Dear Miss Manners: I am a delighted grandmother of seven. I don’t live close to any of my grandkids, though, and for some of them, in-person visits only happen once every other year.
Nevertheless, at Christmas, the gift I always receive is a picture of the child/children that has already appeared online, printed and framed. Every year. I have come to think of this as insulting — a gift of no consideration at all. Not only that, but every Christmas card is just another picture of them.
I long for the days when a Christmas card had a Christmas theme and sentiment, and could be displayed during the season. It was a lovely tradition to display all the pretty cards and reminders of the meaning of the season.
Instead, this makes me sad and resentful at the same time, and I hate feeling that way.
Are you suggesting that Christmas is about something other than self? Haven’t you noticed that all of life is about being photographed living it?
Yes, yes, Miss Manners realizes that sometimes people like to see pictures of other people, especially when they are not expected to scroll through dozens of them. And as you testify, grandparents like to have pictures of their grandchildren.
Your family has registered that, although not that you are capable of getting these pictures online — let alone that you might appreciate receiving a sweater or a book once in a while.
The next time they visit, you might point out the latest photos that you got from social media. Or you could just consider their presents as saving you the trouble of buying frames.
Dear Miss Manners: My son is getting married, and my wife is greatly offended because his aunts on my side of the family (my four sisters and two sisters-in-law) did not throw a wedding shower in his honor. They were invited to a bridal shower given by friends of the bride’s family, and a group of women at our church who know my son well also gave a shower for the bride.
My son and I feel that the groom’s family does not traditionally throw a shower, so we are not offended. My sisters do not know that my wife is upset. My wife feels that I am just taking my family’s side and not supporting her. Am I in the wrong? Should I be offended as well?
If anyone should be offended, it should be Miss Manners, because etiquette is so often used, especially at weddings and funerals, as a weapon. Here, as usual, the alleged offense has nothing to do with the requirements of etiquette.
Relatives do not properly give showers (although they do so anyway), and showers are given for brides alone or with their bridegrooms — not for a bridegroom alone.
Why your wife is using this misinformation to spoil for a fight with your side of the family is something you might want to find out. Or just have your son ask her not to use him as ammunition.
New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.
© 2023 Judith Martin
More from Advice
Ask Sahaj: My husband’s family stays for weeks, but he doesn’t consult me
Ask Amy: Daughter divulges sexuality, sets off rumor mill
Miss Manners: Siblings at odds over brother’s ex
Ask Elaine: I’m moving across the world. How do I put myself out there?