Dear Abby: Thankless grandkids to get one last gift

Dear Abby: For years, we have given generous gifts to our six out-of-town grandchildren and received almost no thanks or acknowledgment. It hurts my feelings because I devote a lot of thought, in addition to money, to choosing something special for each of them.

Obviously, they don’t care, but when we have just sent checks, not knowing what they read, wear or want, our checks are always cashed. It’s the same with gift cards. This year, we will send gifts to their parents — our own children. PERIOD. The grandchildren will receive your Letters Booklet — including the section on writing thank-you notes. Please send me six before the end of November. — Ticked Off Granny in Oregon

Dear Ticked Off: The issue you have raised is one I hear about often from other “ticked off” readers each year. I’m sorry you didn’t mention how old your grandchildren are, because the fault may lie with their parents, who should have taught their children this social skill from the time they were old enough to hold a writing implement. Some people procrastinate because they don’t know how to express their feelings via the written word and fear they will say the wrong thing. They mistakenly think a thank-you note must be long and flowery when, in fact, short and to the point is more effective.

This is why the “How to Write Letters” booklet was written. It contains samples of thank-you letters for birthday gifts, shower gifts and wedding gifts, as well as those that arrive around holiday time.

This booklet can be ordered by sending your name and mailing address plus a check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby Letters Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

With the holiday season fast approaching, this is the perfect time to reply with a handwritten letter, note or well-written email. Although handwritten notes are the “gold standard,” many folks these days opt to take a shortcut by using technology that didn’t exist before the quill and inkwell.

Dear Abby: I am a 63-year-old heterosexual male who has recently joined an adult dating site to enhance my social and sexual life. A therapist suggested that it would help me to break out of my isolation and heal from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. Could you please recommend some dating etiquette? What support organizations can assist with my recovery efforts? — Looking in the West

Dear Looking: Ask your therapist to suggest some sites you should visit. After you have looked them over, ask your therapist how to proceed. You are paying for emotional support from this person, and this is who should actually assist you with your recovery. If it works, stick with this therapist. If it does not, contact R.A.I.N.N. (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network) at to see if you are on the right track.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at

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