Metro-East Living

Some Christmas gift buying and open house etiquette to follow

Why giving to others makes us feel good

Whether it's for a birthday or Giving Tuesday, giving a gift to someone can feel great. It turns out there's a reason for that, and it starts with your brain.
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Whether it's for a birthday or Giving Tuesday, giving a gift to someone can feel great. It turns out there's a reason for that, and it starts with your brain.

Q. Our family took a vote at Thanksgiving to stop buying Christmas presents for everyone and draw names instead. Each person was to make a wish list with five items on it. The amount to be spent was not to exceed $100. I drew my elderly Aunt’s name and she had the names of five charities on her list. I will honor her request by selecting one of them but I think I should also get her something else so that she gets a gift of some kind. She likes fresh flowers so do you think it would be appropriate to give her a vase with roses or some kind of arrangement for her dining room table with the card attached identifying the $100 donation I made to one of the charities? Or should I just give her a card with the donation information inside? And maybe a box of candy? I usually give her a plate full of some of the cookies I bake each year. We will open gifts one person at a time so should I announce her request for a donation to a charity when it is her turn?

A. How thoughtful of your elderly Aunt to think of others in need, especially at Christmas time. It is also thoughtful of you to want her to have a little extra gift with which to recognize her when it is her turn. The vase of roses might be a little much and difficult for her to transport home, but a small basket of fresh flowers, or the candy would be very nice. Mentioning her request for a donation to a charity would be fine, but I do not feel you need to identify the charity you selected. Allow her to identify which one if she chooses to do so.

Q. If you are invited to a Holiday Open House and it is a five hour window of time, are guests expected to be there when it starts and how long are you supposed to stay?

A. The very nature of an Open House having a larger guest list than usual allows guests the opportunity of stopping by at a time most convenient to their schedule during the “window” of time identified on the invitation. It does not mean all invited guests must arrive at the beginning and stay to the end. Guests are to extend their holiday wishes to the host and hostess, meet some of the other guests, have a cup of cheer, sample some of the food, and then leave. This is especially important if there is a large crowd of people because you allow other invited guests space to come in and do the same.

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