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Traditional thank-you letter far from dead in age of Twitter and FB

Most parents still teach their children to write to thank friends and relatives,reveals study.

Despite fears that emails,Twitter and Facebook have killed off the art of letter writing,most parents still teach the children to write to thank friends and relatives for gifts,a new study has revealed.

A poll of mothers found that almost six out of 10 still get their children to sit down and write thank-you letters after birthdays and Christmas.

While for some a quick email or telephone call is seen as enough,for seven out of 10,only traditional pen and paper will do.

Significantly,younger mothers are more likely to insist on a handwritten thank-you than older mothers.

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65 percent of mothers in their late 40s or early 50s said their children used pen and paper for thank-you notes,with 12 per cent opting for email and a similar proportion allowing thank-you text messages.

But among mothers in their 20s and 30s the proportion demanding pen and paper is almost three quarters.

And among those in their early 20s – who had much younger children – 86 percent insisted on pen and paper to thank relatives and friends for gifts.


The survey was carried out on behalf on the Bible Society,which has been running a campaign to encourage people to write unexpected letters to people to whom they are indebted.

It is part of the organisations efforts to mark the jubilee,highlighting the original biblical meaning of jubilee as the year in which past debts were written off and slaves freed.

When the mothers themselves were asked,eight out of 10 said they write thank-you letters regularly or occasionally and six out of 10 require their children to so.


“I’m greatly encouraged by these figures myself,” the Telegraph quoted Charles Kidd,editor of Debrett’s Peerage and Baronetage,as saying.

“I think that generally speaking the thank-you letter makes everyone feel good: the person who writes the letter feels good because they have behaved properly and the person who receives it is gratified.

“It is just a simple thank-you letter it shouldn’t be too onerous,” he said.

He said that the finding that pen and paper was still by far the preferred medium showed that letters of thanks retain a special status.

“The most satisfactory way of acknowledging and thanking somebody is to do it by letter,it is naturally pleasing.


“It is still a nice surprise to receive something through the letter box that isn’t a circular or a promotion for a supermarket – and,of course,stamps are not cheap these days,it is a mini investment,” he said.

He added it was particularly notable that the youngest mothers,who themselves are more likely to have younger children,were more likely to use pen and paper to compose thank-you letters.


“I wonder if the very young children like pen and paper because they can be decorative and do a little drawing – you can’t really do that with email,” Kidd said.

The study follows retail figures released last week showing that sales of fountain pens are on the rise as they have become increasingly prized as luxury purchases.


The Daily Telegraph has received more than 100 letters from readers in the past months espousing their love for fountain pens.

“The concept of Jubilee originally comes from the Bible,where it is a radical idea about,among other things,debts being written off,” a spokeswoman for the Bible Society said.

“Bible Society thought it would be wonderful if people used this Diamond Jubilee to reconnect with the original meaning and thank people to whom they feel indebted; what better way to do that,than by writing a letter.

“Our poll shows that,despite modern technology,saying ‘thank you’ this way is still as popular as ever,” she added.

First published on: 03-06-2012 at 04:01:52 pm
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