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Mom-to-be's message about not writing thank you notes starts etiquette debate

Laura Turner thought her friends were being kind with 'the gift of no thank-you notes.' She had no idea it would start a fierce online debate.
/ Source: TODAY

Pregnancy hasn’t been easy for Laura Turner. She’s been struggling with severe nausea and feels uncomfortable and exhausted. That’s why a quip during her baby shower seemed especially generous.

When family friend, Amy Arnold, 52, asked Turner to skip the formal thank you, Turner felt relieved. But when she shared the idea on Twitter, she started a huge debate about etiquette.

“At my baby shower yesterday, one woman said, before I started opening gifts, 'Can we give you the gift of no thank-you notes?' And everyone gasped and I DIED and now I’m going to be that lady at every shower I go to,” she tweeted in mid-April. It has been liked almost 22,000 times.

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Turner feels stunned that so many people replied.

“Of all the things I have ever opined about or Tweeted about, this was not the thing that is the most controversial,” Turner, 32, of San Francisco, told TODAY.

While Laura Turner likes writing thank you notes, when someone suggested she skip them she felt relieved. She is thinking of new ways to show appreciation.Courtesy Laura Turner

Responses to Turner's tweet showed that when it comes to traditional thank you notes, people have strong feelings. Twitter user Renee S. Benge says thank you notes are required— even if people don’t want one.

“I would still write the notes. People enjoy the personal thank you. It doesn't take a minute,” she shared.

But to others, such as Bethan Hall Fitelson, not writing thank you notes make a lot of sense.

“Yes! For me, this is a must for new moms. You have far more important things to do in the next year of your life! Please do not send a thank you note for any baby gift I ever give you,” she wrote.

Turner admits that she enjoys writing thank you notes and doesn’t think she’ll abandon them completely. But not having to write thank you notes at a time when she feels so overwhelmed seems like a very generous offer.

“I felt like they were extending a kindness,” she said. “To have this expectation of a prompt meaningful thank you note isn’t always realistic.”

But this offer also freed Turner to think of new ways to express appreciation to her friends and family. She hopes to take pictures of her son, who is due June 3, with the gifts she received at the shower and share those with the person who gave her each gift.

After feeling sick for much of her pregnancy, Laura Turner felt it was kind when her shower guests said they did not expect thank you notes.Courtesy Laura Turner

“The idea of expressing gratitude when someone gives you a gift is very important, and I don’t want to get rid of that,” she said. “I do think there is a place for different expressions of gratitude.”