Open Thread

by epi on December 19, 2011

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Nina December 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Hi All,

I am going to visit my fiance’s family for part of the December holidays–they live on the other side of the country, so I don’t see them often. I’ve known for a while that one of his aunts is going to throw me a bridal shower while I’m there. I think this is so nice of her, particularly since members of the family who will not be able to travel for the wedding will get to attend. I’ve been looking forward to it for ages but just realized–I should take a gift to thank her! Any advice on what would be appropriate–and whether I should have it with me the day of, or send it afterwards–would be appreciated!
Thanks!

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Elizabeth December 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Since this will be a thank-you gift, it makes more sense to give it after the event – either in person or in the mail when you send you thank-you note. One nice idea would be to have someone take a nice photo of you, your fiance and your aunt. You can print two copies, frame them both, and send her one along with a photo of you and your fiance at home with your copy prominently displayed at your house. Nothing says “you’re family!” like having a photo of them at your house. Plus, you’d be commemorating a special day that she gave you. Just an idea.

However, you aren’t required by etiquette to give her a gift, only to send a note of thanks. Anything else is gravy, and in my opinion should be more sentimental (like a photo) than practical.

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Country Girl December 19, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Congrats on your upcoming wedding!

Since this is a hostess gift of sorts, how about a nice gift basket? You could fill it with either candles and bath salts, or if fiance can help you with some of her hobbies (canning, sewing, baking, gardening, etc) you can arrange to include some little items you know she will be able to use. Other options might be a picture frame, a plant, or a large candle.

I would bring the gift and give it to the hostess right after the shower. It would also be nice to include a note of thanks for all her hard work in putting together the shower as well as making you feel included in the family. =)

Best of luck, and safe travels!

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Nina December 20, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Thanks, friends–I appreciate your advice. I will bring her a little sample of teas for after the party and then send a thank you note from home, perhaps with a picture as Elizabeth suggested (if one turns out nice)!

My first shower (as guest of honour, I mean)–I’m so excited!

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Jeanna December 20, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Bringing store-bought food to a family holiday meal.
My sister-in-law recently offered to handle dessert for our Christmas dinner, saying she’d “pick up a Costco dessert.” This irritates me, because she’s usurping an important part of the meal, while also putting no effort into it. I feel justified in my irritation because:
A) She knows the rest of the family is full of talented cooks who would be happy to make a dessert.
B) The rest of the family knows she can’t/doesn’t cook.
Is it wrong for me to want her either to attempt to make something herself, or stick to some less critical aspect of the meal (say, a veggie platter or rolls)? Also, she seems to be assuming that a single dessert will satisfy 14 people. I can’t remember the last big holiday meal I attended that had only one dessert option.

Thanks for your input!

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Lynn Hoenke December 20, 2011 at 10:45 pm

I stand with you. Although Costco makes some wonderful desserts, bringing one to the holiday table, especially when there are great cooks among you, doesn’t make sense. That said, you are right; you’ll need more than one dessert. I think I’d try politely to steer her toward a veggie tray (Costco makes those too!), but if she really wants to do dessert, that’s fine but you can still ask one or two of your bakers to bring something too.

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Elizabeth December 20, 2011 at 11:04 pm

This is easier if there is a clear organizer – that person can then say, “Thanks Susie, but someone else has that covered – would you mind bringing a veggie platter?” But like you said, there is often more than dessert, so the organizer can still ask another person to bring a second dessert or someone (maybe you!) can offer to bring a second dessert. Then maybe try to organize with her so they’re different enough (one chocolate and one fruit-based dessert, for example)

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Winifred Rosenburg December 21, 2011 at 12:45 am

I’m a little confused. Is this a potluck holiday meal? If it is, the coordinator has leeway to make general assignments like “please bring an appetizer” but only if he or she is making such assignments for everyone with the purpose of ensuring that there aren’t ten desserts and no entrees. Other than that, you can’t dictate what a person should bring, but nothing is stopping you from bringing an additional dessert if you don’t feel the Costco one is sufficient.

