New Kid on the Block : What to do as a new neighbor

Q.  My husband and I recently moved into an upperclass neighborhood where our neighbors are all 50+ years in age. We are newlyweds at the age of 27 and 31. Our neighbors have been very sweet and inviting bringing us a fresh lemon meringue pie the week we moved in and now are planning a ‘Block Party’ in our honor. My question is, what is my responsibility as the new person on the block? Is a handwritten thank you an appropriate gesture or should I do something more elaborate? We are not sure what our role is as the newcomer.

A.  That’s so kind of your new neighbors to welcome you so enthusiastically.  Thank-you notes to your neighbors would be appropriate.  You might offer to take a dish to the party or beer or wine.  As the newcomers just enjoy being feted for now.  As time passes you will find many ways to return the kindnesses of your neighbors.

First Child: Sending Birth Announcements

Q: I will be having my first child in a few weeks and I was wondering to whom I should send birth announcements? Also do I send them to all of the people who attended my baby shower or just a select few? I have no information on the proper way to send out birth announcements.

A: Birth announcements can be sent to family and friends but are rarely sent to business associates or casual acquaintances. Assuming those who attended the shower are family and friends, you may send them the announcement. If it’s too great a number, you may limit sending announcements to immediate family, close friends, and/or those who do not live locally. The recipient of a birth announcement is not expected to give a gift.

Meat and Greet: Greeting guests in your home

Q: My husband and I are having a disagreement. When any friend of our teenage daughter enters our house, my husband thinks that they should greet us first. I say that they are guests in our home and we should greet them first. A steak dinner is riding on this…which one of us is right?

A: When a guest enters a room, the host should rise and greet the guest. The same goes for a new person entering a room where others are gathered. The people there should rise and greet the person entering. If your daughter answers the door, she should bring her friend to greet you. For example, your daughter would say “Mom and Dad, Greg is here.” You would then greet Greg, and Greg would then (hopefully!!!) say “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. It’s nice to see you again.”

Quiet Diet: Special Diets and Dinner Parties

Q: When a person is on a diet and is invited to a home-cooked dinner party, should the guest (who is on the diet) put aside their diet just for the evening and go ahead and enjoy the meal? Or should they stay on their diet, even though the hostess worked very hard to provide the beautiful and delicious meal?

A: Presumably, those on a weight-loss diet that is self imposed can set it aside for one meal and compensate before and afterward. If someone is on a health-related diet she needs to stick to, she should tell her hostess when the invitation is received – “Thank you so much, I’d love to come but I’m on a pretty restricted diet right now. I could bring my own food, if that would be okay with you, or I can look forward to another invitation some other time and not come this time so as not to interfere with your plans.”