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Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Stop Sending Gifts to Relatives Who Never Acknowledge Them

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When my niece graduated from high school, we sent a monetary gift and never received any acknowledgment of it. Fast-forward to her bridal shower: My sister and I flew in to attend the show (sic), which included airfare, hotel, car rental and gift. The weekend cost us about $600 each. The shower was in May and there has been no acknowledgment.

Now we have returned from her wedding, same monetary output plus another substantial gift. I have no expectation that we will receive any acknowledgment.

The question becomes whether I let my sister, her mother, know in the hopes she will teach her daughter common courtesy but possibly embarrass and hurt my sister. Or do I just let it go to keep peace in the family?

GENTLE READER: You should have consulted Miss Manners a long time ago. She could have saved you a lot of money. But she is just in time to save you a family fight.

Surely you do not really think that your sister would respond to your message -- however delivered -- by saying, "Oh, yes, I'll get right to that," and that the bride, in return, would say, "Mama, you should have told me this long ago."

At this point, Miss Manners cannot even recommend the delicate inquiry of whether the presents actually arrived.

Rather, let us assume that people who ignore presents find it a burden to receive them. Therefore, the most tactful response would be to stop sending them.

(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Family & Parenting | Marriage & Divorce