Episode 380 - To Do Gifts
In this episode of Awesome Etiquette
Welcome to Awesome Etiquette, where we explore modern etiquette through the lens of consideration, respect and honesty. On today’s show we take your questions on getting mixed signals from your neighbors, addressing wedding invites and Christmas cards as a couple, including two occasions in one card, and family members who ask for time together, rather than gifts. For Awesome Etiquette Sustaining members our question is about maintaining a business relationship with a company when you choose to go with a competitor to provide a service. Plus your most excellent feedback, etiquette salute and a postscript on receiving gifts well.
Speaker 1: maybe it's just that you don't know how to use social courtesy, that's old fashioned
Speaker 1: watch act as host and hostess. They know that courtesy means showing respect, thinking of the other person, real friendliness.
Speaker 1: Hello
Speaker 2: and welcome to awesome
Speaker 1: etiquette where we explore modern etiquette through the lens of consideration, respect and honesty. On
Speaker 2: today's show, we take your questions on getting mixed signals from your neighbors addressing wedding invitations and christmas cards as a couple,
Speaker 2: including two occasions in one card and family members who ask for time together rather than gifts
Speaker 1: for awesome etiquette sustaining members. Your question of the week is about maintaining a business relationship with a company when you choose to go with a competitor to provide a service
Speaker 2: plus your most excellent feedback etiquette salute and a postscript on receiving gifts. Well
Speaker 1: all that's coming up.
Speaker 1: Mm hmm,
Speaker 2: awesome etiquette comes to you from the studios of our home offices in what feels like balmy Vermont right now and is proud to be produced by the Emily Post Institute. I'm lizzie post
Speaker 1: and I'm dan post Senning.
Speaker 2: Hey,
Speaker 1: good morning!
Speaker 2: I got to see your shining face last night on a little zoom zoom get
Speaker 1: together. It was so nice to see you and a few of our awesome medicate audience members.
Speaker 2: It was we got to do something we've wanted to do for a very long time and that was a zoom video call with our
Speaker 2: sustaining members of our Patreon feed and
Speaker 2: it went really well. It was so wonderful to see so many people and to put faces with names. It was a really gratifying experience. I was really glad that that we set it up, that we did it and that, that so many wonderful, awesome etiquette listeners and sustaining members turned up for it. So thank you to our audience members who came
Speaker 2: and I certainly hope that we get to do more of these in the future.
Speaker 1: Me too. I would call it a smashing success from my perspective and I hope that those of you who are listening now who were also there, also enjoyed yourself and like you lizzie post, I'm really hoping that we're able to continue to do things like that in the future and
Speaker 1: for anybody who's listening to this, who is saying, what, what is that? I I didn't know there could be a live chat with dan and listening post.
Speaker 2: We
Speaker 1: did it through our Patreon community, and that's the sustaining member community that you often hear us shout out and invite people to find out more about on this show.
Speaker 1: And it's something that we've been thinking about doing for a long time. And finally, as the holidays were approaching, we said there would be no better time to, to break that third wall between us and some of the awesome etiquette audience and
Speaker 1: that it was a little scary for me, but also really exciting.
Speaker 2: It was, it really was so thank you to everyone who participated and keep your ears out and jump over and check out our Patreon feed to see if we're gonna be doing anymore
Speaker 2: live calls in the future, I definitely want to do another one. I just, I had way too much fun chatting and sharing with our audience.
Speaker 2: It was really a delight. So thank you all for participating and being there in some ways it felt kind of like a kickoff to the holiday parties that I feel like I'm gonna just say because it was my favorite holiday party invites so far because I didn't have to worry about anything Covid related to attend this event,
Speaker 2: which was amazing.
Speaker 2: I've definitely been going back and forth, you know, on a couple invites that I have as to whether I feel like it's the right thing to do. But I'm curious what's the holiday build up over at your house? I know I've been dealing with the wrong gifts showing up and seeing if I can get the right ones in time and trying to still get,
Speaker 2: I've got the tree decorated and the lights on, but the lights need to go on the house today. Like that's a mission for today. What have, what have you got in the lead up?
Speaker 2: Is there any super fun Elfi stuff that you're working on?
Speaker 1: My second job itself right now? No question and no, it's, it's coming Tiktok Tiktok, it's a bit of a loaded question for me. We're going to be going to spend the christmas holiday with family and her parents and sister, which means that we're going to do the sending family version of the christmas holiday this weekend.
Speaker 1: So by the time, by the time this show airs, I will have already
Speaker 1: had some eggnog and unwrapped a few gifts and woke up in pajamas with family. I am really looking forward to it and I kind of don't mind that, I get to start a little
Speaker 2: early, I do know that this is dan post settings favorite holiday and so I'm glad to see you kind of getting to expand
Speaker 2: your holiday celebration, you know, it's, it's really awesome.
Speaker 1: It is and that's the reward. The payoff on the other side is that I have to logistically coordinate having one christmas here and then moving and having another christmas somewhere else. So there, there is a task list that goes along with the joy.
Speaker 2: Absolutely, absolutely like any good parent or person, I feel like that's the reality of grown up life
Speaker 1: right? Indeed.
Speaker 2: And what about you
Speaker 1: cousin lizzie, what's on your docket?
Speaker 2: Well, aside from my last minute scramble of, oh my goodness, the wrong gift showed up for like four family members and trying to see if I can rectify this particular catastrophe.
Speaker 2: I am really looking forward to starting christmas eve, I'll be out at my parents house with my sister and her family
Speaker 2: and my nephew is old enough now where he really gets christmas and and we do do santa claus in our family and so he's, he's really starting to understand the magic of it, which is really fun. Um my mom does basically christmas appaloosa at our house, we call it because everything is, is decorated so beautifully and
Speaker 2: um this is a time where even if we're just sort of the seven of us or however many of us there are now at this point,
Speaker 2: she really does make a special effort with everything and so like, you know, she, she breaks out the silver even though it's like us and the kids, you know, and I gotta say it makes me feel special. Um it's, it's not something I would like to turn to and say this makes christmas, but I love the fact that my mom, even though our
Speaker 2: day is very casual with one another that she puts the fancy touches on everything because it does elevate it and I really love that.
