Dear Abby

Debate About Thank Yous Boils Over Among Readers

DEAR ABBY: "Insulted in Ohio" (July 9) was offended because she's being asked at bridal and baby showers to address a blank envelope so the honoree can send her a thank-you note. Good heavens, lady, calm down.

At a shower, you are celebrating a milestone event in a young woman's life. Your gift will help her during the next phase of her life. These joyous events can be stressful and require a lot of preparation. I'm sure the hostess's intent in asking guests to perform this minor task is to ease the honoree's responsibilities. It also ensures the addresses appear correctly on the envelopes and everyone is accounted for on the gift list. Is that really so "insulting"?

"Ohio," if you feel so imposed-upon being asked do do such a simple thing, may I offer a suggestion? Gift the honoree with your "regrets" and leave your judgmental attitude at home. (I'll bet you count the days until you're thanked, too.) -- GAIL IN NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS

DEAR GAIL: Thank-you notes are a hot-button issue with my readers, and frankly, I am surprised more of you didn't stick up for "Insulted." However, I stand firm in my conviction that the more personal the thank-you note (including the envelope), the better. My newspaper readers comment:

DEAR ABBY: With the advent of email, social networking and online invitation sites, mailing addresses are used less often. I'd be hard-pressed to find the street addresses of some of my closest friends and relatives. As part of the younger generation, I'm more comfortable with email. If I were hosting one of these events, I'd have to kindly ask guests to write down their addresses for me to use later for thank-yous. And because it's being done on paper, it might as well be on the envelopes -- a practical, time-saving solution. -- JENNY IN QUEBEC, CANADA

DEAR ABBY: I'm also from Ohio, and I was insulted, too. It appalled me being asked to address my own future thank-you envelope. And would you like to know the kicker? I never received the envelope or a thank-you after the shower. -- CARLA T.

DEAR ABBY: While the practice does seem a little over the top, there are creative alternatives. At a baby shower, my sisters gave everyone index cards and asked them to write down their name and address and guess the baby's birth weight and length. The guest who came closest would be mailed a prize. It was a way to ensure I had everyone's address for thank-you cards. At bridal showers, a blank address book can be passed around for guests to write their contact information. The book is then presented to the bride for her new home. -- MELANIE IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR ABBY: To save a busy bride or mother-to-be time and effort, addressing my envelope is another "gift" I can give her. All the envelopes could then be placed in a basket, with one being drawn for the "door prize." -- LYNN IN DULUTH, MINN.

DEAR ABBY: "Insulted" could take one of her return address stickers with her to the shower and place it on the envelope provided. It's less work. This new party ritual is not the result of poor manners, but a logical change for changing times. -- NOT A WHINER DOWN SOUTH

DEAR ABBY: The personal message the gift recipient writes on the card is more important than who might have addressed the envelope it came in. -- ARLENE IN NEW YORK

DEAR ABBY: Because each of my guests addressed her envelope, I finished all my thank-yous in the week after the shower and sent them out promptly. People should not complain about the punctuality of thank-yous if they refuse an opportunity to ensure they receive them in a timely manner. -- CARRIE IN ST. LOUIS

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