Thank yous for kids' birthday presents are a must, but is the latest trend OTT?

They say that you should never give with expectation. They are wrong. Because giving a gift without getting a thanks isn’t a nice feeling.

When I give a gift, it’s good to know that it’s appreciated. Even just a fake thank you at the time will do – some small acknowledgement that you appreciate the fact I was thoughtful enough to give you something. It’s just basic manners, and I’d do the same for you.

I’m certainly not an etiquette Nazi, but to me, thank you should be an integral part of everyone’s vocabulary – including children’s.

I once had a frenemy who would not only refuse to ever say thank you, she would never ask her kids to say thank you, either. Even when they were receiving gifts from anyone at one of the four children’s birthday parties I attended at her home each year.

Of course, I attended those annual parties for her four kids, and appreciated the fun my son had and that he was included, and the bubbles that were always served. But it would have been nice to get just one thank you from one of the kids, or my friend, for the time and effort we put into sourcing, purchasing, wrapping, (and sometimes returning home to retrieve) the gift we would give them.

Maybe I’m being unfair – the woman did have four kids after all, perhaps she was just too distracted/overwhelmed by the party to think about what anyone’s responses ‘should’ be.

And perhaps I’m old-fashioned – but if the new ‘thank you video‘ trend is anything to go by, I’m not the only person in the world who thinks saying thanks for a gift you’ve received is a thing.

Yes, sending a ‘thank you video’ of your child opening the gift someone gave them seems to be something parents are doing these days, and I’m all for it. With my own son, I used to send a photo him with the gift and big smile, so the giver knew that their efforts mattered to us.

So sending a video of a child unwrapping the present is merely one step before that, right?


In my youth, I recall my mother asking me to either call each guest individually the next day, or, for bigger occasions like my 18th, write a letter, thanking a guest for their gift. Of course, that was literally decades ago, and there may or may not have been a carrier pigeon involved.

These days, that sentiment more commonly is expressed via text message; so it seems that the 2018 version of the ‘thank you from my kid’ is the texted video.

We unpack the dilemma of a mum whose little boy loves kissing all his friends goodbye on the lips.

To me, it’s the natural progression (of how technology is slowly taking over our lives, and will lead us to a dystopian future where we will be ruled by robots). Especially if you consider that videos now seem to be one of the main ways we communicate – just look at the success of ‘stories’ on Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram.

But are videos of a child opening a gift OTT – over the top? If you text me a video of your kid surprised and delighted by the gift I gave them, is that about thanking me, or is it asking me to comment on your kid’s undeniable cuteness?

Let’s give that mum the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s a personalised message to me. But even if it isn’t, or it’s a bit of both, think of it this way:

This is a mum who’s done the right thing by issuing a personalised thank you to a gift you gave when you/your child attended a party she spent hours of her life co-ordinating for a child who had three meltdowns during it. So just send a response to this effect:

Thanks for sending a video of your kid opening a gift I gave them, I’m amazed you even have the energy to text. You threw a great party, and made a great kid. You did good, girlfriend.

Give her a break and let her have some glory. She’s earned it.

And be thankful that you got any sort of thanks at all.