Speaker 2: But it'll be presents and kiddos and pancakes and you know, sitting by the fire and napping and all all of the fun and I just, I can't wait. And I'm really looking forward to our big post family gathering on the 26th with all the cousins. So
Speaker 2: I'm glad I've got a week still to prepare. I'm not quite in your shoes. I've got, I've got a week left,
Speaker 2: but I'm really looking forward to all of it.
Speaker 1: I'm so glad you mentioned trisha post and
Speaker 1: it's one of the skills that I think of her having. She's really good at that, of making something special and finding a way to really invest in something in a way that that you can see the attention that she's given. It. Its um and it has real, it has real payoffs.
Speaker 2: Well, we certainly hope that for those of you celebrating the christmas holiday that you are getting excited about your plans and thinking about the best ways to keep. Uh do we, do we say it? Should we encourage some manners and politeness at the foreground As we head into family gatherings?
Speaker 1: I think it's a great idea.
Speaker 2: And what do you think? Do you think we should maybe tackle some etiquette questions this week before we all take off for the holiday?
Speaker 1: Another great idea. Let's do it,
Speaker 1: awesome etiquette is here to answer your questions. You can email them to awesome etiquette at Emily Post dot com. You can also leave us a voicemail or text at 802858 kind. That's 8028585463.
Speaker 1: You can also reach us on social media on twitter. We are at Emily Post on instagram. We are at Emily Post Institute
Speaker 1: and on facebook were awesome etiquette. Just remember use the hashtag awesome etiquette with your post so that we know you want your question on the show.
Speaker 1: Mm hmm.
Speaker 2: Our first question is titled thankful but confused
Speaker 2: Dear Dan and Lizzie 1st. Thank you for what you do. I work in fundraising and started listening to your podcast as a way to enhance relationships with my donors. And I found that it's not only enriched my work but also my personal life.
Speaker 2: I've learned that etiquette is an expression of kindness and I have felt a deeper connection with the people in my life. The more I incorporate your advice. So thank you.
Speaker 2: I'm writing today about my older neighbors over the past several months. They've sent us holiday treats and now a note with a $25 gift card in the mail, all addressed to the previous owners of our house.
Speaker 2: We've lived here for five years and have introduced ourselves several times to our neighbors and their adult daughters and have even exchanged token holiday treats with our names on them with one another. In the past.
Speaker 2: A friend knows the family and says that the parents are of sound mind so I don't think it's a memory issue.
Speaker 2: How would you advise thanking and attempting to correct the issue. Earlier in the year, I wrote thank you notes with an explanation that we're the new owners.
Speaker 2: But now I feel uncomfortable that we're receiving $25 gift cards for this last gift. I sent it back in the mail marked with no longer at this address, but I saw one of the daughters bring it over later that week and put it in our mailbox. An additional wrinkle in all of this is that
Speaker 2: every time I come in contact with the husband, he offers to pay us to take down our fence because he doesn't like it
Speaker 2: in general. He is quite breast with us. But his wife's cards and lovely gifts are so sweet. I want to be gracious and assume the best.
Speaker 2: But could this be related
Speaker 2: as with any gift? I want to write a thank you note but I am inclined to return the gift card to them as were not the intended recipients and we're not sure if something else is at play.
Speaker 2: And do I again clarify that we're not the previous owners. They don't answer the door. So speaking to them doesn't seem to be an option.
Speaker 2: Thank you in advance for your advice and have a wonderful rest of your holiday season with gratitude thankful but confused dan. I'm confused
Speaker 1: too. I was gonna say the exact same thing. What what an awkward situation.
Speaker 2: It definitely ranks as. Yeah, awkward and and not not,
Speaker 2: I don't want to say normal but not not not what I was expecting when I saw the title of this particular question.
Speaker 1: No. And I think one of the things that we can do whenever we're faced with an awkward, confusing or difficult situation is you return to core principles and you look for sort of foundational things that you can turn to that are going to help you navigate it. And
Speaker 1: the first one of those that I identified in this question is that as a baseline etiquette, we often talk about receiving gifts well, but you don't have to receive any gift. And particularly if something makes you feel uncomfortable or
Speaker 1: if there's a reason that you think it would be inappropriate, that it is okay to turn down a gift, you can do it and there are potential social repercussions for that. But but that is within everyone's dead
Speaker 1: per view. Everyone can make that choice for themselves what those lines are and where they draw them. And
Speaker 1: if this situation starts to become one of those, it is okay to continue to return the gift.
Speaker 1: Having said that
Speaker 1: I oftentimes will lay the lay the groundwork so that I can make decisions and not necessarily have to exercise that option. But just knowing that that's a possibility for me is one of the things that gives me some security making choices if I don't decide to go that route. The next thing that comes to my mind when I read this question is that
Speaker 1: a lot of the advice that I would give
Speaker 1: was already executed on with the first round of we returned the card with a note explaining that
Speaker 1: we were so appreciative that essentially it was a thank you note that also mentioned that it had been sent to the wrong people just so that you shared both your appreciation for receiving the gift, but also the information that you would think they would want to not make the mistake again or
Speaker 1: even to give them the opportunity to clarify and tell you that yes indeed it was intended for you and it was their mistake. So I'm thinking to myself that you could take a second pass at that process. But in some ways you have checked that box also. So to me it's not the obvious next thing to do.
Speaker 1: I also liked that they tried the route of just returning the envelope that you mark it as having been sent to the wrong place. And I frankly I don't even I shouldn't even be opening this. I should just send it back to the person who who sent it.
