DEAR MISS MANNERS: Every year, we host a kid-friendly holiday party for family, friends and co-workers in our home. I try to invite all the previous year's invitees, as well as any new acquaintances or friends that I've made.
The trouble has been with my daughter's classmates. There are only two second-grade classes in her school, with a total of 30 children. She has close friends in both classes, and I know many parents (and have been inviting many of those parents to our parties) in both classes.
In the interest of not having 100-plus in our home, and only inviting people I have actually met, I'd prefer not to invite everyone in her class or the other class. However, there are only four kids in my daughter's class of 15 whose family I have never met.
Under these circumstances, is it rude to extend a holiday party invitation to 11 of the 15 families? Must I invite all 15?
Then what about the other class? I know, and am friends with, about half of that class, but don't really want to invite them all. Is there a non-rude way to invite some, but not all, the kids and their families? Whittling it down by category, I could invite only families of girls, but we've been friends with some of the boys' families for years, and I'd rather not cut them out.
GENTLE READER: There is a big difference between a "kid-friendly" party and a party for kids. If this gathering is primarily for your friends -- and by association, some of your daughter's -- then the guest list is entirely up to you.
It should be made up only of people whom you know and want there -- and, Miss Manners notes, who would likewise know you and want to be there. It is only children's parties -- primarily on birthdays -- where school policies and fairness issues get involved, that it might become necessary to invite an entire class.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)