Perspective | Miss Manners: Thanksgiving invitation is usually implied at this family gathering


Some of the younger relatives travel from both coasts to our home in the Midwest. (I know: We are SO lucky!)

However, we have decided that we are not comfortable hosting the party this year, because of the pandemic. Should we send out announcements now that we don’t plan on hosting? Or maybe just call/text/email everyone? Or just not send the usual invitations six weeks before the holiday?

No one has inquired as to our plans, but I’m afraid they assume that we intend to host.

Yes, you should let them know fast — by call, text or email.

There does exist a formal way of announcing that one is not asking for “the pleasure of your company”: It is that the hosts “… regret to announce that (event) will not take place.” But this is reserved for occasions such as canceled weddings, where there is a vain hope of not having to tell everybody why.

In the current situation, everyone would know why. Yet confirmation of the cancellation, in case there is some accommodation or alternative plan, would be welcome.

It would also be cheering to know that there is hope for the future, and a couple of Miss Manners’ acquaintance managed this in a charming way. Along with their regret at not being able to give their annual party this year, they sent an invitation for the party to take place in 2021.

Dear Miss Manners: I began carrying a handkerchief years ago, at your urging. During this pandemic, I have found it very useful for wiping my eyes, opening doors and generally protecting me from unsanitary surfaces, along with the more obvious historical uses (aside from dropping them on the ground to attract gentlemen).

The more I use them, the more I wonder: What is the proper way to carry them? I rarely have a long sleeve to tuck it into, so it’s in my purse; is that okay? Do you have an opinion on cotton vs. linen? After using it, should I fold it carefully and tuck it away, or is it acceptable to roll it into a ball? Does color matter? How about size?

These days, even gentlemen would probably not be inclined to pick up a stranger’s handkerchief for any reason.

But the other uses are valuable, provided you separate them, and don’t go from doorknob to eyes. And while you must crumple it after use, rather than refold it, you get to choose the size, color, material and where to stash it.

Miss Manners is dismayed that the handkerchief is in bad repute by those who fear it is not sanitized sufficiently, and that tissues are in bad repute by those who fear their damage to the environment.

Yet they both have their uses. Handkerchiefs are prettier.

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