Social Etiquette and Good Manners/Declining a Christmas gift


My son has been dating a gal (Brenda) for 6 years.  They both live 2500 Kim's away from me.  I have met my son's girlfriend once in 2011.

This Xmas my son flew out to visit my husband and me.  He brought along a gift from his girlfriend to us and also presented us with a $100 gift voucher from Brenda's mother.

We have never met the mother and do not want the gift card.  Can we return it to her with a kind note.  We don't know how to ask my son's girlfriend to stop buying us gifts either.  As mentioned my son is dating, not living with Brenda.

Please help!

Dear Lana,
I can understand your reticence, but encourage you to reconsider your thoughts. Relationships can be complicated emotionally and mentally and as long as we consider the intentions of bearer of gifts to be appropriate, showing gratitude is the best route to take. You are not obliged to return the favor with a gift in kind, but a hand written thank you note is in order. If you don't want or cannot use the gift certificate, regift to someone who can. I am not suggesting that this is going to be comfortable for you initially, but it is the right things to do, and will grow on you. I hope this helps, Jay

Social Etiquette and Good Manners

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Jay Remer


I am happy to answer any questions about social or corporate etiquette as well as questions regarding international protocol. It is important to practice civility. It is contagious.


I am certified by the Protocol School of Washington as a consultant for corporate etiquette and international protocol. I have been entertaining and giving advise on entertaining for over 40 years.

Weekly column in Telegraph Journal

Graduate of Protocol School of Washington

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