DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have hosted a Christmas morning brunch for friends and family for the last 15 years or so. It is my gift back to friends and family for all their support and friendships.

Most guests bring a small hostess gift such as a bottle of wine or a candle. This year, a longtime participant/guest left an envelope with cash, and not an insignificant amount.

I am in a quandary as to how to respond, as I feel that cash is not an appropriate hostess gift. Frankly, it makes me uncomfortable.

One thought is giving the money to a charity and letting the guest know I have done so in their name. I would add that the pleasure of their company is all I require for brunch. Suggestions?

GENTLE READER: Money is so often substituted for presents these days that your guest may not realize how insulting it is to treat your hospitality as a commercial venture. Nevertheless, you should not accept this premise.


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