Open Thread

by epi on December 31, 2012

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie December 31, 2012 at 1:52 am

Hello all,

I am so grateful to have found this site. Thank you.

My best friend recently married- I hosted a couples shower for her in the town that we lived in (not our home town) at a restaurant. The costs were substantial as I didn’t have access to a free or inexpensive venue. I had a photographer there take a picture of the group and all of the guests signed a photo mat. At the wedding I gave the enlarged picture which I had framed for their new house.

I just received a lovely thank you note from here for all of my help in the wedding, ect. but no mention of my picture, which I intended to be my wedding present. Now I am wondering if the picture didn’t “count” as a wedding present but as a shower gift. I previously thought that one wasn’t expected to give a gift at a shower, as throwing the shower was the gift. I could send them another gift, but am not sure it is necessary as I think I was a very helpful and overly accommodating attendant.

Thank you.

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Winifred Rosenburg December 31, 2012 at 10:04 am

Yes, it was a wedding gift because you gave it at the wedding. Throwing the shower does count as a gift by itself so an additional shower gift is optional. If I were you, I would call the bride to make sure she got your gift as things sometimes get mispaced during wedding craziness.

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Riss December 31, 2012 at 10:28 am

I am not an etiquette expert, however I did just get married this past spring, and when writing my thank you notes, I tried to thank my ladies for “all their assistance in making my day special” and when it came to shower/etc, mentioning some of the specific parts they did (the cake, the decor, the games). I found it hard to mention every specific item from several of the ladies, as they really went all out, so my method was to mention some of the specific special items, but give a grand thanks for all their help and thoughtful gifts and contributions to our shower/wedding. Also- I had to do some sleuthing, as the lady writing down the list of gifts at the shower had trouble getting every item listed for some of the gift baskets, etc. Also, I sent separate notes for the shower and the wedding, so depending on timing and such, she may have been first sending out shower thanks, and then going on to a round of wedding thanks.

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Marcia December 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I had a question about the traditional midnight exchange of kisses on New Years Eve. Is it still appropriate for men and women who are friends to kiss each other on the cheek at midnight? Should the man offer the kiss, the woman? What are people thoughts.

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Jerry December 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm

As to question #1, the answer is “yes.” As to question #2, the answer is “it depends.” But if you are really so caught up on who should offer to kiss whom, you’re probably not good enough friends to be kissing at New Years.

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Nellie December 31, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Why not? Either party (man or woman) could offer the kiss as a joyful remembrance of the coming year!

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Jody December 31, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Yes, it’s definitely appropriate as long as both parties agree (in other words, don’t go in for a kiss if the other person is pulling away). I celebrate New Year’s with several friends who are just that — good friends, nothing more — and usually exchange a kiss on the cheek with the guys present. Nobody in our group interprets it as anything more than a “best wishes” kiss; sometimes the man offers and sometimes the woman does.

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Nellie December 31, 2012 at 2:13 pm

My partner Mike’s daughter, who lives across the country, sent her mother a package containing all gifts for family on the East coast, including for the ex-husband. Unfortunately, the package contained several gifts for “Dad and Nellie” … which I, Nellie, think is horrifyingly uncomfortable for both myself and the mom. Please advise.

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Just Laura December 31, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Write a thank you note for the nice gifts that Daughter kindly had sent to you.

The rest of this isn’t really your business. Mom may have been okay with this, but if not, she and Mike can take it up with Daughter.

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Nellie December 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm

So does this mean we must maintain contact with the ex-wife just because the daughter is instigating such?

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Just Laura December 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm

You never mentioned not wanting to maintain contact with anyone. Usually people who have children together maintain some form of contact, but if the children are adults, then contact isn’t required.

Again, this is Mike’s daughter and Mike’s ex-wife. Therefore, if Mike and Ex-Wife are displeased with the gift arrangement, they should discuss this with their daughter.

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Jody December 31, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I’m with Just Laura here. Your role is to graciously thank Mike’s daughter for the presents. If the ex-wife contacts you, stay civil with her if only for Mike’s and the daughter’s sake. As Just Laura says, it’s up to Mike and his ex to raise the gift arrangement issue with their daughter.

Riss January 2, 2013 at 11:53 am

As a child of divorce, with both parents remarried to divorced parents also, I find it strange she sent the gifts through one parent. However- once you have a child with someone, you are forever connected through that child. If nothing else, you can be civil- my mother and stepmother are not friends, and they have done a wonderful job this year especially of putting that aside for my sister’s and my wedding. They have stated they understand that similar respectful behavior is expected going forward at family events where my sister and I want both our parents in attendance. My parents are civil to the steps, as well as to their spouses’ exes, because they understand that “us kids” want our parents present in our lives, and our childrens’ lives, and they should be welcomed with their new spouses. Either way, it should really be something her parents talk to her about, not you. You can express your concern to her dad, but leave it at that.

Nellie December 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm

The daughter is a grown adult.

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Lana January 1, 2013 at 9:46 pm

If someone stops by my home unexpectedly with a gift, is it rude not to invite them in for a visit? I was totally thrown off and was torn about what to do. On one hand, I felt I should invite them in, but on the other hand I’d taken the day to just relax and my home was a mess. I was too embarassed to let them see that mess. I feel terrible and fear I have committted a terrible unkindness. What this terribly rude and do I need to apologize to this person?
Thank you for you help sorting this out.
LR

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Brockwest January 2, 2013 at 2:45 am

In Victorian England, there were certain hours for expecting guests.
In this day of cellphones, it is inexcusable for someone to drop by and find you in your housecoat with the litter box full.

That said, I never turn away a friend from the door, if they can tell I’m home. We’ve gotten to the point of sort of going quiet until they go away unless it’s obvious we are here. I just don’t like unannounced visits when my hands are full of grease from the drain I’ve been cleaning, or I’m covered in dirt from gardening, or even if I just ate an onion.

Though etiquette books haven’t been updated yet, because simply everyone has a cellphone, I feel it imperative to pre-call, even from the car, “may we drop by?”

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Jody January 2, 2013 at 7:29 am

Lana, I don’t think you were rude at all. When that has happened to me, I’ve thrown on something so that I’m covered enough to answer the door and speak to my friends; I let them know I appreciate their stopping by but unfortunately I can’t ask them in. So far no offense has been taken; it has been later in the evening and they can see that I’m not exactly dressed to “receive” company.

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