thank you right away, and thank you notes are not normally necessary after that.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      I have no problem with her not opening presents at the party because many children are not skilled at hiding disappointment. She should, however, send you a thank-you note. You would be within your rights to stop giving presents, but as you seem to realize at their ages it is more the parents’ responsibility than the children’s to send thank-you notes. Other than that the only option is to do nothing or if circumstances make it believable inquire as to whether or not they got the presents because you never got a note.

  2. Jerry

    I never wrote thank you notes for a gift that was given in person. Was I raised by wolves? (Of course, I was always able to open the gifts when I received them.)

    In any case, the fault is your niece’s, not your grandnephews’. How would I handle this? I would tell your sibling to tell his or her child (i.e., your niece) that the lack of thank you notes is bothering you. Since you’re not an adult with jurisdiction over your niece you can’t correct her behavior without violating the rules of etiquette. (Of course, your niece’s parents don’t really have jurisdiction over her either now that she’s an adult. But some children let their parents get away with that.)

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      You’re not expected to send a thank-you note when you open the gift in front of the giver and thank them right then and there. In this case the kids didn’t open the gifts at the party so she never got a thank you, in person, written, or otherwise.

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