, Salem, MA


November 12, 2012

Grandparents prepare a home for twins they've never met


How do I break it to them that I am burned out? I would just like to go out to eat and see a movie. Please help.

Exhausted Hostess

Dear Exhausted: Ten days before Thanksgiving is a little late to cancel what has become an annual celebration. However, it would be the perfect time to announce that after 20 years of hosting the gathering, you are burned out. Therefore, those who have enough room should share the responsibility and alternate with you, or all of you should make your own arrangements.

Dear Abby: A few years ago, my husband and I decided that when our nieces and nephews turned 18 we would stop giving Christmas gifts. That decision has worked out fine

until my husband’s nieces and nephews began turning 18. Now it has become an issue with his side of the family, particularly his mother. She has made it clear through emails that we “have” to buy them gifts.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to start a war over gift-giving, but on the other hand, if we buy for his family, we have to buy for mine. We don’t have a lot of disposable income. Please help us find a way to get through this.

Grinched In Las Vegas

Dear Grinched: Emails are a wonderful form of communication, but when it comes to a discussion that involves emotion, it’s time to use the old-fashioned telephone. You and your husband must call his mother and explain that buying gifts for the nieces and nephews on both sides of the family has become too much for you, which is why you have drawn the line at age 18. The “kids” are old enough to understand the gifts don’t come from Santa. And so, for that matter, is your mother-in-law. Shame on her for pressuring you.


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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