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oh dear.

Dear Amy: My wife's brother and sister-in-law invited us to spend a fun weekend at their family beach house earlier in the month to tour the pretty Christmas-decorated attractions in the town. We had a wonderful time.

Tickets for the tour were $25 each, purchased ahead of time by her sister-in-law. When the time came to leave on Sunday afternoon, my wife took $50 and stuffed the bills in the front of her sister-in-law's blouse, after she was told no thank you in no uncertain terms.

I considered this action to be terribly rude and mentioned in the car after we left that I hoped they were not too offended by her actions. (We had picked up the dinner tab Saturday night.)

This couple visited us last summer and we went to a baseball game. They wanted to pay for the tickets, but I said, "No, it's our treat, we're really glad you could come." They thanked us sincerely and left it at that. I think it is all part of graciously accepting hospitality.

I'm afraid that from now on, any time we want to host them and do some fun activity that might cost money, they might think they have to compensate us. I do not want that to happen; we just thoroughly enjoy their company.

Amy, what are your thoughts about the etiquette for this type of situation?

— Etiquette Stretched

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Re: oh dear.

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