DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I are football fans, but we do not watch the Thanksgiving football games, choosing instead to talk with all of the family members gathered for the holiday.
My aunt and uncle who live nearby feel that watching football is part of the tradition. Last Thanksgiving, while I was getting ready to set the meal on the table, they sent my mother in to ask if they could turn on the game. (None of the other guests asked.)
I said that I would rather not, since we had family we had not seen in over a year who had traveled a great distance to be here, and I wanted to talk with them without the television. Also, I have a toddler whom I do not allow to watch television.
We have a small house and only one television (which is in the living room, where we would be eating. It is the only room large enough to accommodate large family gatherings.) If we had another room where they could have watched without disturbing the rest of us, I would have said yes.
I could see that my aunt and uncle were clearly annoyed and anxious, to the point where they began asking my mom in our native language (I guess forgetting that I also understand it) if they could go over to her house to watch the game. This upset my husband and me greatly.
This year, I hoped that my aunt would host Thanksgiving. First, I thought it would only be fair, since I hosted last year. Second, she and my uncle could have the television on all day and I would not say a word. (It is their house, after all.) However, my aunt asked me to host again, saying that she cannot host this year.
I really do not want to have the same problem this year, especially since my uncle angered my husband and me earlier this year when he called our decision to not let our toddler watch television "idiotic" and "nonsense." This whole TV issue is becoming a charged one, and I don't want it to interfere with this holiday.
What should I do? Just turn the television on (to satisfy them but annoy my husband and myself)? Do what I did last year and accept the consequences? I hope that you can provide a third, more peaceful, option.
GENTLE READER: That would be issuing fair warning. "Auntie, dear," Miss Manners suggests that you say, "you are good to put up with our prejudices about television. I know you don't share them, but if you are willing to come to us anyway, we are delighted to have you."
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Someone who constantly buts in "I know" when you're having a discussion on just about any topic.
GENTLE READER: If Miss Manners were to ?nish your sentence, she would say "... should be paired with someone who has the conversational quirk of repeatedly saying, "You know."