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Newport Manners & Etiquette: Same-Sex Etiquette for the Holidays

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

 

Unless the dress code is "Holiday Ugly Sweater" stick to "Cocktail Attire."

From a bad mannered dad who gambled away his kids' Christmas present money, to same-sex married couples figuring out the new etiquette, as well as what to wear when you don't have "Cocktail Attire." All questions to Didi Lorillard at NewportManners.com this week.

Dad Gambled Away Santa's Presents

Dear Didi,

My husband lost our Christmas present money gambling. He said he was just going to play a few slot machines, but he got hooked into losing all our money for presents at the tables. This isn't the first time this has happened. Do you think I can ask his mom and dad to loan or give me money to buy our children (their grandchildren) Christmas presents, or would that be impolite? My parents would be horrified, so I can't ask them for help. A.T., Pawtucket

Dear A.T.,

What's not polite, nor smart, is your husband using his children's Christmas present money for his own amusement. Families—and especially in-laws—can be tricky. Since this isn't the first time your husband recklessly squandered money gambling, he should go to his parents to discuss his problem—but only after figuring out his options for getting longterm gambling addiction treatment. If he convinces them he's ready to stop gambling, maybe out of the goodness of their hearts they'll loan or give you money to buy your children gifts. But remember, he won't be able to go back to them again with the same sad story. Before he asks them, he needs to have a viable plan for coping with his gambling addiction. ~Didi

Holiday Etiquette for Same-Sex Marriage

Dear Didi,

My same-sex partner and I have been together for over twenty years and were finally able to wed last month (on 11/12/13 at 10:00 AM). As secure as we are in our relationship, we're unsure as to how to spread our good news to our wide circle of friends. We can't host a reception because we know too many people and inevitably someone would be left out. How can we get the word out? Since we've been together for so long we don't need anything for the house. However, we want to be treated on invitations as a married couple. You invite one of us to your holiday party, you get both of us. It's awkward calling someone up to RSVP, who only invited me, to ask if my husband can come. And yet, I can't just bring him along without asking the host, can I? B.M., Providence

Dear B.M.,

As soon as possible, send out an email blast or a paperlesspost.com message that is 'an announcement' of your recent marriage. Some companies will send you additional paper announcements to stamp and mail to those whose email addresses you don't have. Be sure you send one to all those who have sent you holiday event invites and e-evites. You'll have a positive response from those who text or call to congratulate you. As your partner should now be treated as your husband, you can safely assume that when you RSVP for two, it won't be a big deal. When in doubt, text or call to tell the host the good news and that you would like to bring your husband. Should someone ask where you're registered, and they will, register online immediately at your fav non-profit, whose name and address can be included on your 'announcement.' ~Didi

Taking It Down A Notch When the Holiday Invitation Says "Cocktail Attire"

Dear Didi

My husband and I have been invited to a Holiday Party at the home of social acquaintances. The party is at 6:30pm for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, not a dinner party. The dress code is "Cocktail Attire"

Here is the problem, we are retired now and no longer own the proper cocktail attire. Ten years ago when in business that was a different story. Since then, we have downsized and taken on a very casual lifestyle. Should I decline on the basis of not owning the proper dress or accept and wear casual slacks and a shirt? Thank you. M.S., Narragansett

Dear M.S.,

Don't you dare regret a Holiday party because your clothing isn't dressy enough. "Cocktail Attire" is not so much about the dressiness of the clothing as the quality of the outfit. By specifying the dress code "Cocktail Attire" on the invitation the hosts are hoping men will wear jackets. Also, it says more about what they don't want you to wear: jeans, shorts, baseball caps, sandals, sneakers, cargo pants, t-shirts, sweatshirts and sweat pants; in other words no gym clothes. If your husband doesn't wear a collared shirt with a tie any longer, how about a turtleneck with a jacket and nice trousers. You can wear your best fitting slacks and a pretty blouse or sweater; that's not too casual. A little festiveness is fine, but dress conservatively tone on tone; for instance your cardigan sweater would be a shade lighter or darker than your slacks. When you're feeling insecure about your clothing, forget about attention-grabbing bright colors or, say, a Christmas sweater or pin—although everyone smiles at the prerequisite Christmas tie. ~Didi

New wife doesn't have to attend husband's former girlfriend's funeral

Dear Didi

My 2nd husband and i have been married 4 years. His ex-girlfriend's daughter married his nephew. The ex-girlfriend's mother just passed away and the funeral is next week. They did not have a good break-up, and, no, it was not me who broke them up.