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Jody December 21, 2011 at 7:32 am

Jeanna — If you’ve already accepted her offer, I think you should leave it as is. If you haven’t, however, you could say something like “that’s very generous of you, but dessert is already taken care of. Could you possibly bring a veggie platter instead?”

I think you should see it as a genuine offer on her part to help. Don’t pooh-pooh Costco desserts; I’ve had some and they’re very good. Plus, one dessert could well be enough for 14 people, depending on what your SIL chooses.

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Jeanna December 21, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Thanks for the input, guys. It’s nice to know I’m not totally crazy.
Yes, it is a potluck meal. Unfortunately, my MIL is the organizer and has already accepted the SIL’s offer. I did what some of you suggested and offered to make my favorite wine cake to accompany the purchased dessert. I felt a little passive-aggressive about the whole thing. I’m sure both desserts will be tasty. Here’s hoping no one takes offense!

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Ashleigh December 22, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Sounds delicious!! I don’t know if this is an issue in your family, but there could also be people with dietary restrictions so having a choice of different desserts makes total sense. I have a nut allergy and have gone to parties before where the only desserts available had nuts – kinda stunk to sit there and watch everyone savor their delicious dessert.

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Lynn Hoenke December 20, 2011 at 10:39 pm

My daughters and I are debating. If you are invited to both a wedding and a shower, is it acceptable to give a gift at the shower and consider that your wedding gift also, or are you expected to bring a gift to both occasions?

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Alicia December 21, 2011 at 8:44 am

If you attend the shower you should give a shower gift and a wedding gift. The shower gift is generally smaller and brought to the shower the wedding gift is generally larger and sent to the couples home. My personal rule of thumb is I spend 20-25% of my wedding gift budget on the shower gift and 75-80% on the wedding gift.

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James December 22, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Hi. How do I introduce someone who is my elder but is being introduced to another person also my elder? I have a very dear friend who is like a mother to me but I feel it proper to call her Mrs. Brown (name changed here) as she is about 25-30 years my senior and seems to prefer to be called that. What if I introduce her to someone who is about her age or not that much younger? Should I introduce her by her first name? Also, since she is closer to me than most people I introduce her to, I always start with introducing others to her, as is protocol. The last time this occurred, it went something like this (names changed):

“Mrs. Brown, this is Bob. Bob, this is Mary.” (Calling her by her first name.)

I did this because Bob is about 15 years my senior but he and I have an understanding that I call him by his first name. (I’m in my mid-30′s, by the way.)

Mrs. Brown is very old-fashioned (which I like), so thinking back I wished I hadn’t referred to her by her first name when I introduced her. However, my perception is that since Bob is closer to her age she probably wouldn’t mind him referring to her by her first name. Do you see my small dilemma? After this occurrence, I mentioned her that I didn’t mean to be calling her by her first name when I introduced her and she said that she hadn’t even noticed. However, I would like to know the most polite way to handle this in the future. Can you help?

Thank you!

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Winifred Rosenburg December 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Use full names, as in “Mrs. Brown, this is Bob Smith. Bob, this is Mary Brown.” Then leave is to the two of them to figure out what to call each other.

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Alicia December 22, 2011 at 12:49 pm

In your example
Mrs Brown this is Mr Robert Smith. Bob, this is Mrs Mary Brown
Basic formula is
Name you call person A this is Full formal name Person B. Name you call Person B this is Full formal name person A.

This way when you are addressing each person you are addressing them by the name you typically call them but providing the full name information for the person that does not know them.
Either can then say Nice to meet you Mrs Brown please call me Bob.
And if Mrs Brown wants Bob to keep calling her Mrs Smith she just never tells him to call her Mary.

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James December 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Both of these replies were very helpful! I think I know what to do in the future. Thank you!!

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