DEAR STEEL ADVICE: We just bought a new home, and we'd like to invite our family over to see it, but so many of them don't get along anymore. How do we avoid the inter-family drama? Also, what's a polite way to say we don't want a housewarming gift?
-- JUST MOVED
DEAR JUST MOVED: Keep your referee whistle and striped shirt in a packing box. Entertaining in your new home is a reason to celebrate not umpire. It is not mandatory to invite your entire family at one time to a housewarming party. If you sense some relatives will use your new home as a stage to further their own agenda, you can invite them to visit at separate times. Tranquil vibes and a nice party are destroyed if guests arrive bearing grudges, itching for a fight or trying to reopen old wounds. Make your invitation list selective, and the guests will feel special and comfortable in each other's company.
Mention when you invite people that you have two or more of everything you will ever want or need, so please -- no gifts. Be gracious however, when some of the guests do arrive with presents; thank them and put the gifts in a spare room to be opened after the party.
DEAR STEEL ADVICE: What is the etiquette for inviting people from work to a wedding, a birthday party or a housewarming party?
DEAR WONDERING: Guest lists for celebrations include work colleagues. Invitation decisions are determined by the level of friendship as well as the event's budget. At large weddings the parents of the couple often invite their own co-workers and associates. Smaller weddings usually limit the guest list to family and close friends of the bride and groom. Colleagues attending a co-worker's wedding should use discretion when talking about the wedding at the office.
Birthday parties are a great excuse to bring friends together. The family party and the work party can be separate events. If the work birthday party is large, the venue can be moved to a restaurant so everyone is included. Parties are important because cherished memories comfort when navigating life's darker times.
Need some Steel Advice? Email questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Mary Ann Wellener, Steel Advice Column, c/o Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Follow Mary Ann on Twitter at @PGSteelAdvice. First Published July 30, 2013 4:00 AM