I love the holidays — except for shopping for others. I hate spending money I don’t have looking for that perfect gift for everyone on my list. More often than not, the gift ends up being regifted or in the summer garage sale. For the past two years, I have asked that if people want to give gifts, to please give them to the kids and leave us adults out of it. My requests have been ignored.
I know for a fact that my extended family is as strapped for cash as I am, but they charge on credit cards. Should I refuse a gift I can’t reciprocate or thank them and try not to feel guilty? The name-exchange option didn’t work. I feel there should be more to the holidays than going into debt for gifts.
Ma Humbug in Oregon
Dear Ma Humbug: I agree with you, and so would credit counselors coast to coast. Thank your relatives for their gifts. Reiterate that money is tight, so you will be giving gifts to the youngest family members only. If you feel you must reciprocate in some way, whip up a batch of holiday cookies or fudge brownies, wrap them with a colorful ribbon and make that your holiday gift.
Dear Abby: My husband and I have been married for six years. Before I met him, I was with a woman. I don’t want my husband to find out about it because I’m afraid it will turn him on and he’ll want to have threesomes. (He enjoys looking at lesbian porn.)
Should I feel this way about telling him?
Wants my Past in the Past
Dear Wants Your Past in the Past: If you think there is a chance that your husband will find out, then the person he should hear it from is you. And if he suggests having a threesome, tell him that you are happy as things are and you prefer to remain monogamous.
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.