Dear Miss Manners: Is it all right to brush a child's hair at the breakfast table, or is that a no-no? We are often in a rush at breakfast to get our children to school on time.

Rules for the family breakfast table are more relaxed than for more formal occasions. But Miss Manners still prefers to separate grooming from eating — rather than having to separate hair from cereal.

Dear Miss Manners: I was invited to a wedding shower for my nephew's bride-to-be. She had registered at a very nice store for her gifts.

I was unable to attend the shower, and spoke with a sales consultant over the phone, who narrowed the choices to my price range. She took care of the details on mailing.

It was a lovely gift, sent directly to the bride. A few days before the shower, the mother of the groom (my sister-in-law) texted me to chastise me for not having the gift wrapped. Apparently, because of the new couple's small apartment, packages were mailed to my sister-in-law's house, though addressed to the bride.

My sister-in-law was not hosting the wedding shower, but she texted that she would wrap the gift "for me." I replied "thank you," though it was very upsetting.

I looked at the registry on my computer, and the bride had left a note stating "please do not add gift-wrap." Some couples are preferring this option for the sake of the environment, or simply to save their guests a fee.

I texted my sister-in-law about the wrapping request on the registry and her response was, "I didn't know they cared about the environment." No apology for opening a package not addressed to her. No apology for chastising me about the lack of gift-wrapping.

I sent a lovely gift that the couple had registered for, and got grief! Would you please review gift etiquette? Especially with new trends with young couples.

Happy as she would be to review the relevant etiquette, Miss Manners fears it would not solve your problem: Neither the bride, nor you, was in any way remiss.

Your sister-in-law, by contrast, is guilty of at least one etiquette violation — if not also of the almost-as-serious crime of tampering with the mail. When you received the first text, you had the opportunity to thank your sister-in-law for the offer to wrap the gift, while pointedly explaining that it was unnecessary since the bride had requested that gifts not be wrapped. Follow-ups after that are, as you discovered, unlikely to have much impact.

What remains is to prevent the exchange from coloring your relationship with your niece-in-law — and to learn to be wary in future dealings with your sister-in-law.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website,

2018, by Judith Martin