Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Holiday cheer held hostage

Carolyn Hax on

What if you bring your show to someone who will appreciate it? Senior center, homeless shelter, battered women's shelter, community center or high-need elementary school, VA hospital. Imagine seeing the faces of people who want what you have to give. That's what it's about.

Your husband would be guilt-free, right, since he wouldn't be stopping you?

I'm sorry your husband won't just enjoy the show or leave the theater. It's OK for you to make up his mind for him, though, and find a reciprocal Christmas somewhere.

Dear Carolyn:

I am meeting part of my family for an early Christmas celebration. Five days out, my cousin emails everyone to say she will only be giving a present to her mom and our grandparents. She is skipping our aunt, my mom and me. That is the entire party.

We gave each other small inexpensive gifts last year. I don't know whether they are tight on money or time, or if there is a more selfish reason.

I would be very happy with a card. It also hurts my feelings because I put a lot of thought into her gift and it is already wrapped.

Do I not give it to her, or ignore the email and give it to her because IT IS ALREADY WRAPPED!? I don't want to create an awkward situation or come off as passive-aggressive. It is a gift I know will make her laugh, but now it feels weird.

 

-- Hurt

Generally -- very generally -- reasons to suspend gift-giving are negative for the giver, like being broke or tired or overextended.

Reply to her email that you already got her a gift and want her to have it anyway, no reciprocation expected. Say the important thing is that you'll get to be together again in just a few days.

If she pushes back on the gift, then say OK and just UNWRAP and return it, save it for next year or keep it for yourself.

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Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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