Don’t Sweat It

Dear Short Answers: When a bride & groom suggest a cash gift for their wedding instead of a traditional present, what is the proper amount to give?  They are co-workers and “good” friends but certainly not “really good” friends.  I don’t want to appear cheap but I can’t afford to be overly generous either. A [...]

Glitter and Gold

Dear Short Answers: Through a hurtful set of circumstances, my brother’s wife got all my mother’s jewelry when my dad passed. I thought I could handle it but it comes up for me a lot — with enough bitterness to leave a bad taste. She never even met my mother! I don’t even care if [...]

Sensitive

Dear Short Answers: A friend bought me an expensive micro-dermabrasion device for my birthday that she saw on TV. I tried it and my whole face broke out in a rash.  My face cleared up by the time I saw my friend next and she asked me if I “loved” my new device.  I didn’t [...]

Truth and Consequences

Dear Short Answers: It’s already New Year’s Eve and I have not received a single thank you note or phone call from any of my 7 nieces and nephews who I bought significant Christmas gifts for.  Should I just keep waiting?  Or complain to their parents? Uncle Dear Uncle: Cool your jets. Talk to us [...]

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Dear Short Answers: My father’s second wife passed away last month and left me a very extensive and presumably rare collection of china figurines. When she was alive, she loved to show them to me and I would always feign interest in them. Now, he expects me to display them in my home.  He even [...]

A Very Good Thing

Dear Short Answers: Why did Mahatma Gandhi want to teach children handicrafts? Joe P Dear Joe: Same reason we like to teach kids crafts.  It develops manual dexterity, a sense of pride when the task is completed, the possibility of sale if they do them well, a prideful connection with their own traditions — and [...]

Mean or Spirited?

Dear Short Answers: I recently got married for the second time and one of the gifts I received from a close friend was a very expensive silver frame with a photo of me and my evil ex-husband. I’m not sure what to make of it. Should I just write a thank-you note for the frame [...]

The Joy of Giving

Dear Short Answers: It’s that time of year, any ideas for a high school graduation present? Auntie Dear Auntie: We pondered this all week. We dislike obligatory gifting because it is rarely appreciated — yet there are occasions that seem to require something. In principle, if you know someone well, you will know what they [...]

Clearing the Air

Dear Short Answers: My sister-in-law made up and gifted a small photo album to each family member. She included photos of all nephews/nieces except for my child. I can’t imagine why this oversight occurred because she had plenty of photos to work with of everyone. This feels quite odd and a bit hurtful. I heard [...]

Don’t Get Us Started

Dear Short Answers: I kept putting off buying Christmas presents until finally it was too late and I didn’t actually buy any gifts for anyone this year. Now I’m feeling guilty. Should I buy presents when everything goes on sale and tell people that is why I procrastinated? Or do I just ignore the whole [...]