Etiquette at its finest

Since Elise and I have been married, I have written an annual Christmas newsletter every year. I like to create something clever and witty that recounts the events of the past year. This year December snuck up on me and due mainly to work, haven’t been in the cleverest state of mind. I stayed up late one night and poured my heart and soul into a newsletter that turned out to be as funny as a eulogy given by Bob Saget.

So my loving wife stepped up and wrote a Christmas newsletter that later turned out to be a collaberative effort. I took the few funny parts from my newsletter and incorporated them into what Elise had written.

What kind of collaberative newsletter wouldn’t be without a signature dilema? When Elise wrote her newletter, she signed it:


Elise and Josh Janicek

Now, I grew up in the south where we say things like “Sir”, “Ma’am”, “fixin'” and “y’all”. All of these being terms of endearment and respect. Elise grew up in the midwest where they say things like “pop”, “caucus” and “snow plow”.

I’ve always assumed that it was proper for the husband’s name to appear first on any correspondence signature. Elise says it doesn’t matter – whoever wrote the letter signs his or her name first. This has been an ongoing debate.

To settle this argument, I consulted the Etiquette Queen.

This data was submitted on: 12/14/04 00:01:41

Subject: Party411 Etiquette Queen Question
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2004 00:01:41 -0500 (EST)
To: [email protected]

Name = Josh
Area_Code = 512
Phone = 123-4567
E-Mail =
Comments = By traditional standards, what is the proper way to sign a letter from a married couple? Is it Dick and Jane? Or if Jane wrote the letter, does she sign her name first?
Where_Heard = Search engine
Notify_Me =

[email protected] wrote:

First decide who the letter is really from, you, you and spouse, etc. Then decide how formal you want to be. I always sign mine with my first name. If it is from both of us, I would use both first names. The return address will have the last name.

Josh wrote:

I’m still confused. Case-in-point, my wife is writing a Christmas newsletter for our friends and relatives. Should the newsletter be signed:


Dick and Jane Smith (is this the formal/traditional format?)



Jane and Dick Smith (because she wrote the newsletter?)

[email protected] wrote:

Yes, it should be.

Josh wrote:

Which one is it?

[email protected] wrote:

For once and for all, it doesn’t matter. Whichever way you prefer.

Josh wrote:

Gee, thanks. Etiquette at its finest…

So that hasn’t settled the debate. Whichever way I prefer, or whichever way my wife prefers?

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