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Thank you note etiquette: Would you send a stock card?

Erin Zammett Ruddy

Saturday was the big birthday bash for Alex. The final count was 97 people! By far the biggest party we’ve ever hosted at our house, and we’ve hosted some biggies. We had the most perfect sunny day, which helped make it a huge success. Our backyard was overflowing with sunflowers, balloons, squealing little kids and, of course, a giant bounce house. As for the food dilemma, I wound up making—with help from my sis—a yummy coleslaw, green bean salad with walnuts and shallot vinaigrette, and a spinach salad with strawberries, goat cheese and balsamic dressing. I ordered a delish pasta salad from this place (turned out I was on deadline on Friday and couldn’t add “prep six pounds of pasta” to my to-do list). And then we had about four million warm pressed assorted Italian paninis that were dynamite, if overly abundant. I made people pack Ziplocs full as they left and we still had a ton to eat the next day. Oh, and the passed sliders and pigs in a blanket were a major hit.

Ultimately, it was so nice not to have to do any cooking the day of the party. We got to really enjoy ourselves and watch Alex have the time of his life. He had so much fun we literally had to keep him awake for cake (after which he naturally had a second wind). I posted a bunch of photos below. But before you check them out, I have a question: Have you ever sent a stock thank you note? You know the ones with a picture of the kid at the party and then something like, “Thanks for helping me celebrate my birthday, love Alex.” It’s never been my thing—writing personal handwritten notes has been drilled into me basically since birth—but, I’m not gonna lie, the idea of a shortcut is kind of nice. Thank you notes are pretty much the bane of my existence. Probably because I always feel the need to write little anecdotes about the person or their gift or say something funny or profound, which never seems to happen. I procrastinate like crazy until it keeps me up at night and I finally whip them all out in one sitting, while cursing at Nick.  

Alex got an insane amount of gifts (this happens when you invite 100 people) and I really want to be sure to thank everyone for being there and making the day so special, but I’m just wondering if there is a way to do it without causing me such anxiety. Do I dare try the stock card thing? I’ve gotten a few lately and they’re kind of cute. And I could always write a quick “I love my drum set!” across the card to make it more personal. Do people even care if they get a personal note anymore? If I’m being honest, I will say this: I’ve gotten a few really sweet thank you notes lately and loved them, even saved them, so, to me, I guess it does…which I suppose makes me a hypocrite! Should I just suck it up and get writing? Does anyone else dread this like I do?! Ugh….

P.S. Asking Nick for help is not an option. I don’t take out the garbage or the recycling, he doesn’t write thank you notes—it’s just how we work.

Grandpa Pat and Nora taking a little break from setting up.

Grandma Debbie and our neighbor Kathy holding five dozen balloons! 

This was the coolest bounce house ever--the kids were in it all day!

My sisters helped a ton--thanks, ladies!

Our awesome neighbor made Alex his cakes. Thanks, Kathy!

Aren't these amazing?!

Cake time! 

Alex's wish was a bounce house--and he got it!

Action shot!

Three generations of Zammett women...

The last boys standing eventually had to sit down (check out Alex about to nod off). 

The sign of a great party!

We stuck him in our bed just to get this shot--do you believe the amount of presents?! (Also, don't look at my nightstand--it's a temp). 

My friend Amanda stayed over with her boys--we're smiling because the kids are all finally asleep! 

The morning after!

One of Alex's favorite presents--a weedwacker!

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