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

In Defense of E-Cards for Christmas Greetings

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am writing in defense of e-cards for the Christmas holiday. People say they are impersonal, but I disagree. I write everyone’s name on their email, and I write a short message to everyone.

While I will never complain about what form of communication my friends choose to use, I find most holiday cards have nothing written on them, let alone a personal greeting, and most have printed labels, so the writer has hardly even given the recipient a thought.

I enjoy writing an email to accompany my e-card, and thinking of that person and my memories of them. Because e-cards are less expensive, and there is no postage, I am able to keep my list as large as I want it, without having to cut anyone when finances are tight. My greeting can be printed if the recipient wishes, or just read, enjoyed and deleted, which is perfect, too.

GENTLE READER: You are in for a disappointment if you expect Miss Manners to argue that the form is more important than the content in regard to something as informal as Christmas greetings.

The paper Christmas card can be charming, but not if it lacks the point, which is to show people whom you rarely see that you still think of them. Cards that contain only a signature or, Miss Manners will argue, a family photograph, without reference to the recipient, are not charming. And there are those who persist in addressing them to people they barely remember.

So your method of writing something personal is fine -- provided your e-cards are not the animated sort that take up time and space on the computer, annoying grouches like Miss Manners.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have guests coming for the Christmas holidays: two adults and one child. We have a guest room, which they have used before, but this time my husband thinks we should give up the master bedroom for them, since the child is a little older. Both rooms have their own bathrooms and plenty of closet space. The only difference is that one has a queen-sized bed and the other a king.

GENTLE READER: Don’t you want to invest in a futon for the guest room?

Miss Manners only asks because while it might be difficult to cram two adults and a large child into either the smaller or the larger bed, it might also be difficult for you and your husband not to grow resentful when you are kept out of your room.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been a widow for seven years. While starting a new job search, I was asked if I was Mrs., Ms., etc. I chose Mrs.

I am just curious if that is correct. A friend recently remarked, “You still are married.”

GENTLE READER: Your friend has not paid attention to the marriage service. The state of modern marriage notwithstanding, it generally specifies “until death do you part.”

That is not to say that the widowed may not consider themselves still emotionally joined, and prefer to use Mrs. socially. But that has no place in the business world, where Ms. is the best choice because marital status should be irrelevant.

(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, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)