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Dear Abby 6/30

Daughter's surprise party yields unexpected gifts

    DEAR ABBY: My 13-year-old daughter, "Laurel," was given a surprise party (friends, snacks, movie — nothing big, but a very nice gesture) in celebration of her no longer needing crutches. (Laurel had had surgery and had been on crutches for six weeks.)
    At the end of the night, the host's mother handed Laurel a few gifts that friends had left for her. The cards indicated that they thought this was a birthday party. The gifts were substantial — a Coach wristlet, $25 gift cards, etc. Her surprise party had been organized by her friend, also a 13-year-old, but apparently he failed to tell everyone who was invited that it wasn't a birthday party and there was no need for gifts.
    What should Laurel do with the gifts? This is very awkward, and I'm not sure how to handle it. What is the procedure for receiving gifts for the wrong reason?
    Laurel received gifts from three of the 15 guests; the party was last night and my daughter must respond to the situation ASAP — whether it be with a thank-you note, a phone call, etc. Please help us. — LAUREL'S MOM IN N.J.
    DEAR LAUREL'S MOM: Your daughter should call the friends who gave her gifts thinking it was her birthday and thank them, but she should also offer to return the items because it wasn't her birthday and the party was not a gift-giving occasion. It's possible that Laurel will be told to just keep them, in which case a thank-you note would be in order. She should also write a gracious thank-you note to the friend who threw her the party.
    DEAR ABBY: I am being married in three months. Now I am wondering what the process is for letting friends and family know where we are registered. I read somewhere that it is not appropriate to include this information on the invitation. Is this true? — POLLY IN POCATELLO, IDAHO
    DEAR POLLY: Yes, it's true. And you probably read it in my column. This is how the information should properly be shared:
    1. The invitations are sent out.
    2. When the RSVP cards are returned, those who plan on attending should contact you or your fiance and ask where you are registered.
    3. At that time, the information should be transmitted verbally.
    4. Because many couples set up Web pages with all the information about the wedding — including where they are registered — prospective guests can be referred to the Web page.

    DEAR ABBY: I am recently separated from my husband of nine years, "Carl." We live in a small suburb, and are both very involved in our community. Several of our mutual friends have taken it upon themselves to give me a running commentary on what Carl is doing, where they saw him, who he was with, etc. I am sure they do the same to him.
    Abby, I really have no desire to get daily updates on Carl or his whereabouts. How can I politely let our friends know I'd rather not hear their stories? — HAD IT IN HUMBLE, TEXAS
    DEAR HAD IT: The next time someone brings up the subject of your soon-to-be-ex, say, "Stop! That is a closed chapter, and I'd prefer not to hear any more information about Carl and what he's up to." If they are true friends, they will respect your wishes.

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