Miss Manners: Giving to charity without encouraging more junk mail

I hate the thought that my contributions will go to pay for postage and printing, not actual work. Is there any practical way to make su...

I hate the thought that my contributions will go to pay for postage and printing, not actual work. Is there any practical way to make sure my money isn’t used for further solicitations?

Perhaps you can suggest that they start using electronic mail instead. Or as a contributor, make your donation contingent on being used only for a specific and worthy purpose. “For the library fund” would be a good example. “Meetings in Bermuda,” Miss Manners suggests, would not.

Dear Miss Manners: I have a wonderful new son-in-law, and I’m not sure how to handle gift-giving now. I usually give money to my daughter for birthdays and Christmas, but what is right for her husband? Do I give the same amount of money to him as my daughter, or less?

Nothing says “Welcome to the family” like telling the new member exactly how much less he is worth than the originals.

Miss Manners will otherwise spare you her lecture on giving money as presents, but this would be an excellent argument against it. However, if you insist, she suggests giving them a combined check for Christmas — or, better, the equivalent amount in a joint household present — and then a gift for his birthday. If he really wants to assess his relative value, he can always return it.

Dear Miss Manners: I have a friend who recently changed her look drastically. She likes it: It’s cute, sassy and low-maintenance, the trifecta!

She works in an office where there are repeat clients that she’s known for some time. A surprising number of them think it’s okay to comment negatively on her new look: “You butchered your hair!” “Oh! What does your husband think?” and more.

Whatever happened to “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”? Any advice for something polite but pointed so she can indicate that some of these comments are unkind and unnecessary?

“Oh, I am sorry to hear that. I love it and think that I will keep it, if you don’t mind.”

Dear Miss Manners: My girlfriend of one year and I disagree on the subject of exchanging gifts. We are both in our 70s. We both have everything that we need or want and are actually getting rid of things. I feel that we should forgo exchanging gifts, but she seems to want to give gifts.

Indulge in an event or meal that can be shared.

But since you asked, Miss Manners’s opinion is that you stop trying to dissuade the lady from displaying affection. Pragmatism does not pair well with romance and Christmas. Discouraging the celebration of either will not bode well for this still-fledgling relationship.

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Newsrust: Miss Manners: Giving to charity without encouraging more junk mail
Miss Manners: Giving to charity without encouraging more junk mail
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