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

How Will People Learn If I Don’t Correct Them?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Due to circumstances surrounding the pandemic, my brother, father and I are all living under the same roof. My nephew is getting married next year; whether or not we will be able to attend is still unknown.

We received three separate invitations to the event. Should we send the couple three individual gifts (most likely cash or checks), or would it be appropriate to pool together and send one envelope?

GENTLE READER: Putting aside the substance of the gift (Miss Manners does not consider money a proper present), you are right that presents are generally given per household. But the term is not to be understood in a literal way. For instance, a child’s parents would include him on the list of givers even if he is away at camp. And your mother-in-law, even if she lives upstairs, will want to send something separate as a measure of independence.

Assuming you and your brother are adults, the extra envelopes and stamps for three separate presents will not do lasting damage to the planet.