Speaker 1: But the fact that someone from that family physically brought it over and delivered it themselves again to me is a is a type of communication that makes it more awkward to think about returning it a second time.
Speaker 2: I'm with you on that for me. One of the things I keyed in here was that
Speaker 2: I was a little curious and I had a thought about this particular moment. I was curious if when that item was brought back over to the house by the daughter, one of the older older daughters if in that moment was your name then put on it. You know or is it just a gift card without a card
Speaker 2: You know I was trying to imagine like because they're they're clearly sending the message. No, this is intended for you. We know who you are,
Speaker 2: but at the same time things have been arriving
Speaker 2: labeled for the previous owners of the house. And that's,
Speaker 2: that's where I think for me that this feels so strange and what I might have wanted to do in the moment where I saw the older daughter come over and bring it back is to catch her at my mailbox and to say, hey, I just wanted to double check. Your parents do keep sending us stuff
Speaker 2: labeled for the previous couple that lives here. But when we try to send it back, they seem to to do this and we're not exactly sure what we should be doing to be polite and good neighbors to your parents on this one. Do you have any insight and and just trying to get someone from that household to talk to you about it. I can understand not wanting to talk
Speaker 2: to the husband of the family who's been brusque with you and and wants to pay you to take your fence down and things like that.
Speaker 2: But it does seem like the, the wife tries to reach out. I can't tell whether the
Speaker 2: writing the other couples or the previous owner's names on things is a very intentional slight, you know, which I think at certain points it could be seen as especially since you all do actually know each other or, and I don't like stirring stuff up like that. I've just got to say that even with that comment
Speaker 2: or whether it is just a
Speaker 2: they keep forgetting or I don't know, it's definitely confusing and I think that's why dan and I both said like wow, this is a really confusing situation. I would see if I could try and talk to one of the daughters about it if I couldn't talk to the wife about it. If I don't see her out and about and can catch her.
Speaker 2: As you mentioned, they don't answer their door if you go knock on it. So that again makes it a little hard to figure out what's going on here
Speaker 1: lizzie. You mentioned that there's a chance that they just forgot that putting the wrong name on the treats or the gift card that came later were were slips of the mind and
Speaker 2: like simple slips of the mind.
Speaker 1: I think that there's a very good chance that that's what's going on here
Speaker 1: and it can be really tough to say
Speaker 1: maybe this act wasn't intentional.
Speaker 1: But in some ways I think there's a good possibility that that's the case enough of a possibility that that's the case that I would want to keep that in mind in terms of the way I responded
Speaker 2: when the daughter is coming over and dropping it back off after it's been sent back to you as a these people don't live here. It's a it's a clear sign they're trying to get you this thing like it's it's not a mistake. They haven't forgotten,
Speaker 1: but
Speaker 2: they, but they may have forgotten when they put when they wrote the address to the person who had previously lived there for us,
Speaker 2: You know, as we've mentioned, maybe 20 years, maybe 30 years.
Speaker 2: And those kind of slips of the mind can easily happen to any of us as we age, not necessarily an indication of, you know, um
Speaker 1: lack of competency or
Speaker 2: lack of competency or something.
Speaker 2: Um and at the same time in reality, a number of those things build up and it's what drives you to actually go to the doctor and ask if something's going on. And so there's there's that too. But
Speaker 2: without getting too far into it, I think that having the daughter come over and drop this thing off shows that it was very clearly intended for you.
Speaker 2: Whether or not you accept it as Dan had mentioned earlier is is a different thing. And if you really don't want to accept it, you might say, you know, you would return it with a note since it doesn't seem that they answer the door. You might tell the daughter. I'm really not comfortable accepting a $25 gift card from your folks. I've loved the treats that we exchange sometimes this time of year,
Speaker 2: but this felt different to me
Speaker 2: and that's an okay thing to express. I also personally wouldn't, you know, I would think, okay, this is what this person is choosing to do this year. You know, just because it's, it's not $100 gift card. You know what I mean? It's not um, it's still worthwhile. I mean it's, it's, it's not nothing $25 will get you pretty far at a coffee shop or something like that. You know,
Speaker 2: I just think
Speaker 2: I'd be wary of thinking it's got too many bad intentions coming with it or that it's some kind of thing in relation to the issue between the two of you with the fence
Speaker 1: would go a long way at the coffee shop probably wouldn't go a long way towards removing or replacing offense.
Speaker 2: Yes, exactly, exactly,
Speaker 1: thankful but confused. I think that you signed your question to us with the perfect spirit and I think if you hang on to that gratitude and appreciation for neighbors who are willing to make an effort
Speaker 1: and allow for a little bit of confusion in the spirit of its really not coming from you and
Speaker 1: these are your neighbors and you want to cut them as much slack as possible.
Speaker 1: I think it's going to leave you in the right space to make little decisions along the way whether
Speaker 1: the treats show up, hand delivered or in the mail or whether it's something that happens at some point in the future. That appreciative but slightly befuddled spirit I think will serve you remarkably well, thank
Speaker 2: you so much for your question.
Speaker 2: Well, that's the end of our story. A happy ending too
Speaker 1: because steve
Speaker 2: Hull finally did face up to both sides
Speaker 1: of his problem.
Speaker 2: The physical and the emotional alike
Speaker 2: you see,
Speaker 1: that's what
Speaker 2: it takes to win the fight
Speaker 1: against an ulcer
Speaker 1: at work.
Speaker 1: Our next question is about a christmas card conundrum. Hello, awesome etiquette.
Speaker 1: My fiance and I are in the process of planning our wedding. We are using our annual updating of the christmas card list to create a database for wedding invitations.
Speaker 1: We're in a pickle about how to address the envelopes. There will probably only be one envelope for the wedding invites
Speaker 1: for wedding invitations. I understand that married couples would be addressed as mr and mrs john smith. If the woman prefers to use Miss, I understand that I would address them as mr john smith and Miss jane smith.
