Open Thread

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.


  1. Robin

    I have five children and two of them have significant others. They draw names for Christmas. Two days ago one of the significant others informed us that they would not be attending the Christmas celebration. Should the person that drew the name still purchase a gift?

    • Elizabeth

      Does this person still want to participate? It seems inconvenient for him/her to do so, since the exchange will take place at the celebration. It seems best to leave them out of it, unless they really still want to participate.

    • Alicia

      Absolutely. Otherwise they will mess up the rest of the gift drawing. The gift can be brought home by attending spouse or mailed.

    • Jody

      Yes, the ideal situation would be for the person who drew that SO’s name to still purchase a gift, and for the SO to purchase a gift for whoever he/she pulled a name (convoluted grammar but you get the point). If the SO doesn’t want to participate since he/she won’t be there, maybe he can give the name of “his” person to whoever drew the SO’s name.

  2. Jacob

    My spouse and I were thinking about framing and displaying or marriage certificate. Is this something that others do? Should we only display it in our bedroom or home office. Is the living room or hallway ok?

    • Elizabeth

      Jewish couples sign a marriage contract when they marry, and often these are highly decorative and very beautiful. It is common to see them framed and displayed. I have not heard of framing the certificate from the state, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t or can’t. You may want to make the document accessible through a removable back on the frame in case you ever need to show it for proof. It’s your house – you can display it wherever you like.

  3. Yelena Kondaurova

    Good day! How are you? This is Yelena, from Russia, from Moscow.
    I have a question.
    If i`am ill served in a restaurant or shop, i should talk about it around the world and to name the store or restaurant, please? Thank you very much!
    With all my big love Yelena.

    • Elizabeth

      Yelena, this is not really an etiquette issue. There are websites devoted to reviews of restaurants and shops, and people write both positive and negative reviews all the time. It is not rude to honestly discuss the experience you had. I recently had an experience where a review that I wrote seemed to significantly impact a local business, so I backed off my strong language because one bad experience does not mean that everyone’s experience will be like that. I think if you write something honest and measured, there’s nothing wrong with doing so.

  4. Gabe

    My colleagues and I were at our holiday party and we were talking about etiquettes.
    I was explaining to them, that I believe that a lady/woman always keeps both feet on the ground- while at a professional breakfast lunch/dinner. Would this be the case or what is the etiquette of the lady/woman in this type of sitting?

    • Nonnie Mowse

      Hi Gabe,

      As an American girl growing up, I was never taught that particular detail growing up, only to ‘sit like a lady, not like a football player’. There are some countries and cultures/religions on the planet though, where revealing the soles of the feet/shoes is not well received. I’m not sure what people like my mother-in-law would do in those places, as she is very short and her legs dangle a bit on most chairs, or are completely off the ground on other furniture (me too as I get older and am shrinking). I would hope they would be forgiving and have a discreet fix for that at the ready. I don’t know what you observed that caused you to ask this question, but when I’m in a chair, I have to shift positions often, legs and knees together, or legs crossed at the ankle, or sometimes at the knee, or my arthritis keeps me stuck in whatever position I’ve held too long. I may not have my feet on the floor, because they may not reach! I don’t know if any of this helps for business situations, since I’ve never been in one. Hopefully someone else here will enlighten.

    • Elizabeth

      I have read this argument somewhere …can’t remember where. But I understand it more within the context of professionalism then etiquette. I think there is the potential of unintentionally flashing when you uncross and recross your legs, given a short enough skirt, and some people feels as though it draws attention to one’s female-ness. I reject this argument, because I think it implies that the “male” way of doing things ( feet on the ground) is better than, or more “Standard” than, traditionally female ways of sitting. Personally, I find it very uncomfortable to sit without crossing my legs at some point, especially in certain chairs. I think as long as the posture is good, then it’s ok.

      • Winifred Rosenburg

        Actually, the traditional way for women to sit is crossing at the ankle. The practice of crossing at the knee is a relatively recent trend. This allows a woman to sit in a femenine way without exposing more leg as is sometimes a side effect of crossing at the knee while wearing a skirt.

  5. Lois

    What is the proper way to handle food allergies w/a hostess at a sit down dinner? I am allergic to wheat & milk which is in most foods. Do I simply decline the invitation ?

    • Elizabeth

      You should contact the hostess in advance and let her know if your allergies. You can say that you understand how difficult it is to cook around these restrictions, and that you’d be happy to bring your own food so you can enjoy the wine and company, but so you don’t impose on your hostess. The hostess may come back and say that she was planning X cuisine, which does not utilize wheat or milk.

    • Alicia

      Let the host or Hosstess know as you accept. As a hostess I would want as much time to change my menu as possible. Ie I do not want to find out last minute that you can not eat my homemade ravioli when had I know from the get go a lovely polenta could have been on the menu.

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