DEAR MISS MANNERS: Every Easter, my sister-in-law has an indoor candy-and-small-gifts hunt for all the adults and five children. My husband refuses to look, so I find his items for him. I feel uncomfortable as the women keep getting me small gifts, but I only get things for the children, and a host-hostess gift, along with a contribution of food for the meal. I feel like a curmudgeon for not wanting to spend the money on such things, and I've never enjoyed shopping, even if it is just for cute, inexpensive items and food gifts (for the men).
Is it OK to refuse to get things for the older children (now 11-29) and just get one thing to hide for our granddaughter, age 2? Or should I be more cooperative and give gifts to all those who give them to me?
GENTLE READER: You hate this event, don't you? And so does your husband.
Miss Manners won't bother to ask why you nevertheless attend. It's a family tradition.
That is all the more reason that you can get into trouble messing with it, especially if you do so obviously pursuing only your own advantage -- taking but not giving, except to your own granddaughter. You either fully participate or you don't.
The way to escape is to make it clear beforehand that you are skipping the hunt, either by saying you would love to come to lunch but can't stay or by skipping both. If you merely sit it out on the premises (unless you can persuade your husband that it's his turn to be the family hunter and gatherer), they will still bring you little presents.
Perhaps after a year or two, they will simply count you out, and you can then endear yourself by staying but cleaning up from lunch while they have their hunt.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: ?My friend and I are having a discussion about "Who gets Grandma's diamond ring?"
She insists that it is written somewhere that the first granddaughter always inherits Grandma's rings. I told her that maybe it was a custom in her family but I have never heard this from anyone else. Have you ever heard of this "Custom"?
When my Mother passed away I got her rings, but my friend insists that my niece should have gotten them because it is a rule. She almost said "a law" but then retracted the statement.
I have only one granddaughter, and someday in the distant future (I hope) she can have my rings if she wants them, but if I had more than one granddaughter (like my friend), I would pass my diamonds on to the one who deserved them most.
GENTLE READER: Assuming that we are not talking about legally entailed family heirlooms (Miss Manners has been escaping into Victorian novels again), there is only one place where this decision is written. In Grandma's will.