Speaker 1: My issue is that the first option seems
Speaker 1: wrong.
Speaker 1: I know a lot of women who use Mrs but wouldn't call themselves mrs husband's first name, husband's last name.
Speaker 1: I also don't love that the woman's name disappears from the address when using this format.
Speaker 1: Is it okay to use Mr john smith and mrs jane smith. Is there a better, more formal option I'm missing
Speaker 1: while I have you, I'd also love to hear your thoughts on addressing christmas cards. I've always thought christmas card envelopes should be less formal than a wedding invitation and I've been inclined to simply put the smith family,
Speaker 1: what do you do?
Speaker 1: Is there a happy medium between wedding formal and listing 1st names?
Speaker 1: As a side note, I'm partial to listing first names only because it easily lets me include pets, i e john jane mittens and rover smith. Thanks for keeping us sharp and thinking about consideration, respect and honesty. Okay,
Speaker 2: okay, thanks so much for the question. I like your reasoning for why you are partial to listing first names. My first thought and first piece of advice dan is actually to not worry about the first names at all,
Speaker 2: especially when we're talking about building a christmas card list that will double as a, as a wedding invite list, I think for gathering the information, gather all the names you possibly can
Speaker 2: to help solve your dilemma. Yes, you could do Mr Penry smith and mrs Elaine smith, you could also just dropped the first names and do the very classic Mr and mrs smith and that would be perfectly okay. But I think that you are
Speaker 2: right in that a lot of women today don't use their husbands
Speaker 2: first and last name as their sort of married name entitled that they use formally and
Speaker 2: at the same time, there are some people who do and they really want to uphold that tradition and appreciate that tradition. So, okay, as you're thinking of using your updating of the christmas card list to help create the database for your wedding invitations. I would use this opportunity to really reach out to people and ask them specifically how they like their names to be seen. I actually
Speaker 2: had sort of the reverse order happened. My friend Beezer sent me when he was getting married a link to a site that that actually collects addresses for exactly this, this feature um for when he was getting married. And then this year I had seen him sadly at a memorial service but we had a wonderful time catching up
Speaker 2: and I got the email this year that was hey, my wife and I are trying to really do the christmas card thing this year and we'd love to have you on our list. You know, could you update your, your mailing address and everything like that note to people who receive such e mails, that is a perfect time to put in the way you like your name to appear.
Speaker 2: And I think that's, that's really worth noting when you fill these things out, consider that the person on the other end is trying to make decisions about how to best address you.
Speaker 1: I love that option. And I was thinking about the question of what is the best way to address someone, What is the most formal way to address someone.
Speaker 1: And I think even within that, that range of wanting
Speaker 1: to achieve a level of formality or striving to get the most formal
Speaker 1: version that you can. The most important thing is addressing people the way they want to be addressed. And for some people when the options for the formality are so many that it is, it is a tradition for some people to be Mr and mrs robert smith, for other people, it's Mr and mrs smith. For other people, it's mr robert smith and mrs jane smith. And
Speaker 1: they can all be the most formal available option and they can all be the best option and
Speaker 1: you can make that decision yourself. But it's it's so helpful and it is so the absolute a plus answer to find out from someone or from a couple how they like to be addressed because there there are several options and
Speaker 1: I don't think that you're alone in
Speaker 1: having certain preferences yourself. In fact, I know you're not and I think in the absence of other information, you can default to those preferences. You can use those as the criteria that you would use to make the decision. You're the one issuing in the invitation and you're you're part of that equation.
Speaker 1: But if you're able to find out from someone else and their preference varies from yours a little bit. I think honoring their preference is really important
Speaker 1: and
Speaker 1: lizzie when you talked about that service that allows you to just send a request and that it aggregate them and puts them all in one place, that reminds me that I really need to embrace technology more. I need to get out there and wrap my arms around these things and um,
Speaker 1: that just sounds so convenient to me and I know not everyone is so familiar with the internet and that maybe there's some real traditionalists in our lives who would find that kind of request strange because it's obvious how they would want to be addressed.
Speaker 1: But I think it's also probably true that those people, you might have a pretty good idea about already that they fall into that category and that it's for the people where you might have more choices where you're likely to encounter the kind of appreciation that lizzie felt being reached out to and connected with in that way.
Speaker 2: Okay. You ask, what do we do when it comes to things like putting the smith family on a card and I call me random. I do a mix of different things. It kind of depends on, on what I'm in the mood for. I think
Speaker 2: I've had somewhere I've included the pets. Like you've done, I've also had somewhere I've included pregnancies like when someone has named their fetus, um, that's, that's happened and been included. Um done just the smith family or the smiths
Speaker 2: As another one. I did sort of blow my mind when I read in the 1922 edition that Emily was saying you don't write the Smith family and of course we all write things like the Smith family nowadays it's totally fine.
Speaker 2: But I think that a mix of different things is perfectly fine. Typically I tend to go with whatever I am inspired by when I think about the card and who I'm sending it to.
Speaker 1: I will jump in with a a little bit of a wet blanket, practical thought, which is the only real ruler constraint for that envelope is that you want to be sure the address is clear so that it gets to the right people,
Speaker 1: biggest biggest thing. If you're talking about something that's going to a mailbox where it might not be exactly clear who within the family it's intended for, if it's not for everybody within the family, they just want to be sure to include enough information that the recipients are able to identify it as being intended for them and that the
Speaker 1: postal carrier and delivery service can get it there
Speaker 1: if you want to have even more fun if you wanna really play around. Oftentimes the salutation inside is a good place to do that. Or if it's a gift, it's the card that's inside with it and I know you've said that you're not doing envelopes inside envelopes for this.
