DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am blessed with a lovely, medium-sized vacation home, and welcome guests throughout the year. Increasingly, relatives will mention that they will be joining us over Christmas, but don’t want to let me know their date and time of arrival or departure. They like to “leave things flexible.” A few have even called a day or two before Christmas to let me know they are on their way.
This year, I would like to insist on a time frame for their visits. Is it unreasonable to inform visitors that they need to let me know well in advance the exact dates of their Christmas visits?
GENTLE READER: As the owner of the home, you get to schedule its use. It is not acceptable for guests to show up with little or no notice.
However, your passive past behavior has indicated that it was -- and telling your guests otherwise now might be tricky. Miss Manners suggests that you make a list. Begin by pinning down your favorite or most expected relatives and work your way down from there. That way, as you start to get booked, you can honestly say, “I am afraid the house is full for the holidays, but we hope that you will let us know soon if you would like to come for strawberry season.”