Metro-East Living

What to do when your adult children don’t want to continue family traditions

Q: Our family has the tradition of celebrating important events, birthdays and Christmas holidays by sending cards, etc. My middle-aged, well-educated and well-employed children are not interested in continuing this tradition, so I plan on doing the same toward them. Is there a tactful way to inform them or should I just stop?

A: Sounds like you are not very happy with your “middle-aged, well-educated and well-employed children” for this latest decision, and I think you are quite justified to be unhappy. If you truly plan to stop sending them cards, there is no tactful way to inform them. Merely stop sending cards to them.

However, since you do not agree, perhaps you want to consider another option, and that is to “put your parental foot down.” Let them know you disagree totally with their decision and that you expect to continue to receive cards from each one of them on your birthday, Mother’s Day, Christmas and all the other holidays and important events.

You should continue sending cards to them on their birthdays and for other special events just as you always have. After all, no matter how old our children become or how well-educated, etc., they do not tell their parents they are going to stop a long-established family tradition. One day, when they are older and their children start telling them what to do, they will understand. In the meantime, hold your ground!

Q: Growing up, I was taught families didn’t throw showers (baby or wedding) for their daughters. That it was the kindness of her friends who did that. It seems to be gimme, gimme now! Also, have you noticed that at showers, the guests are often handed an envelope to address for the thank you note. Since I bought a gift, card and wrapping paper, couldn’t the recipient at least address my thank you note?

A. You and I were taught correctly regarding who should and who should not host baby and bridal showers for immediate family members. Whether or not some adhere to this long-established etiquette rule, it is improper for immediate family members to host a baby or bridal shower for an immediate family member. In most cases, bridesmaids or other girlfriends host these kinds of events. I am not certain why immediate family members (mothers, mother-in-laws, sisters) have begun to ignore this rule, but hopefully, my readers will pass on the information.

It is also very rude and improper to ask guests at a shower to write their name and address on the envelope for their own thank you note. The recipient should not only hand-write a thank you note within a week, but she should hand-write your name and address on the envelope. “Saving the bride or mother-to-be time because they are so busy” is absolutely, totally inexcusable!

Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Dianne Isbell at Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to