Dear Ann Cannon • We have been blessed with friends (as well as ourselves) who have homes and second residences in places that are fun to visit, and we all enjoy spending time with each other. My problem: How do I say thank you after enjoying our friends’ generosity? None of them needs anything, so I don’t want to go overboard with an expensive gift, but I don’t want to be cheap either.

In the past, we have always insisted on taking our hosts out to a wonderful breakfast or brunch during our stay or picking up the tab for a nice dinner. We have thanked them with a box of very nice cards or monogrammed stationery, as well. All of us enjoy each other’s company and I know when they visit us in our place, we don’t really have expectations from our guests other than that they clean up behind themselves, which we also do before we depart from their residences.

The cost of traveling and just staying with friends and family and not having to pay for housing saves one hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, so doing something nice is a must. I know a well-written thank you note goes along way. Please advise about appropriate responses.

Curious About How to Say Thank You

Dear Curious • There are some people in this world who are just natural-born “takers.” Most of us, however, believe that it is better to give than to receive ... which makes it complicated, at times, to be on the receiving end, right? Your desire to appropriately recognize your friends’ generosity speaks to this issue.

Let me just say that I think you’ve already done a good job of solving your problem. All the things you mention — treating your hosts to dinner, inviting them to stay at your place, leaving behind a token thank you gift — are thoughtful and acceptable ways to say thanks. And yes. I am a big fan of the handwritten thank you note. The important thing is to acknowledge the kindness and consideration that others have shown you.

Carry on, is what I’m saying!

Meanwhile, I loved, loved, loved the wisdom and good will exhibited in this letter from one of our Tribune readers.

Dear Ann Cannon • I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of weeks and since it’s still on my mind, I thought I would send you my thoughts. I read the question you received from a woman who was concerned about traveling with her mother who had a very different worldview than she did. Let me tell you about my experience.

Last February I traveled for 10 days to Italy with my mother. I am 60, she is 84. I am liberal (very), she is Trump-y and Fox News-y (very). She is LDS and I am lapsed. The focus of the trip was a visit to the new LDS temple in Rome. I have never traveled with my mother as an adult. What could possibly go wrong?

Honestly, very little went wrong and we’re both glad we could do this together. It wasn’t always easy. But, we didn’t impose our views on each other: I respected her religious point of view; she respected my need for good Italian coffee; she didn’t try to bring me back into the LDS fold; and we left politics off the table or at least we didn’t sneer or snort at each other when sharing opinions.

I still remember a conversation with a woman on the trip who told me that she was 32 when she lost her mother. “I would have given anything to be able to take a trip like this with my mother,” she said. Your reader should think about that when she considers traveling with her “very different” mother.

Ann Cannon is The Tribune’s advice columnist. Got a question for Ann? Email her at or visit the Ask Ann Cannon page on Facebook.