1. Julie Schalk

    Two cousins are graduating this summer (the young ladies are two of my first cousin’s daughters). They both have received advanced degrees, and plan for further study. We were generous gift-wise when they graduated college. Is it expected to give a gift with each degree thereafter? My husband and I are retired and on fixed incomes. There is going to be a combined party for them and we want suggestions on what would be appropriate.

    Thank you.

    • Alicia

      A card each along with your warm wishes and congratulations is all that is expected. If you wish to give more that is fine but by no means required.

  2. Steve Chapman

    I have received a gift (forwarded in the mail) that was sent to my mother by a friend of hers before the sender knew that my mother had recently passed away. I’d like to send the gift back, or at least to ask the sender if she’d like it back (or donated?), but don’t want to hurt her feelings. I had called her to tell her of my mother’s passing, but didn’t know about the “gift in the mail” during that phone call. Thanks for any advice.

    • Elizabeth

      The best thing to do would be for you to write her a thank you note and do not mention any future plans for the gift. You can keep it yourself, or you can donate it. But the gift-giver does not need to be told which you choose. Sending it back is most likely to cause hurt feelings.

  3. Kelley

    Once you are an adult should you continue to address aunts and uncles with those formal titles or should you simply call them by their first names?

    • Alicia

      The niece or nephew should always address their aunt or uncle in whatever manner is preferred by the aunt or uncle. My nieces and nephew do not use a title but call me by my first name and they are still toddlers. It varies by preference.

      • Joanna

        I’m 32 and still call my aunts and uncles by their titles, simply because of my Polish upbringing. Actually, I even call my uncle, now divorced from my dad’s sister, “Uncle John”, simply because he’s BEEN Uncle John for the past 40 years, so…

    • Elizabeth

      I don’t consider ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’ to be formal titles, no more than ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ is. It’s simply a recognition of relationship. They don’t cease being your aunt and uncle when you become an adult, so no, I would not discontinue the use of them if your family has a tradition of using them.

      • Kelley

        Thanks for your comments everyone. They were interesting to read. I guess it is a good idea to keep calling them “aunt” and “uncle” unless they insist that I call them by their first names only.

  4. Barbara

    Our Friend gave a generous wedding gift to our son. Are we obligated to give the same amount on his up coming Wedding?

    • Alicia

      No this is not a tit for tat thing. A wedding gift should always be determined based on three things
      1. The budget of the giver
      2. The closeness to the couple
      3.the amount of joy in the union.

      Seriously just think what gift you feel fits your budget and matches your closeness and happiness.

  5. Rhonda

    I’ve been invited to a sporting event, as a client, by a business vendor and the originating broker. The invitation is for me and a guest. Should I bring a business colleague or is it okay to bring my husband (who is not connected to the industry)??

    • Elizabeth

      Invitations such as these are usually a form of thanks (for your business) or perks in the hope of getting your business. Since it is a sporting event (and not an industry convention or seminar), you can understand the invitation to be for your partner and not meant for a business associate. You may show up and find that your business associates have also been invited and that they have brought their spouses as well.

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