Newport Manners & Etiquette: The Perfect LBD for the Holidays
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
My scrooge of a mother-in-law
My mother-in-law comes from Florida to stay with us for Christmas every year. Despite the fact that she is extremely rich, she is stingy beyond belief. The gifts she brings will include the neck pillow she bought at the airport for the flight stuffed clumsily back into the box with the price still displayed. (We now have them in a variety of colors and configurations.) Along with an assortment of second-hand gifts she's regifting to my family. How do we get her into the Christmas spirit? If she would only ask us what the kids want or need, that would be a start. G.W., Cranston
She's not your mother. Humbug, it is up to your spouse ahead of time to suggest to your mother-in-law on the phone or in an email that she would have more space in her suitcase for clothes, if she brought everyone a gift card. Remind her that gifts cards can be more easily transported in her handbag. Then you could offer to put the gift cards in colorful envelopes and hang them on the tree. Look at it this way, your family can make merry swapping gift cards or buying them off of one another. Alternatively, if they're all from a Pottery Barn, Target or Walmart, you can pool them and purchase something fun for the whole family, such as a ping pong table. ~Didi
What to do when a wedding guest doesn't send a gift
What do you do if you think someone didn't give you a wedding present? Maybe it got lost but I am sending out thank-you notes and don't want to insult anyone. R.R., Westport, MA
There is no wedding gift etiquette etched in stone. Giving comes from the heart as well as the wallet. There is nothing you can do to clue in the guest on the fact that you haven't received your wedding present, because that would be rude. Just so you know, wedding guests have a year to send a gift. There are no proper words you can say to pry that present out of them, if they're not into giving you one--just yet. If a guest cannot afford a wedding present, a heartfelt thank-you note for having attended your wedding is perfectly adequate. After all, wedding guest lists should be about friendship, not presents. I'm certainly not going to suggest that you send the naughty guest a print out of your Bed Bath & Beyond bridal registry. ~Didi
Sending plants as gifts
Is it proper etiquette to send a plant to a funeral for condolences and then inform your friend you sent the plant and would like her to take it home with her? S.M., Dorchester, MA
The friend is no doubt in deep mourning. She's hardly thinking about who sent which plant, let alone trying to remember what plant she's been instructed to take home with her. Next time, send the plant to the mourner's house, if you want to be sure she has it at home. I'm afraid you'll have to let this plant go, unless you make arrangements with the funeral parlor to have it delivered to her home afterwards. ~Didi
Wedding Dress Code the day after Christmas
I just found your forum using a Google search on What I should wear to my uncle's wedding. The wedding is the day after Christmas. I am 22-year-old and live in Virginia, I was thinking about the only black dress I have and a pair of black boots with a black semi-dressy jacket. Or do I need to wear a blouse with a black pencil skirt with a pair of flats. I wore a blouse and pencil skirt to my other uncle's wedding in October. I just don't want to wear the same thing to both weddings. Amanda, Fairfax, VA
A LBD (little black dress) is always appropriate, especially in the evening. Accessorize with faux pearls or a pop of color. A fun fashion website for young women that you should find interesting is called Olivia Palermo, at oliviapalermo.com. Even though most of the clothing is upmarket, I use it to illustrate fashion trending in for women in their twenties and thirties. You can probably find similar clothing (copies) in stores in your area. ~Didi
Do you have a question for Didi? Email it to Didi@GoLocalProv.com or visit her at NewportManners.com. If your question is used, we can withhold your name and address. Didi researches etiquette and all matters of manners for her book,"Newport Etiquette." Prior weekly GoLocalProv.com columns are listed below after a bit of a scroll. More topics can be accessed by clicking here.
Related Slideshow: 30 Ways To Give In Central Mass This Holiday Season
The Salvation Army’s traditional red kettle is an integral part of the Christmas scene, with millions of dollars donated each year to aid needy families, seniors, and the homeless. Donations provide and financial assistance provides Christmas dinners, clothing, and toys for families in need including families of prisoners. Simply make a donation wherever you see their trademark red kettle or do so online by clicking here.
