Thanked your grandparents or aunts and uncles for your Christmas pressies yet? You could be running out of time. Card retailer Clintons has run a survey which says that 14 days marks the maximum time for polite thanks, after which the value thank you diminishes rapidly. And an emoji thumb in a text is definitely not going to be well received. A 2017 study of UK adults revealed that online messages such as Tweets and Facebook posts are viewed as the least exciting medium to receive.
Only 25 per cent of respondents to Clintons’ research said they’d be happy with an email or text. Thirty-four percent said that they were most happy with a call or thanks in person while a whopping 41% preferred a short letter or card which provokes at least double the level of excitement when compared to texts and emails.
As any cash-strapped student knows you need all the funds you can get your hands on so if you want to be on next year’s Christmas list, getting writing now – a proper letter of course. Now where’s the paper, pen and oh a stamp?
Messages of fortune and goodwill on slips of papyrus were the first known greetings exchanged in Chinese and Egyptian culture. In the 1400s, Europeans practiced exchanging notes as a new way of social expression, writing on paper and hand delivering greeting cards locally. Louis Prang, a Prussian immigrant to America, began producing greeting cards in 1873 for the popular market in England and began selling Christmas cards in America in 1874.
According to Dr Philip Seargeant, a Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics in the Centre for Language and Communication at The Open University, the phrase thank you derives from the word ‘think’.
“In Old English, the primary sense of the noun ‘thank’ was ‘a thought’. From there, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the meaning moved to ‘favourable thought or feeling, good will’, and by the Middle Ages it had come to refer to ‘kindly thought or feeling entertained towards any one for favour or services received’ – i.e. much the meaning it has today. We could therefore paraphrase its meaning as: ‘for what you have done for me, I think on you favourably’.”