DEAR MISS MANNERS: A relative and I are organizing a get-together of family members we don't see much now that our grandparents and parents have died. We plan to invite 15 relatives and their spouses, kids and grandkids, with multiple activities planned over two or three days. Most will have to travel for the occasion.
There are two people we don't want to join us, but whom we must invite because leaving them off the invitation list would require explaining the reasons. (Those reasons include the theft of tens of thousands of dollars, the theft of family heirlooms and making sexualized remarks to a preteen.)
How can we include them in the invitation list but somehow keep them from coming? We could send invitations electronically, with names of all the relatives in blind copies, but eventually the omission would be noticed.
I have thought of hinting at legal action to one of these relatives, but have no such threat to make to the other.
GENTLE READER: Issuing invitations and pressing charges in the same mail reminds Miss Manners of the ancient practice of inviting your rival to dinner so you could assassinate him.
It made for a good story (for those who survived), but it was never good manners.
If these relatives committed such egregious acts, then they should not be invited. If you do not want to explain why they were excluded, say, "We have had some serious differences that I do not wish to discuss." And then pass the cookies.