DEAR MISS MANNERS: My school-age daughters recently received as a gift from their aunt and uncle a donation to a religious charity that our family finds offensive. The charity supports a cause and a religion that is against our family's beliefs.
We feel like this is a passive-aggressive jab at us in the guise of a gift to our daughters. Do my daughters owe their uncle and aunt a thank-you note for this "gift"?
GENTLE READER: It is rude not to thank someone who gives you a present, and also rude to suggest that you would have preferred something else.
But if you promise to keep that in mind, Miss Manners will give you a polite way to comply with the letter of the law while violating its spirit.
This requires subtlety, which is not guaranteed to work on adults who see a present to a child as a good opportunity to annoy the parents. "Dear Aunt and Uncle," the letter could say, "It was kind of you to think of us on our birthdays. I know how much Charity X means to you. Love, your nieces."