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by Abigail Van Buren

Last-Minute Shopping Takes Away From Birthday Celebration

DEAR ABBY: For the past few years, my mother, with whom I spend my birthday every year, has gotten into the habit of buying my birthday presents the day of. She waits until my birthday day, then buys them in a rush all at one store or suggests we go shopping together. She's not stingy on price. In fact, she tends to spend more than I think she should.

What bothers me is she makes no effort to prepare a gift in advance and just asks me then and there what I want. She also often buys me a number of things I didn't ask for.

The last thing I want to do on my birthday is go shopping. It has made me increasingly less excited about my birthday each year. How do I explain to her without sounding ungrateful that I'd rather receive one thoughtful present than a lot of expensive ones? -- DOWN ON BIRTHDAYS IN HOUSTON

DEAR DOWN ON BIRTHDAYS: Excuse me, but you do sound ungrateful. Your mother may not be as emotionally invested in birthday celebrations as you are. Or, she may do this because she wants to ensure that you have gifts for your birthday you can actually use.

Rather than criticize her generosity, why not mention in the weeks before your birthday what you might like to have? If you do, it might save her some money and you some frustration.

Read more in: Holidays & Celebrations | Family & Parenting