Speaker 1: But sometimes the salutation or even just within the card where you address, whoever the recipient is by name is another place to play around a little bit and and have that kind of fun that
Speaker 1: might not be possible on the outside of the letter.
Speaker 2: K thank you so much for this question. Congratulations on your engagement and we hope that you have a wonderful holiday season.
Speaker 2: Mhm
Speaker 2: If you're looking for a last minute gift for folks on your list, we are very pleased to be able to offer the reminder that most Emily post books are available as e books and audiobooks, which can be delivered via email so very easily. So if you're looking for a last minute gift,
Speaker 2: please go to Emily Post dot com and check out our titles today and now back to the show.
Speaker 2: Our next question is titled combination card.
Speaker 2: Dear lizzie and dan. Thanks for putting out an informative and helpful podcast. I like to listen while I take a walk during the workday to clear my head,
Speaker 2: My question is about whether it's ok to use a single greeting card for multiple purposes. I have a young niece whose birthday is at the end of december
Speaker 2: This year 2021. It just so happens to follow Hanukkah by a few weeks. Hanukkah is dates change each year because the Jewish calendar is different from the Gregorian calendar listeners are probably more familiar with my niece sent me a really sweet Hanukkah gift
Speaker 2: and as I was writing her a thank you card, I realized that it would arrive just in time for her birthday. Is it okay to write? Thank you and happy birthday on the same card. Should I use separate cards? She lives far away. So I have to put things in the mail several weeks in advance to assure they arrive on time.
Speaker 2: Thanks for reading. And for your advice regards john
Speaker 1: john thank you so much for the question. It is nice to have a question with a clear etiquette answer to start from. And the clear etiquette answer that we will start from today, is that officially it would be a good idea to send two cards that particularly the thank you know, you want to keep the focus on the thanks. You really want the attention to be on
Speaker 1: your expression of gratitude and appreciation and
Speaker 1: a thank you note by nature doesn't need to be very long. It's not a long complicated process to write it out. So the, the focus of that note. Keep it on that. Thanks and send a second card to communicate your birthday well wishes.
Speaker 1: There is a version of this question that is a classic etiquette question. And for people that share birthdays with holidays,
Speaker 1: they are oftentimes not happy that their birthday gets swallowed up by the holiday.
Speaker 1: And it's another thing to think about it. Even if this wasn't a thank you card, if you were sending a happy hanukkah card or Hanukkah gift.
Speaker 1: Really keeping that separate and distinct from birthday. Well, wishes is something that many people will really appreciate and
Speaker 1: it's a smaller subset of the population is birthdays overlap with those gift giving holidays and we hear from them that oftentimes their gift pile birthday gift pile is smaller and you focus and attention on them as individuals goes down. And I think making an effort
Speaker 1: to not do that or not play into that if that is something that's going on in someone's life is something that is worth
Speaker 1: thinking about
Speaker 1: lizzie post before I confuse everything helped me out.
Speaker 2: I was gonna say you don't, no, no, don't. I'm going to go right into your confusion. I think it's great dan. I thought that a a plus on your answer. That's exactly right. I think for the most part it's really important to recognize sort of the individual events
Speaker 2: that being said, I added nothing to our show script because I loved your notes so much that then said
Speaker 2: break the rules, it's all gravy, maybe put two cards in one envelope, maybe make the coolest double card anyone's ever seen. Like I just love the creative thought behind that. I think it would be okay if you wanted to put two cards into one envelope.
Speaker 2: If you did want to try to make some kind of really cool double card
Speaker 2: and I, I know that by break the rules, you don't mean totally break them to be insensitive towards someone. But if you know that this person wouldn't mind if this person doesn't fall into that category of really wanting things to be separated out. In that case, you know, you could consider breaking the rule or making sure that when you do it, you really give heft to both the thank you and the birthday wish. If you're gonna, if you're gonna put it in one card or find a way to
Speaker 2: create that coolest double guard. If anyone's ever seen, you just want to make sure that, that you're really putting the emphasis on both things so that your one doesn't look like, oh yeah. And by the way, happy birthday next week. Like, you know, but it's really a thoughtful birthday message that goes into it,
Speaker 2: john we really appreciate the way that you are connecting with your niece and are looking to make sure that you really celebrate her in the right way. And we certainly hope that our answer helps
Speaker 2: jerry and Betty don't need to argue. They can easily find out who is right,
Speaker 2: find the facts and you can settle the dispute.
Speaker 1: Our next question is about gift giving grievance deer, awesome etiquette. I have certain family members who are incredibly generous, loving altruistic people, which makes what I'm about to ask. Feel even worse
Speaker 1: for the past several years around this time of year. I will ask them if they have a list that I can choose from for presents
Speaker 1: every year they sent back a list with items such as a walk in the park, a hike in the woods or a glass of wine on the back porch with my family.
Speaker 1: It simultaneously infuriates me and makes me feel incredibly guilty when I get these kinds of lists back
Speaker 1: for one. We do these kinds of things all the time. So listing them on a wish list makes it seem like it's something they're pining for, that they never get, which just isn't true.
Speaker 1: Secondly, I have indeed given them experiences before arranging for a fishing trip going out to t et cetera.
Speaker 1: Some of those experiences that I've curated have gone unused, which makes me feel like the asking is more for show
Speaker 1: this year. They did include a few small items which I purchased as gifts. No experiences
Speaker 1: the asking of time and effort really just feels like a lot that I can't deliver on during this season in my family's life
Speaker 1: and based on history. I'm not sure it would be taken up on anyways.
Speaker 1: I'm well aware that I'm projecting a lot of emotional weight into this situation. So I'm coming to you to see if I can get out of my head and apply some practical advice
Speaker 1: I'm thinking of Just not asking for these lists anymore. What do you think?
Speaker 1: I also keep a list on my phone of gift ideas for these family members that I add to throughout the year as ideas come to me
Speaker 1: or as they mentioned, certain things.
