Ask the Thank You Diva:
Thanking Auntie for Hand Knits
Amy asks the Thank You Diva's advice on what she should do about hand knit gifts regularly received from a dear aunt, which she never wears and for which she finds it increasingly hard to write sincere thank you notes.
Dear Thank You Diva,
Every year for birthdays and Christmas I receive hand knits from a dear elderly aunt. She knits beautifully, but the items she makes (mostly sweaters) are just not my style at all so, needless to say, I never wear them. I know I should be grateful that my aunt cares enough to knit for me, but I cringe every time a parcel from her arrives. And here's the biggest thing – year on year I feel more and more hypocritical writing a thank you note to her. Please help!
The Thank You Diva responds:
It's the thought that counts, but that doesn't mean that sometimes we shouldn't offer a little guidance to our present-challenged family and friends!
Why not send a note to your aunt a few months prior to your birthday / Christmas with a suggestion as to what she might like to knit for you this year. It might be helpful to enclose a photo of a style you like, a knitting pattern you have picked out, or even a bundle of favorite yarn. And of course it doesn't have to be a sweater – how about suggesting a pretty scarf instead? Or leg warmers, wrist warmers, socks, etc. – even knitted cushions or sofa throws?
Try writing something along these lines:
Dear Aunt Bea,
I came across this picture of a beautiful knitted scarf yesterday, and immediately thought of you and your wonderful skill in knitting. I imagine you'll soon be readying your needles to make us all lovely things for the holidays, so I wondered if you would consider making me something similar to the scarf in the picture? It would be so perfect for my trip to Europe in early spring!
Of course, if you have something else already in mind, then that's no problem at all. But I thought I'd let you know how much I love this color and look.
Take good care of yourself as the days get colder.
With luck this will do the trick. But if it doesn't and the dreadful sweaters continue to arrive then you need to keep the thank you notes going too. Read through my article on saying thank you for gifts you don't like
I appreciate though that after years of filling your notes with fake thanks, this approach may be wearing a little thin. An alternative would be to invent an 'alter ego' who – in some parallel universe – just loves Aunties hand knits and write you notes from their perspective. Yes, this may involve a few little white lies, but if your Aunt doesn't take a hint, and you can't bear to upset her, then I don't think you have much of an alternative.
Good luck, and I hope you receive something hand knit and beautiful in your next parcel.
With my best wishes,
The Thank You Diva