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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I just turned 14 and had a small party with relatives to celebrate it. A few days later my mom bought me thank-you cards and said I should send them out.

I told the people "thank you" for the gifts in person. I don't think thank-you cards are necessary for something as small as birthdays. Shouldn't they be reserved for things like weddings and baby showers?

Mom and I are anxious to see your answer. -- NO THANK-YOU

DEAR NO THANK-YOU: Listen to your mother because she's trying to tell you something important. When people do something nice for you -- such as give you a birthday or Christmas gift -- their thoughtfulness and generosity should be acknowledged with a written thank-you. It's not a waste of your time.

People are inclined to be more generous to those who show their appreciation, as you will learn in many situations as time passes.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Teens

Fuss Made Over Baby Is Too Much For His Aunt

DEAR ABBY: My sister has a 1-year-old baby boy we all adore. He is a cute little guy. My sister is understandably proud, but sometimes I feel it goes too far.

She sends pictures of him with captions like, "Cutest Baby Ever," or "He's the BEST!" She dresses him in shirts that say, "FAVORITE" or "The Greatest."

I feel it is rude to other parents and insensitive to other kids because it implies that other people's children don't measure up. Also, there are some adorable little cousins living in the same household as the "perfect" baby.

We all have attractive children, but not all of us feel the need to put others down in order to compliment our offspring. Am I overly sensitive, or is my sister tactless? -- IDAHO AUNTIE

DEAR IDAHO AUNTIE: Your sister is over-the-moon about her baby boy. Shirts like this for toddlers are very common. The children in that household are probably too young to read what's printed on the T-shirts and feel slighted, so simmer down and don't take it personally.

Read more in: Family & Parenting

Couple Looks Into Selling Family Furniture

DEAR ABBY: Some time ago we were given a very expensive dining room set by relatives. No one else in the family wanted it, and we took it because our dining room pieces were old.

Now we would like to sell this set and buy something less formal and more comfortable. Do we have any obligation to the original owners? -- NEEDS ADVICE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

DEAR NEEDS ADVICE: If the dining room set was "lent" to you by the relatives, you should consult them. However, if it was given to you, then you have no obligation to do so and you may dispose of it as you wish.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Etiquette & Ethics

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