Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

A Christmas-present standoff

Carolyn Hax on

Dear Carolyn:

My husband has opted out of giving me anything for Christmas for the last 10 years. He puts lights up and insists on a tree. I have been using empty boxes wrapped in beautiful paper to make the scene enchanting.

This year will be the first in 25 years that I don't give him anything either. He says he won't give gifts because Christmas has become "a consumerist holiday." Never mind surprising one another or making someone happy! There has got to be a better way than a standoff.

-- Humbug

"Insists on a tree."

Shoved where, I want to ask.

But I won't, because this standoff is tetchy enough where no standoff ever belonged.

He thinks Christmas has become too commercial. Surely we can grant him that.

You think surprises are worthwhile. I hope he'd grant you that.

Concede these points to each other, and you've got the start of a productive conversation about what kind of Christmas would satisfy both his principles and your spirit.

...continued

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