DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I have hosted a Thanksgiving party for family (around 30 people) every year for the past 12 years, always on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Although we still send out invitations for the event, everyone has come to expect to spend that day at our home.
Some of the younger relatives even travel from both coasts to our home in the Midwest. (I know: We are SO lucky!)
However, we have decided that we are not comfortable hosting the party this year, due to the pandemic. Should we send out announcements now that we don’t plan on hosting? Or maybe just call/text/email everyone? Or just not send the usual invitations six weeks prior to the holiday?
No one has inquired yet as to our plans, but I’m afraid they may just be assuming that we still intend to host.
GENTLE READER: Yes, you should let them know fast -- by call, text or email.
There does exist a formal way of announcing that one is not asking for “the pleasure of your company”: It is that the hosts “... regret to announce that (event) will not take place.” But this is reserved for occasions such as canceled weddings, where there is a vain hope of not having to tell everybody why.
In the current situation, everyone would know why. Yet confirmation of the cancellation, in case there is some accommodation or alternative plan, would be welcome.
It would also be cheering to know that there is hope for the future, and a couple of Miss Manners’ acquaintance managed this in a charming way. Along with their regret at not being able to give their annual party this year, they sent an invitation for the party to take place in 2021.