Goodwill Mass accepts donations of men's, women's or children's clothing and other textiles. Some of the clothing donations are provided to our clients who may need an outfit for an interview or a one week supply of clothing for a new job. Most is sold to neighboring Goodwills, or as salvage with all revenues raised going back into programs and services for Rhode islanders.
You may drop off your old clothing at one of the many clothing donation bins throughout the state or at the drop-box located in 25 Park Avenue, Worcester.
Click here for more information.
Formed in 2002, Operation Homefront is a nonprofit organization developed to support military families. On December 14, Operation Homefront will host a “Holiday Toys for Military Kids” event in Wellesly Hills, Taunton, and Springfield from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Toys are limited and are on a first come, first serve registration process. Once your registration is complete you will receive a confirmation email. Please note that this program is for military dependent children only.
Donate non-perishable food items such as rice, beans, and canned vegetables for Thanksgiving distribution by November 21. Donate new or gently used winter clothing such as boots, hats, scarves, and coats to be distributed to ACE families during the holiday season. Donations accepted November – January.
Contact: Amy Connery (508) 799-3653
Donate new toys, games, and books for children of all ages; grocery store gift cards for holiday food baskets; gifts for teens such as movie passes, music, gaming gift cards, and personal care items; and gift cards to clothing and shoe stores to purchase gifts for children and teens. Adopt a family and provide gifts for Christmas. Call for details.
Contact: Sheryl Spafford (508) 832-5707 ext. 10
Donate holiday gifts for children ages 5 – 18 including gift cards for teens to purchase items such as movies, music, and clothing; grocery store gift cards to purchase holiday meals for families in need; and wrapping paper and supplies such as bows and cards. Adopt a family for the holidays and provide gifts. Call for details.
Contact: Liz Hamilton (508) 754-2686
Donate new toys, books, clothes, outerwear, boots, and gift cards for boys and girls ages 4 – 18; gift certificates for movies, bowling, and other activities; non-religious holiday decorations and gift-wrap; and food for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.
Contact: Anna Berin (508) 853-6988
Donate gifts for homeless children of all ages and new household items for more than 80 homeless families including sheet sets, blankets, pots and pans, dishes, silverware, and gift cards to discount and grocery stores. Gifts for teens especially needed.
Contact: Katherine Kerr (508) 791-7265
Donate winter hats and gloves and gift cards to discount stores, grocery stores, and fast food restaurants.
Contact: Brian Bickford (508) 860-1139
Donate new items for newborns and mothers in need: baby blankets, toiletries, newborn undergarments, socks, bibs, infant equipment such as car seats, new maternity clothes, and gift cards for discount and grocery stores. Donate new items for immigrants/refugees such as gloves and mittens, hats, scarves, and home first aid kits. Donate new household items for homeless families including sheet sets, blankets, cooking utensils, pots and pans, and dishes.
Contact: Georgianna Sgariglia
Donate men’s and women’s clothing in all sizes (especially XL and plus sizes) such as sweaters, sweatshirts, sweatpants, jeans, underwear, and t-shirts; toiletries such as hairbrushes, makeup, shampoo, body wash, and lotion; inexpensive male and female jewelry items such as crosses, watches, and rings; games, cards, word search books, and other small gift items.
Contact: Sandy Epstein
Donate non-perishable food for distribution to area emergency feeding programs. Drop off items Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 474 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury. Please call the office before dropping off. Please visit www.foodbank.org for more information.
Donate navy blue blazers, white button down shirts, khaki pants, belts, and dress shoes for boys in sizes from boys’ small to men’s medium; sports equipment such as baseballs, soccer balls, and related items; art supplies and music equipment such as instruments, scores, and songbooks.
Contact: Patrick Maloney
Join us for our annual “Holiday for Heroes” campaign. Assist by reviewing, categorizing, and bundling holiday cards that will be delivered to veterans in Central MA. You would need to dedicate about three hours for this one-time seasonal event in early December. Call to schedule date.
Contact: Ray Duffy (508) 595-3762
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