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by Abigail Van Buren

Disputed Heirloom Silver Causes Family Ill Will

DEAR ABBY: When you receive a gift on a special occasion and it's obvious that it's an envelope with a check inside, should the envelope be opened in front of the person or should it be tucked away to open privately?

I always worry that if I open the envelope in front of the giver, it's as though I am checking the amount. On the other hand, if I don't open it, it might appear that I think their gesture is insignificant. What do you think? -- NOT AN OPEN-OR-SHUT CASE

DEAR NOT: I see no reason not to open the envelope, and to thank the giver verbally on the spot. No mention of the dollar amount should be made unless there is no one else around to overhear. The amount is no one's business but yours. A written thank-you should also be sent to the giver -- preferably before the check clears.