I told my husband that he should attend the funeral, but that it wasn't my place as the new wife to attend, as this is their moment and I don't need to be seen there.

Am I wrong? B.B., Location withheld

Dear B.B.,

Neither of you have to go to the funeral. It is hypocritical to attend the funeral of someone you didn't really know or even like. So why go? You certainly don't have to attend your husband's nephew's wife's grandmother's funeral, unless you want to. If your husband goes in support of his nephew's wife that's one thing, but you're absolutely right: you don't need to be seen there. You don't want be a part of the drama. ~Didi

 

Do you have a question for Didi? Email it to Didi@GoLocalProv.com or visit her at NewportManners.com. We can withhold your name and location. Didi researches etiquette and all matters of manners for her book,"Newport Etiquette." Previous weekly GoLocalProv.com columns can be found by typing in Didi Lorillard in the above lefthand search.

 

Related Slideshow: 30 Ways to Give This Holiday Season

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RI Food Bank

The need for food assistance in Rhode Island remains at record high levels. Every month, the Food Bank's network of food pantries and meal sites is serving more than 68,000 people. One in three served is a child under the age of 18. This holiday season, the Food Bank is looking to collect 350,000 pounds of food between November 1 and December 31. Here’s how you can help the Food Bank achieve this goal:

  • Drop off donations of non-perishable food any weekday (excluding holidays) between 8 am and 5 pm at the Food Bank, 200 Niantic Avenue, Providence.
  • Organize your own food drive in your neighborhood, school, business or organization. We can provide posters and collection bins. For helpful tips, click here.
  • Make a financial donation to our Holiday Meal Drive by clicking here. Every dollar you gives enables us to acquire three pounds of healthy food for a family in need.
  • Visit the Food Bank's Kids' Page and learn more about how young people can make a difference.
  • Attend our Holiday Meal Drive Open House on Saturday, Dec. 7.

 

Click here for more details about the Holiday Meal Drive.

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Crossroads RI

The largest homeless services organization in Rhode Island, Crossroads has become much more than a place for the homeless to sleep. Crossroads currently offers various programs to help individuals and families tackle both immediate and long-term needs.

With that in mind, Crossroads is looking to help those in need this holiday season by encourage donor to contribute to its 2013 Holiday Gift Catalog. By donating to Crossroads, you can ensure that the state’s homeless population has the holiday that they deserve.

Click here to make a donation.

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Operation Homefront

Formed in 2002, Operation Homefront is a nonprofit organization developed to support military families. On December 15, Operation Homefront will host a “Holiday Toys for Military Kids” event in Warwick 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.

Click here for more details.

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Coats for Kids

From now until January 11, you can donate your gently-used winter coat in order to help keep a child warm this winter. Over the past 18 years, the Coats for Kids program has collected more than 800,000 adult and children’s coats—all of which have been cleaned at no charge by Anton’s Cleaners.

“The goal of Coats for Kids is to make certain that the strong demand for warm coats is matched by the even stronger generosity of our neighbors throughout the region,” says Charles A. Anton, CEO of Anton’s Cleaners.

Those looking to make a donation can visit Jordan’s Furniture in Warwick. Click here for more information.

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Toys for Tots

Beginning in October, the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys each year, and distributes those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. If you wish to donate a toy simply drop it off at the Reserve Training Center, 1 Narragansett Street in Providence. Donations must be made prior to December 12.

Click here for more information.

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Spirit of Giving Drive

Each year, Children’s Friend “Spirit of Giving Holiday Drive” provides clothing and toys to make the winter holidays a special time for Rhode Island’s most vulnerable families. With your help, Children’s Friend hopes to help 1,200 of Rhode Island’s families this holiday season, the biggest goal ever. To participate, please visit holidaydrive@cfsri.org, call the Spirit of Giving Holiday line at 401-276-4346, or email: holidaydrive@cfsri.org.

This year’s drive is in memory of Joseph Silva, who was a dedicated Holiday Drive organizer and volunteer.

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Salvation Army

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.

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Operation Holiday Cheer

Show a Rhode Island resident serving overseas in the U.S. Military that you care by donating to the Rhode Island Red Cross’ Operation Holiday Cheer fund. You can support the project by making a donation to cover the costs of sending care packages to members of the military by clicking here. Under "Multiply Your Impact," type OPERATION HOLIDAY CHEER in the blank box under "In Honor Of."

