Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Finds Ways to Mend Lost Dream of Motherhood

DEAR ABBY: I love my husband very much. He's a very sweet and thoughtful man, but he's horrible at picking out gifts -- not just for me but for everybody. Occasionally he has given me something I liked, but usually his gifts are way off the mark, and I must pretend to like them to spare his feelings.

The last few years I've put together Christmas and birthday lists for him, hoping it would solve the problem, but he says he hates lists. He says it's better for someone to put "thought" behind a gift, which I agree with, but it's just not one of his talents.

Can you suggest a way to speak to him about this without hurting his feelings? It would be greatly appreciated. -- TIRED OF UGLY SWEATERS IN VIRGINIA

DEAR TIRED: Choose a time between gift-giving occasions to point out that while it may be the thought that counts, he could be getting better value for his money if he asked the recipients what their color preferences or needs are. Because you have assembled lists of suggestions and he chooses to ignore them, understand that your husband may have his own agenda in gift selection. And if you have your eye on something for a special occasion -- buy it for yourself.