Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Etiquette Challenge: A Christmas card for his parents

Dear Catherine,

First let me say that I love your blog! What a wealth of information and heartwarming entertainment!

I would like to ask your advice... I want to send my boyfriend's parents, with whom I've never had a conversation, a Christmas card. I know that they regularly hear about me from my boyfriend. Do I need to introduce myself in the first paragraph of the letter? If so, should I introduce myself as "X's girlfriend?" Or is that too obvious and formal? I would appreciate your advice on how to approach this correspondence.




Thank you for your kind note and allowing us to take a stab at it with you.

As far as sending a card: Yes, if you are a couple and you and he have discussed your doing this, you can send a card.

In your opening paragraph you might write, "John has told me so much about you and I want to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy holiday." Maintain your identity but tip your hat to your relationship gently.

As far as what you call yourself, you need not call yourself anything: You are not X-'s girlfriend and in all situations in life I am no fan of labeling oneself nor allowing oneself to be labeled. You are Ashley: Gorgeous, fabulous, independent - with or without the person you date.

His parents are either are or are not aware of the nature of your commitment but that is your boyfriend's point to clarify for them; you can move on happily to the pleasant reason for which you are writing.

Just write a few short, light sentences because you have not met and therefore, you should not fill his parents in on your resume, family history, or even your plans for the weekend.

Here is one set of suggestions, with luck the readers will have additional thoughts:

- I am really looking forward to the holidays with my family, we expect a large turnout this year...
- John has shared so many great memories with me of childhood Christmases and I am hoping this year will be as perfect for your family as those he cherishes.
- With luck, we will meet one another in the new year.
- Best wishes for a Merry Christmas (what have you) and a happy new year, you are in my thoughts.

Sign off warmly but not overly familiar: "Warmly," "Best regards," and "Fondly," are pleasant and well-mannered.

Good luck, Ashley, and happy holidays to you both!

Photo credit: Psychology Today


Karena said...

Wonderful advice and anyone can use these phrases with their Holiday Wishes.

Lily Lemontree said...

Excellent response, Blushing! Very appropriate and definitely no need to address oneself as 'X's girlfriend', his parents are either aware of you or not, as you said, but it is not up to the letter writer to explain away her relationship. The Christmas greeting is just that, a chance to extend warm wishes during the holiday season, not go into too much personal detail.

Finds said...

Dear Blushing,
What a helpful reminder or pointer in the right direction. Well put and thoughtful!