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Hasbro Hospital

Would you like to help a child in need this holiday season? Consider making a donation to the Child Life Holiday Fund at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Hasbro uses these donations to provide gifts and activities for patients during the holiday season. To donate online, be sure type in "Child Life Holiday Fund" in the "Comments" section when making a donation on their online form.

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Big Brothers Big Sisters

Help a child this holiday by making a contribution to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State's Donation Center. Simply donate gently used clothing and small household items to generate revenue to support the program’s mentoring programs for children facing adversity.

Click here for more information and to find your closest donation center.

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Family Service of RI

Family Service of RI (and its AIDS Project RI division) gratefully accepts donations of gift cards for food, clothing and other material to help needy clients all year round, and the holiday season is no exception. If you're interested in making an in-kind donation, please email

hugst@familyserviceri.org or call 401-519-2274.

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Miriam Hospital

Donating money to help those in need never tasted so good. From now through December you can head over to Miriam Hospital in Providence to purchase a deluxe gingerbread man or woman kit courtesy of Gracie's restaurant and Elle's Bakery. Gingerbread kits are $8 and all the proceeds will go to benefiting families in need. Click here for more information. 

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Amos House

Donations to Amos House provide direct services to the hungry, homeless, unemployed and uninsured. Here's what your donation can do this holiday season:

  • $75 provides prescription assistance for a person with a medical need
  • $100 provides meals for 50 hungry men, women and children
  • $200 buys 10 nights of safe, supportive housing for a homeless person
  • $1,000 equals a month of support for a homeless mother and her children
  • $4,000 enables job training that leads to employment and national certification for an adult seeking to increase her skill level and overcome a cycle of poverty and unemployment

 

Click here if you wish to make a donation.

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RIPTA Toy Drive

On Friday, December 6th bring a new unwrapped toy to the Providence Bruins Game at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The game begins at 7pm and RIPTA will start collecting toys at 3PM. There will be a large bin in the lobby that needs your help. RIPTA's goal is to fill a bus full of toys.

Attendees can meet the Providence Bruins mascot Samboni and the WBRU Crew. You can also enter to win t-shirts, tickets to see Kings of Leon, and win a VIP P Bruins experience. The first 100 people get a free lunch card from the Public Kitchen & Bar.

Click here for more information.

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Hyundai Toy Drive

Help local children in need by dropping off toy donations at Pride Hyundai of Seekonk (11 Taunton Ave. in Seekonk) any time up until December 14, 2013. All donations will be delivered to Toys for TotsLite Rock 105 and 92 PRO FM will be on hand to celebrate the festivities offering donors the chance to win a variety of prizes including concert tickets. 

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Goodwill

Goodwill Rhode Island 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 Goodwill’s, 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 our many clothing donation bins throughout the state or at the drop-box located in front of our building located at 100 Houghton Street, Providence, RI.

Click here for more information.

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Dam Good Toy Drive

Would you like to make a child’s day by giving them a new toy, as well as laugh a little? Well you’re in luck because the Comedy Connection is hosting the third annual Dam Good Toy Drive on Thursday, December 5 at 8 p.m. The event features comedians Bad Lad, Cory Guglietti, Sam Jay and Mike Murray. Admission is free if you bring a toy. Tickets are $10 without a toy donation. This is an 18+ show.

Click here for more information.

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EG Toy Drive

On Saturday, December 7th the Plenty of Singles Dance Party group will host a toy drive at the American Legion Post 15 in East Greenwich. The event will feature face painting, karaoke, pictures with Santa, arts and crafts, and balloon creations.  Additionally, the group will be collecting new toys for Toys for Tots. The children event runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Click here for more information.

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United Way of RI

In the spirit of the season, the United Way of Rhode Island’s Women’s Leadership Council and Young Leaders Circle have teamed up with United Way funded agency, Connecting for Children and Families (CCF) in Woonsocket. Each year, CCF hosts a holiday party for children in their programs and their families. For many of these families, it is their only holiday celebration.

The party will be held on Wednesday, December 11 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kevin K. Coleman Elementary School.

The YLC will be collecting new winter accessories as gifts for the children at the event. Items include: hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, socks, boots, and shoes. Click here to download the flyer.

Photo: Flickr/paparutzi

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Gateway Healthcare

As part of the Light of Hope campaign each year, Gateway Healthcare of Rhode Island collects new and unwrapped items to provide their clients with holiday celebrations.