Speaker 1: Do you have any other ideas of how I can handle this situation, which I've come to dread year after year. I want to feel good about giving presents. Not like I'm giving the second tier less desired gifts.
Speaker 1: Help and thank you.
Speaker 2: Oh, anonymous. This is, it's, it's, it's sort of a tricky little pickle and yet dan. I don't mean to make short work of what was a detailed question, but
Speaker 2: I kind of think our question answer answered their question in in the question by saying I'm thinking of just not asking for these lists anymore. I think that we've always said that gift giving comes from the person giving and even if there's a registry involved, you know, which is a straight we wish list that it's okay to go off that registry.
Speaker 2: I think that if the list you're getting back are too frustrating to work with for whatever reason, I think it's a good idea. Stop asking for the list and just get what you really think they would like and appreciate and keep in the back of your mind that they do say these kinds of things like a walk or you know, a date to do this thing. Maybe it's that
Speaker 2: you actually come up with the day you're gonna do the thing together, you know when the gift is exchanged. But pending things like that And I'm really sorry that the fishing trip and the t outing didn't actually materialize because I thought those sounded like really fabulous experiential gifts. But I think I would feel confident in just
Speaker 2: giving what you feel good about giving to them, which in this case would be the presence. And I love the fact that this year
Speaker 2: you got a response that had some small items you could purchase and you don't kind of have to deal with the the experiential gift end of it this year.
Speaker 1: It's kind of a hopeful sign, right? The eternal optimist in me wants to say stick with it one more year, maybe, maybe it'll up the percentages and and with Lizzy and my voice in your head saying
Speaker 1: That list is 1,000% just a suggestion, even if you've asked for it and you can feel good about giving anything that you feel good about giving. It doesn't need to come off that list. Maybe that allows you to
Speaker 1: let a couple more years on school and maybe those experiential gifts will start to make up a more reasonable percentage of the list response. But if it really does generate that negative emotional response in you seeing them, I think it's entirely reasonable as you've suggested, lizzie's affirm to not request the list in the first place,
Speaker 1: lizzie. I can't leave this question without also acknowledging, I love the idea of just keeping that list in your phone for when inspiration strikes. I think it's one of the best pieces of gift giving advice
Speaker 1: that I know we've given on this show. And I don't think we gave this year at all. And
Speaker 1: it really makes makes life so much easier when you've got the opportunity when you're on that trip to that place, where they sell the maple syrup that you love so much to get a bunch and get it sent home. So it's ready in the fall and winter when you are giving gifts or,
Speaker 1: or just when you're doing something with someone and it occurs to you that they really love this thing or whatever it is that that Picasso would say, inspiration finds you working and you note it down so it's ready for you later on.
Speaker 2: I also love the fact that that that particular tactic
Speaker 2: can make your holiday season something where you do have time to grab that glass of wine with your sister or whomever. And and you actually have time. I was always
Speaker 2: so impressed by a former boyfriend's mother who shopped throughout the year. We each had a basket in the basement that had our name on it and she would, if she saw something that she thought was us, she would just get it right then and there
Speaker 2: and come, you know, early december, you know, the baskets were full and she had all these wonderful things to do and she had so much free time to decorate and spend celebrating the holidays with people rather than kind of doing all that elf work
Speaker 2: that dan. And
Speaker 1: I have mentioned doing recently, did you ever look in your basket lizzie post.
Speaker 2: No, I really did not. I really did not look at my basket and we stayed in the basement, like where the like right next door to where the baskets would be in the laundry room. And so it was, it was, you know, it was like a game of not looking but found,
Speaker 2: I mean like I think I still have pajama sets that she gave me because they're like really great pajama sets, you know, But I think that that that preparedness is awesome. So anonymous, keep keep that up for sure and free yourself from the list.
Speaker 2: Thank you so much for sending us in this question and we do hope that our answer helps this season.
Speaker 2: Thank you.
Speaker 2: Thank you for your questions. Please send us updates or feedback on our answers to awesome etiquette at the Emily Post dot com. You can leave a voicemail or text message at 802858 kind. That's 8028585463. You can also reach us on social media
Speaker 2: on twitter. We're at Emily post inst on instagram. We are at Emily Post Institute and on facebook were awesome etiquette,
Speaker 2: just use the hashtag awesome etiquette with your social media posts. So we know you want your question on the show.
Speaker 1: Mhm
Speaker 1: If you enjoy awesome etiquette and are curious what our Patreon audiences up to consider becoming a sustaining member by visiting us at patreon dot com slash awesome etiquette. You'll get an ads free version of the show and access to bonus questions and content plus you'll feel great knowing you helped to keep awesome etiquette on the air
Speaker 1: and to those of you who are already sustaining members. Thank you so much for your support.
Speaker 2: It's time for our feedback segment where we hear from you about the questions we answer and the topics we cover and today we have feedback from Corey about babies at weddings.
Speaker 1: Dear lizzie and dan, thank you for keeping awesome etiquette so lighthearted and fun. Each and every week
Speaker 1: I look forward to each episode and hearing your wisdom and honesty about issues that all of us encounter.
Speaker 1: I have a consideration to add regarding the baby at the adults only wedding.
Speaker 1: I come from a large family. There are 21 grandchildren under nine years old currently and all of these babies have different personalities and quirks. Several of my sisters who stay home with their kids full time have nursed their infants
Speaker 1: and a few of these babies have exclusively nursed and absolutely refused to accept any milk from a bottle.
Speaker 1: This was very frustrating for my sisters at times, but they also accepted the season and would bring their babies along with them for nutritional reasons.
Speaker 1: While I wholeheartedly agree with not bringing young Children and bottle fed infants to an adults only wedding. It would be impossible for a mother who exclusively nurses to attend a function like this because that baby would refuse any other form of nutrition.
