DEAR MISS MANNERS: My pregnant daughter and her husband live in my backyard, in a charming but tiny apartment they made out of my office and garage. My son-in-law’s parents recently visited from out of town, and subsequently sent the kids a gift of a toaster, a microwave and a coffee machine.
They can’t have missed the lack of available space in the kids’ apartment, so I assume they intended these objects to stay with me, in my house. I was not pining for these appliances, wouldn’t have picked them in this color, and suspect they’ll get little use by me.
Must I thank his parents for the gifts? Or is the kids’ thanks adequate? I am a poor liar.
GENTLE READER: Then do not poach your kids’ presents.
As these appliances were given to them, it is up to them what they do with them -- and that might be returning them for something more practical, cramming them into their tiny home or putting them in storage until they have a bigger one.
Thanks are required only from the direct recipient of presents. And that is just as well, because stating that you appropriated theirs and being unable to disguise your dislike are not seemly ingredients for a letter of thanks.