Antelope Valley Press


- By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin Address your etiquette questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanner­; to her email, dearmiss; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndicatio­n,

Dear Miss Manners: As someone who doesn’t eat candy, I don’t know how to handle holidays like Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Easter, when co-workers and neighbors often give out small bags of candy.

If they’re handing it out to everyone, I’ll often say something like, “Thank you so much for thinking of me! I don’t eat candy, though, so maybe you could give this to someone who will enjoy it more.” My problem occurs when someone leaves candy on my desk or they give me a personal card with candy attached.

I’d like to give the candy to a friend, but should I let them know that I’m regifting it? I don’t want to take credit for a cute bag and candy that I didn’t pay for, but I also don’t want my friends to think I’m just trying to get rid of the candy, especially because I know they’ll genuinely enjoy it.

What would be the best way to handle this?

Dear Gentle Reader: It is true that secrecy is an important element of regifting. The original donor should not know that the present has been given away, nor the recipient that it was given to you and rejected.

But if you were to run around redistribu­ting all these treats, wouldn’t you be turning into a well-intentione­d candy person who perpetuate­s the problem?

Before you conclude that the garbage can is your only polite choice, Miss Manners assures you that such small, edible tokens — we are not talking about 5-pound, heart-shaped boxes wrapped in red bows — do not quite rise to the level of serious presents. You are free to accompany the regifting with an offhand, “I can’t eat this — would you like it?”

Dear Miss Manners: In groups, my mother tends to suggest things that someone could tell the others about: “Bill and Sarah have some exciting news!” or “Bob and Laura might be making a change soon, too!”

This has led to more than one awkward moment when someone clearly did not want to talk about a situation, or else they would have mentioned it on their own. How to handle this?

Dear Gentle Reader: If you cannot restrain your mother — and Miss Manners supposes that you have tried, only to be told that shy people appreciate being prompted — you can become her co-anchor.

That would consist of saying, “We’re going to take a break now” while shooting a sympatheti­c look to her targets and beginning another subject.

Dear Miss Manners: If no one responds to your party invitation, are you required to let them know it’s been canceled?

Very often, when trying to host a gathering, I get few, if any, responses. I am beginning to lose interest in trying to provide hospitalit­y to those around me because of this.

Dear Gentle Reader: If no one responds to your invitation, you are evidently not giving a party. Any who accepted can be told that it has been postponed.

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