Ok, maybe crazy Aunt Mary did sent your 16 year old “Candyland” for Christmas, but, regardless of how ridiculous, inconsiderate or simply inappropriate the gift, children (including teens) should always send hand-written a thank you note to the giver. It doesn’t have to be long, and, the child can even (nicely) correct the giver in the Thank You note. For example a teen that receives something far to young for them (such as a 16 year old receiving the game Candyland) the Thank You could read something along the lines:
“Dear Aunt Mary, Thank you so much for sending me Candyland for Christmas. It brought back many happy childhood memories, and, I am putting it away for safe keeping until I have children of my own and we can enjoy the game together. I cannot thank you enough for remembering me during the holidays, and, I truly appreciate your kindness towards me. Wishing you a wonderful New Year! Love, Jane”
When written in this way, the receiver is gently telling the giver that thought is appreciated but the gift was not age appropriate. It goes a step further to show the thought was appreciated by telling what the receiver is going to do with the gift (which in this case is put it away for a time when she has her own children.)
Some may scoff and say Thank You notes are old fashion and no one sends them anymore. Well, there is more than a grain of truth in that statement, yes, it is old fashion and no one sends them out much, but, that doesn’t mean it is incorrect to send one. Just the opposite. Manners and etiquette never go out of style, and, Thank You notes are appropriate when any type of gift is received. Only the most thoughtless, manner-less, ignoramus would say that Thank You notes are “stupid” or “not necessary.”
By having children write Thank You notes you are helping them develop a skill and the necessary manners for later in life. Thank you notes are still appropriate after job interviews or receiving wedding gifts or acknowledgement of flowers or other act of kindness after someone passes away. It also helps children learn that they are not “entitled” to things, and, do be grateful when someone does think enough about you to do something as nice as send a gift.