DAMNED if you do and damned if you don't.

The etiquette of the thank you letter is under scrutiny and to send or not to send has become a political issue.

To the envy of every eight-year-old compelled to write thanks yous to old aunties who have given them gifts for which they are emphatically not grateful, Melania Trump outsourced her end-of-term letters.

A first lady tradition, an outgoing President's wife is supposed to write a personal note of gratitude to the cooks, housekeepers and butlers who have ensured the smooth running of the White House domestic interests.

Not Melania, however. The cards are apparently held as precious keepsakes by the 80 or so staff who receive them but Mrs Trump passed the task on to a junior staffer, instructing them to write the notes in the former first lady's voice.

An affront, I'm sure, but likely a small price to pay to see the back of the most unpopular First Lady the USA has known.

Nicola Sturgeon couldn't have been expected to hand write her recent thank you note, sent out to every household in Scotland. Imagine the writer's cramp. Mrs Trump at least hand signed her letters, although she didn't write them.

The personal letter from Ms Sturgeon thanks Scotland's citizens for "sticking with it" and making sacrifices during this difficult past year.

With form for letter writing - open letters, thank you letters, personal letters - it wasn't an unusual step for the politician but it was one that irked Scottish Labour. "Opportunistic politicking" were the words harrumphed by the opposition who found the timing of the letters suspicious in the run up to May's Holyrood election.

Given the First Minister is the one who's been personally requesting the country to stay at home it seems logical she might be the one to personally thank us for doing so.

Is the writing of thank you letters becoming a dying art? I have only a small group of hardcore friends who cleave to the tradition.

And my mum, who sends thank you cards for gifts but also for random things - taking her to a hospital appointment, changing a lightbulb.

There seems to be a trend among friends who are new mums to have thank you cards made with a picture of the baby on the front. I love these as a keepsake of all the small new people who join us.

One friend takes a little video of her toddler saying "Thank you auntie Cat" and sends it on.

An old sap, that always makes my heart sing a little.

Who am I kidding - a lot. It makes my heart sing a lot.

While I love to receive these cards I also feel a little bit of guilt about them.

It's additional mum labour, isn't it?

Only once have I received a thank you card organised by a dad.

In the main, it's the women who carry out the emotional labour of organising thank you notes, just as with so many of the added extras that enhance family life.

Do parents still compel their children to write thank you cards?

I hated writing thank yous when I was a kid.

I detested the additional work of it, particularly when it was in response to a gift I did not feel grateful for.

Such resentment at the constant reminders to sit down and write them, the endless guilt that they weren't yet done.

To my shame, as someone who became a professional writer, I could never think of enough to say. Every single card would being "How are you? I am fine". Florid prose indeed.

Now, though, I'm glad it's a habit that was forced into me.

The sending and receiving of cards during the pandemic, when we are all so remote and so used to seeing one another flattened onto a Zoom screen, feels like a meaningful, personal connection.

More, it's a useful exercise in gratitude. Folk splash out on special notebooks to use as daily mindfulness diaries.

The rash of thank you cards at birthdays and Christmases has the same effect, except you're spreading joy rather than shutting it up in a bedside drawer.

Now I stop to think about it, I suppose I should write my mum a thank you card for encouraging me to write thank you letters in the first place.

It's a poor show from Melania Trump to fail to thank the staff that have supported her for the past four years, particularly given the absolute disgraceful behaviour of her husband.

And it's right of the First Minister to give her thanks to Scots for doing their best in the pandemic - we need to hear it.

Mrs Trump's poor behaviour saw her leave the White House on a sour note. I'm with Ms Sturgeon on this one. Express thanks, proffer gratitude and the world will be better for it.