Gateway Healthcare is a non-profit behavioral health care organization that provides a wide array of services to adults, children and families in the Ocean State.

Click here to read Gateway’s full holiday wish list.

Photo: Flickr/BenSpark

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Foster Forward

Foster Forward, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting children, young adults, and families whose lives have been impacted by foster care, is currently hosting the “DCYF Holiday Gifts for Teens.” As part of the event, Group homes and foster parents contact Foster Forward to be matched with a sponsor. Once matched with a teen, sponsors are asked to spend about $75 for each child sponsored.

Click here to find out more information and to see how you can become involved.

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Junior League of RI

Starting on November 29, 2013 at 6 a.m., The Junior League of Rhode Island, Inc. will launch its annual holiday auction; one of its major fundraisers of the year. There are many ways you can support this effort. You can contribute items, experiences or gift cards such as restaurant, store, or generics for bidding. you can donate money and Junior League will do the shopping for you.

Click here for more information.

Photo: Flickr/Aine D

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ACOS Toy Drive

Help make this holiday season brighter for the children of Aids Care Ocean State by participating in Michael Slade’s Birthday Toy Drive. Just bring an unwrapped toy or Target Gift card to The Stable, 125 Washington St, Providence, RI 02903 on December 8th 2013 between 12 PM - 8 PM. Your donated toys, clothing and books will be delivered to ACOS families and their children for the holidays! Enjoy food, music and knowing you’re a part of a good cause.

Click here for more information.

Photo: Flickr/alliecreative

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Dark Lady Toy Drive

The Dark Lady, The Alley Cat and AIDS Care Ocean State will present its 11th Annual Toy Drive on Sunday, December 15 from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Dark Lady in Providence. Attendees are asked to bring an unwrapped toy of Target gift card for children of ACOS.

Click here for more information.

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North Prov. Rotary Club

The Rotary Club of North Providence is collecting wrapped or unwrapped toys for the North Providence Police Department Toy Drive till December 10th. Donations of new toys can be dropped off at Sicilias Restaurant starting after 6pm November 26th until December 10th. Donations may also be dropped off at the North Providence Police Station.

Click here for more information.

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School Cmte. Toy Drive

North Providence School Committee members, Steven Andreozzi and Stephen Palmieri, are currently running a toy drive to benefit children of District 3, which they represent. The board members are looking for new unwrapped toys for children ages 5-12. Toys can be dropped off at D. Palmieri's Bakery in Johnston, or at the upcoming toy drive event planned for Dec. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lymansville VFW Post.

For more information, call Joanne Andreozzi at 401-231-3069 or email smandreozzi@gmail.com. Palmieri can be reached at 401-378-4787 or by email at spalmierinorthprovschools.org.

Photo: Flickr/Lars Plougmann

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Jonnycake Center

The Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale has begun collecting food and other items for its annual holiday program. All holiday programs are being run by members of Teen Jonnycake, our youth volunteer service program.

Donations needed: Gravy mix, stuffing, cranberry sauce, canned vegetables, canned yams, canned pineapple, quick bread mix, pie crust mix, evaporated milk, canned pumpkin, and canned pie filling.

Click here for more information.

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NK Holiday Giving Program

The town of North Kingstown’s Holiday Giving Program focuses on providing gifts for children in families experiencing hardship and is unable to provide the gifts themselves. Families must meet certain eligibility guidelines and an in-person interview is required.

As part of the program, individuals, families and local businesses anonymously “adopt” families in need. Donors will receive only age and gender appropriate “wish lists” from the adopted families.

For more information call 401- 268-1579 or click here.

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RI CAN

The Rhode Island Center Assisting Those in Need, who provides food for the hungry, will offer nutritious holiday meals as well as Santa’s Workshop this holiday season.

In 2012, RI CAN distributed 17,901 bags of food and 4,264 bags of personal supplies to 883 households with 5,905 visits to our emergency food pantry alone–which equates to serving a total of 20,273 people annually.

For more information call (401) 364-9412 or click here.

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Cardi's Furniture

The 2013 US Marines Toys for Tots Drive is going on now through December 23 at All Cardi's Furniture locations. Bring in a new, unwrapped gift to any Cardi's Furniture and they will get it to the Marines and other local agencies for immediate distriubution to children in the Rhode Island area.

Click here for more information.

 
 

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