Dear Miss Manners: The wife of my husband's best friend turned on me when I became friends with her stepdaughter. We tried to include her in everything we did, only to be turned down. She now addresses Christmas cards to my husband only. Would it be in bad form to "return to sender"?
Because it is the season to be snippy?
Surely the more dignified response is to ignore it. And as your husband may want to continue his friendship with his best friend, Miss Manners sees the added advantage here of it's not provoking an all-out family feud.
Dear Miss Manners: Holiday cards are my way of keeping in touch with a number of people: great-aunts and second cousins whom I do not generally communicate with in any other way.
This year, my husband and I separated. Is this something that can or should be communicated in a holiday card?
What about all of my husband's extended family? Simply dropping them from the list doesn't seem right, but neither does sending them a card from just myself. I rather doubt that my husband will have informed them.
You would probably not be pleased to get return cards saying, “Too bad your marriage broke up, but Merry Christmas anyway.” And that is because, as you suspect, holiday wishes should not be the occasion for dropping serious news.
But Miss Manners does not want to discourage you from keeping in touch with your husband’s family, if that is your wish. By simply signing your name, you will prompt anyone who is interested to wonder why — and they can then ask your husband, or you, outside of the context of the holiday.
Dear Miss Manners: My brother-in-law, who has been engaged for 10 months, is now getting married. My husband, the groom's brother, and I got married less than two years ago, before my brother-in-law met my future sister-in-law.
When they got engaged, she immediately chose wedding colors and bridesmaid dresses. To my shock, she picked the same three colors as my wedding colors, and the bridesmaid dresses are the same color as well.
I would normally let this go, as some girls dream of weddings and colors years before getting engaged. But she was aware of our colors and has on multiple occasions been rude and nasty. She and her mother have harangued members of the family in the name of following a printed list of "wedding etiquette" guidelines.
So did she commit the original wedding etiquette faux pas by choosing the same wedding colors (and first dance song) as our recent family nuptials? How do I let this go when she has been so nasty to others over wedding etiquette?
During whatever rude and nasty conflicts you may engage in with your future sister-in-law and her mother, please omit such patently false claims about etiquette.
Of course it does not issue trademarks on wedding colors. Miss Manners could even imagine that repeating them would benefit anyone in both wedding parties, who would not then have to invest in another costume.