The worst thing about sending a Christmas gift is not knowing if the person received it.

This scene is being repeated in homes all over America.

"It's funny," said Ethel Americus, "the Blauvelts never thanked us for the ant farm we sent them."

"Maybe they didn't like it," Tom Americus suggested.

"Even if they didn't they should at least have had the manners to acknowledge it. Ant farms are not easy to find," Ethel sniffed.

"Perhaps they never received it," Tom said. "Mail service is lousy, particularly around Christmas time."

"Then we better put a tracer on it and find out if it was delivered."

"That's a good idea. But what if the postal inspector interviews the Blauvelts? They'll suspect we were checking up on them," Tom said.

"We are checking up on them," Ethel declared. "If they got the package and didn't acknowledge it they deserve to be embarrassed. We went to a lot of trouble to get them a gift. A little thank-you from them is not out of line."

"They have no right to ruin our Christmas," Tom said.

"I could call Loretta's sister and ask her if she knows whether they received it or not," Ethel suggested.

"Ah, the heck with it. If they're going to behave like ingrates I say we write off the ant farm as a bad investment," Tom told her.

"I still think they didn't get it. Loretta would be the first to sit down and send a thank-you note," Ethel said.

"Then how come we never heard from her when we gave their daughter a shower curtain for her wedding?" Tom asked.

"We never heard from Loretta's daughter. The bride is supposed to thank us for the gift, not the bride's mother."

"Everything is 'gimme' with the Blauvelts. The rotten thing is he makes more money than I do."

"I have an idea," Ethel declared. "Why don't we drop in on them, and while you keep them occupied I'll scout around and see if the ant farm is anywhere. Then at least we'll know if they got it or not."

"I wouldn't do that. The fact the farm isn't there doesn't mean the Blauvelts didn't get it. They could have given it to their daughter."

Ethel asked, "Should I call her up and ask her point blank if she got the ant farm?"

"That's a good idea. When it comes to gift giving at Christmas I always believe in confrontation."

Ethel dialed the phone. "Loretta, is that you? ... Did you have a divine holiday? ... Wonderful, so did we. What did you get? ... Uh, uh, uh, a new rug, a fur coat, a TV and a bottle of Opium perfume. Did you receive anything from your friends? ... An umbrella stand, ashtrays and door chimes that play 'Old MacDonald Had a Farm.' Anything else? ... You haven't opened up all your gifts yet ...

"Well, if you're not going to open the others, at least find the one with the wrapping that has reindeers jumping over Santa Claus on it ... I'll wait ... You mean it's from us? As I live and breathe, I had forgotten we sent you anything ... You don't have to say you like it if you don't. It's a silly little present, but I thought you would be amused every time you saw the ants digging out of the sand ... You don't have to gush. Tom and I never expect anyone to acknowledge our Christmas presents. We give for joy, not for thanks."