Q: Guests brought a giant wall hanging for your house. They love it; you hate it. How do you tell them this isn’t going to work for your home?
A: In this situation, your guests are at the top of the hierarchy when it comes to how you lend courtesy, which is an awareness of how your words, actions and behaviors affect those around you.
Thank your guests for their generosity, and for thinking of you and your family. While your guests are still visiting your house, display it proudly — hiding it would be discourteous, and your guests are the most important people in your life when they’re visiting. Once the guests leave, you can decide what to do with it.
Instead of sticking it in the attic, one compromise is to see if you can find a relatively inconspicuous place for it. Before you make a decision on putting it away or keeping it out, factor in the gift’s decorative quality and your relationship with the gift giver — the gift represents both. If you still decide to remove it from display, go ahead. Bring it out at special times to most fully appreciate its deeper meaning.
If the guests return and ask about it, say that the decoration has special meaning because of your friendship but that it’s a bit inconsistent with your decorative theme.
ROBERT A. SHUTT, etiquette educator
A: For the givers: Never ask if the recipient is using and enjoying the gift. Let it be.
For the recipients: Graciously accept the gift and move on. You do not have to hang it up if you don’t want to.
Whatever you decide to do with it, remember the thought behind the gift. The givers took the time to pick out something they thought you would enjoy. So be sure to write a thank you note. This is where you can focus your thoughts and gratitude: on the guest’s action and intentions.
LISA RICHEY, manners and etiquette expert