I think she has an addiction. She has stolen from me the joy of buying baby clothes for my children. My Christmas tree is decked with all the ornaments from my husband’s youth, and a massive dusty doll collection is coming our way.
Although my husband himself struggles with buying and collecting stuff, he agrees with me that less is better for our family. I would like to keep things simple, but it’s impossible with my in-laws.
:Overloaded in Minnesota
:Dear Overloaded: People make purchases beyond that which is needed for various reasons. Sometimes it’s an attempt to buy love. Other times, it can be to ease anxiety or depression.
If you don’t draw the line and make your wishes clear, your mother-in-law will not stop what she’s doing. Explain that you are grateful for her generosity, but your house is FULL, and therefore one or two gifts per child is all you will accept. Period.
Leave some of the Christmas decorations in storage next December so there will be room on your tree for some of your own. And when the doll collection is delivered, if your girls can’t use it, consider selling or donating it.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.