Speaker 1: I can see a mother who is a relative bringing her baby to an event like this because she doesn't want to miss out on being part of the family event even though her baby cannot stay with a sitter.
Speaker 1: Even at an adult only wedding, there are potential inebriated people who are obnoxious and relatives who make us cringe a little baby who is only there because his source of nutrition is, there is hardly the only thing that is going to disrupt a wedding.
Speaker 1: Honestly, if you see the situation in the future, have compassion for the mom, I can almost guarantee she would have preferred to get a babysitter and have a break from her full time gig as nursing mother have a wonderful holiday season. Corey
Speaker 2: Corey, thanks so much for the feedback. We we continue to love hearing all perspectives about the whether or not to bring a baby to an adults only wedding question. Thank you so much for sharing yours.
Speaker 1: Thank you for sharing your thoughts and updates. Please do keep them coming. You can send your next feedback or update. Two awesome etiquette at Emily Post dot com. You can leave us a voicemail or text at 802858 kind. That's 8028585463.
Speaker 1: Sorry,
Speaker 1: it's time for our post script segment where we dive deeper into a topic of etiquette and today we're going to talk about receiving gifts well and I need this postscript in my life because I am going to be working with an almost five year old this year. Who knows
Speaker 2: just enough to
Speaker 1: be dangerous. I was going
Speaker 2: to say, I know you because and I know you receive gifts very well, you needed to help you teach you how to receive gifts well,
Speaker 1: it's important to me and I really want this to be a skill that my daughter has and enjoys.
Speaker 2: Well, I gotta say one of the first things you and mitch might decide to do together is you might decide to do a little, a little practice on thinking about
Speaker 1: it. Yeah. Thinking about the issue.
Speaker 2: We really want to make the people who have given us things feel great about the fact that they thought of us and they thought of surprising us with something.
Speaker 2: Let's try opening a gift and practicing our ooh and awe because sometimes you don't know what's gonna be in there and maybe it's not the right color or maybe it's not something you even thought you wanted and we want to hold those thoughts back and instead encourage our, our gratitude thoughts.
Speaker 1: You know,
Speaker 2: I could see you having a conversation just like that with mitch and she's so good about this stuff, but it's good on you for being a good dad.
Speaker 2: Um, but I think that this is really good advice for adults too, right? I mean we really want to focus on the gift that's been given to us mention it, you want to actually look at it, you know, not just like unwrap it. Take a glance, say thanks and put the box and the gift over to the right. You know,
Speaker 2: you want to look at it, comment on it, hold it or take it out of its packaging. If you can
Speaker 2: really, really absorbed the gift for a moment.
Speaker 1: It sounds like such obvious advice and yet it's so important that open, Oh, that's great. That down it goes onto the ground straight to the next gift. I can see the
Speaker 1: almost five year old, you know, where you're so excited. There's like another package and another and another and just unwrapping is so much fun. And there's an adult version of that feeling.
Speaker 1: Um, not always about getting on to the next gift, but yeah, really absorbed. I like that word, absorb it for a minute, spend some time in that moment with someone. It's really worth it.
Speaker 2: I think it's really good to, well you don't want to be fake about anything. Um, you do want to kind of always have that. My mother does this so well, but always have that. Oh, look at this or kind of tone
Speaker 2: as you open open the gift. It's, it's worth kind of cultivating that in, in your arsenal of, of ways to talk.
Speaker 2: Um, and be able to pull it out at this particular time. I know I'm not very good at this. I don't have a very good poker face for receiving gifts. Well, if I'm confused by something, it usually shows quickly and so this is one I often have to practice and I go, I go into the day thinking like if anything's off beat you, just you and all the heck out of it and not, not to be fake with it, but to to to not show my confusion about something or you know, and it happens there that, you know, people, even when they ask for lists and links to the exact item that you're looking for, it can still go off a little bit and rather than comment on the thing not being right in the moment, instead focus on. Oh no, I totally, I can see why you got this or thank you so much. I really, I really appreciate you thinking of me this way or I really appreciate that you got this for me.
Speaker 2: You can always deal with either exchanges or returns or if something was a little bit off later on, either absent of the giver themselves or if you have to coordinate with them, you can, you can do it at a later time. But having that you are face that expression
Speaker 2: is really, really good to have for the, in the moment. Unwrapping of the gift.
Speaker 1: The effort of that doesn't have to match the effort it took to give the gift, but it's sort of an but it's an attempt to kind of start to meet someone in that place of I've I've made an effort, so making an effort to receive, Well, I think is okay, in fact,
Speaker 1: is even good form
Speaker 1: and there's always that last recourse, whether it's that you really don't like the thing or just the size is a little off, but I mean the last resort of really appreciating the effort that someone put in or the thought and I say effort because sometimes something doesn't feel thoughtful, but they always did something
Speaker 1: and that is worth matching and meeting. And I think that you are face is a good way to kind of remind ourselves of that.
Speaker 2: So, another thing that is a common sort of anxiety driven experience during gift exchanges and and maybe this doesn't happen if you're
Speaker 2: um celebrating something like christmas and you're with everybody at the house and you knew who was going to be there and
Speaker 2: and you've got gifts for everybody. But often when we gather with our friends during these during these holidays, gifts can be a part of the equation. I'm not going to say an exchange, but the equation and if you find yourself being given a gift from someone and you don't have a gift in return, it can be really easy to think
Speaker 2: that the best thing to do is to tell them, oh, your
Speaker 2: gift is on its way or oh, I left it at home. I haven't wrapped it yet or oh, I didn't think we were doing gift exchanges. That one is actually a little, probably more honest. But um, you really don't want to lie in makeup that your gift for them is coming. If you didn't have one planned,
Speaker 2: um, you can absolutely 100% use this moment to inspire you to go get them something and give it to them at a later date. 100% okay to do that.
