To send or not to send a thank you note

Have you written your thank-you letters yet? Mother’s words continue to dog most of us for life. They hover like a black cloud over the season of festive giving and partying. We all vaguely expect a letter of thanks, but find them a crashing bore to write. Thanks sent immediately are thanks redoubled, we were told. “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks” – Saint Ambrose.(…) The next generation seems content to live in a letter-free zone, as texting and e-mailing suffice. According to a recent survey, a third of under35s have never sent a personal letter to a loved one in their lives. The arrival of post, for them, means bank statements, parking fines, junk mail, offers to take on debt. Envelope-licking, stamp-sticking and walking to a letter-box are effortful.(…) Katharine Whitehorn, author of Social Survival, believes we must all “go with the currency”, accept the changing times, and be content with phone calls, “which are better than no thanks at all”.(…)
Perhaps the boot should be on the other foot, Struther suggested: the host should write and thank the guests for going to all the trouble of uprooting themselves from their cosy hearths and undergoing the expense and discomfort of travel, trains and motorways, packing and unpacking, getting there and getting home. (Of course a guest who received a thank you letter from hosts before having time to write his thanks might feel furious at being upstaged.) (Times Online)