Wise answers to perplexing questions
Dear Answer Lady
I have a lot of family who live far away. For this reason, I usually send birthday and Christmas gifts in the mail – I write a check or send a gift card. If I haven’t heard from the recipient after a couple of days, I usually call to make sure the gift has been received. Recently I called my niece to follow up on a gift, and she was rather rude, saying that she had just received it the previous day, and then made up some excuse about working late and not yet having had the chance to call me. She implied that I was the one being rude! – Have You Ever?
Well, yes, the Answer Lady has. You sound very thoughtful and very, uh, thorough in your gift-giving, dear, but to call these recipients of your good will and hound them, mere hours after they have opened their mail, borders on harassment. By the way, the Answer Lady is NOT excusing people who do not thank others for gifts. Depending upon the occasion, a card is in order, at the very least a phone call, email, or even a text. To not acknowledge a gift is a crime against civility. Yes, if you have written a check and it goes uncashed for weeks at a time, of course a phone call is in order. And yes, your friends and family may be a bunch of ill-mannered, thoughtless boors, but that does not give you license to be the gift police. Give people a realistic chance to thank you, and if they don’t do so, decide whether you are giving gifts to get something in return, or giving them because you want to.
Dear Answer Lady
Okay – going to my new girl’s folks’ house in Pennsylvania for Christmas dinner. My girlfriend is whipping up an appetizer that her mom requested, but I don’t want to walk in empty-handed. On the other hand, I’ve been laid off for a month, so funds are kind of limited. I need a quick suggestion. – Dinner Guest
The Answer Lady feels like she says these two things all the time, but here she goes again: 1. Shop local, and 2. Any hostess loves flowers. Pop into your nearest posy shop and pick up some festive flowers. Or, since it is dinner, how about wine? Check out Hawk Haven Vineyards’ current sale – two bottles of Reisling for $25 – can’t beat it. Local and frugal – they’ll love you. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Answer Lady’s family to yours.