Speaker 2: But I think that rather than use sort of a bridge of like of a, I know some people call them white lies, things like that. I think that instead focus on the gift you've been given. Oh my gosh, this is so thoughtful of you are oh my gosh, thank you so much. I really wasn't expecting this and it is such a wonderful surprise.
Speaker 2: And then later on if you, if it's in your budget and your time and you can, you can do something for them them then I think that that's, that's perfectly wonderful. But if you can't, you've done the right thing in the moment by focusing on the gift that you've been given, I, I will still never forget the moment where this happened to me,
Speaker 2: one Christmas with a couple of girlfriends. We all lived downtown together and
Speaker 2: it was really nice jenny actually said when she gave me the gift. Listen, I know we didn't talk about doing gift exchange, but I really saw this thought of you and had to get it for you. And it was a nice way to kind of preemptively let me know. She's not expecting a gift in return.
Speaker 1: Having given this to me, it was, it
Speaker 2: was a nice way to go.
Speaker 1: You're reminding me about the reciprocal roles of the gift giver and I'm making a little mental note to do a post script next year on the reciprocal behaviors like there are for a host and a guest on the giver and the receiver
Speaker 1: because one of the roles I really imagine Anisha playing well also is being excited for someone opening something that she gave them so that she's not trying to snatch it back out of their hands or treating it as a gift for her or, and, and
Speaker 2: she likes to surprise people. So this, this is actually something I imagine she's going to be very good at,
Speaker 1: she does, but she also likes to take charge. So I have some concerns that we might be giving and taking all at the same time if, if I don't do a good job preparing and
Speaker 1: um, and I think that there are several parts of that, that, that I could imagine being another good post script but for this year I had one more thought for us lizzie post bonus points and I think we've covered the basics that in the moment gift exchange sort of expectation and meeting it to our best abilities.
Speaker 1: I want to offer bonus points for someone that can remember a gift and maybe it's a couple hours later at the same holiday party or maybe it's a week later when you see them again and it doesn't need to be a big thanking process. But bringing up the gift, talking about how you used it or what you enjoyed about it or just something that lets someone know that it made an impact and that it's something that you still use or enjoy. If it's true, it's a nice way to sort of a firm and take advantage of that exchange, having happened to continue to, to grow a relationship and it can feel really good when you've given a gift, you've been thanked for it. All of the basic
Speaker 1: expectations have been met. But then you hear a week later how much they're enjoying their new
Speaker 1: Melita coffee maker or whatever it is, It's um, it can really give someone a lot of pleasure, a lot of joy. So if we can do that for someone else, I think it's worth keeping in mind
Speaker 2: because you know, you know what I'm going to piggyback on that with is that
Speaker 2: this is where even if you thank someone in person, a thank you note is so useful if you aren't going to get the chance to run into them or see them or you don't pick up the phone and call them.
Speaker 2: Um, a thank you note later on. Even if you've opened the gift in front of the giver is never a bad idea. And I love the idea of really affirming for the giver
Speaker 2: that what they gave, you know, was meaningful or useful or that you've been so enjoying it. It's, it. I think it does kind of, as you said, give bonus points to the whole situation and it's nothing but a feel good moment. So I love the idea of encouraging that
Speaker 2: I'm getting excited because I'm getting excited for all the gift giving
Speaker 1: Tiktok
Speaker 2: tiktok.
Speaker 1: Well, we've already teased a post script for next year. It won't arrive in time to help with this year's gift exchanges, but we hope today's post script does and wish you all a really wonderful holiday season.
Speaker 1: How did you know? I mean? It's the very one I want.
Speaker 1: Eddie
Speaker 2: seemed to know what you want and he insisted
Speaker 1: We get that particular one. Eddie. You knew all the time. Well,
Speaker 2: I saw you ogling it in the store window. I
Speaker 1: couldn't help see you were crazy over it. And you said you
Speaker 2: didn't know how to be
Speaker 1: thoughtful.
Speaker 2: We like to end our show on a high note. So we turn to you to hear about the good etiquette you're seeing and experiencing out in the world and that can come in so many forms and today we have a salute from Sasha. Hello,
Speaker 1: lizzie and dan. I have a salute for the cashier at my local dollar store.
Speaker 1: One of our Hanukkah traditions. Is that the kids? Four and six get coins each day,
Speaker 1: One on the first, day, two on the second, etc. We do quarters. So at the end of Hanukkah they have $9 to spend at the dollar store.
Speaker 1: We went yesterday and they of course grabbed everything they could see they had been told that they could get anything they wanted as long as they had enough money of their own.
Speaker 1: We got to the cash register and the cashier was just so patient with them. He counted out all of their quarters and when my son had obviously taken too much, took the time to help him decide what to leave.
Speaker 1: He did not make us feel like anything but valued customers. It really made their day. Thanks Sasha.
Speaker 2: Oh, I just, I just love that on so many fronts. Sasha, thank you so much for sharing.
Speaker 1: Thank you for listening. Thank
Speaker 2: you to everyone who sent us something and everyone who supports us on Patreon. It was so nice to see you're wonderful faces. We can't wait to do it
Speaker 1: again. Please do connect with us and share the show with friends, family and coworkers. However, you like to share podcasts.
Speaker 2: You can send us questions feedback and salutes. We need your salutes by email to awesome etiquette at Emily post dot com by phone. You can leave us a message or text at 802858 kind. That's 8028585463.
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Speaker 1: Please consider becoming a sustaining member. You can find out more about this by visiting Patreon dot com slash awesome etiquette. You can also subscribe to the ads version of our show on Spotify or your favorite podcast app and please consider leaving us a review. It helps our show ranking which helps more people find awesome etiquette.
Speaker 1: Our show
Speaker 2: is edited by the incredible chris Albertine. An assistant produced by the Wonderful Bridget Dowd.
Speaker 2: Thanks
Speaker 1: Bridget. Bridget
Speaker 1: mm hmm