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Dear Annie: Birthday wish is for RSVPs

Dear Annie: Please remind your readers how important it is to RSVP. My 6-year-old granddaughter was so excited about her birthday party and having her friends come over. My daughter sent invitations with instructions to RSVP. My granddaughter’s best friend’s mom said she would come but would need to leave early. Fine.

Then, 30 minutes before the party, she texted my daughter saying they wouldn’t be coming. My granddaughter cried and cried. Four other friends’ parents didn’t even bother to RSVP and didn’t come either. Don’t these people know how hurtful this is to the little ones? Two friends did come to the party, but a day that was supposed to be so happy was a day of tears. — Upset Grandma

Dear Upset Grandma: I will remind readers about the importance of RSVPs for birthday parties — if you will remind your granddaughter how many people love her. Instead of focusing on those who did not come, point out to her who did come to enjoy her party and celebrate her special day. Your granddaughter had a birthday surrounded by two friends, as well as a loving and caring grandma. Sadly, life is filled with people canceling on plans at the last minute, and we can’t control that. What we can control is how we respond to it, and how we respond to our own invitation requests.

Dear Annie: Periodically, I see in your column the issue of Christmas gift-giving in families with grown children, and even grandchildren, who are now married or on their own. We had gotten to the point of giving a gift card, and then receiving a gift card back from them. It seemed so silly to wrack my brain trying to think of a gift when so often it seemed it was just a habit from years gone by. No one seems to really need or want anything these days. Christmas gift-giving had gotten to be a headache and a chore.

I heard of this idea from a friend, and I wanted to pass it along as a possible solution to this dilemma:

Their family decided upon a charity that they wished to support that year. Family members who were able to come to the Christmas gathering brought cash or a check to add to the “pot.” Those unable to attend could mail a check to the designated family “collector.” No one was obligated to give or told how much to give.

After a certain date, say, the first of the new year, the designated collector deposited all the money collected and sent a check to the chosen charity. Sometime after the holiday, the collector emailed the family members to let them know the amount they had donated. You could go alphabetically or by age in choosing the charity for the next Christmas. Then, when Christmas rolled around the next year, they were all prepared to support another good cause.

All this idea would take is one person — or several, if you wanted to trade off — to get everyone’s email addresses, and then send out a reminder as the holidays come closer each year.

This alleviates the chore of thinking what to get for a growing number of people in the family. It also gives them the opportunity to make a difference by contributing to various charities over the years.

Just a suggestion that may help families to overcome the continual question: “What do I get them all for Christmas?” — Lyn from The Villages, Fla.

Dear Lyn: This idea certainly does embrace the Christmas spirit of bringing joy to the lives of others. Thank you for your suggestion.

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