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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman's No-Gifts Policy Baffles Her Sister-in-Law

DEAR ABBY: For some strange reason, my sister-in-law "Yvonne" doesn't want gifts. She has done a lot for us (baby-sits, etc.), and when we try to give her a little gift, she says she doesn't want anything. She loves growing herbs, so we gave her an herb-growing kit. She refused to accept it and made us return it to the store. It hurt my feelings deeply.

My husband and I have decided to not get her any more gifts. Her birthday was last week, and we didn't do anything for her. It made me feel terrible. Why would someone not want to receive anything? I feel we are being robbed of the joy of giving. -- GENEROUS IN GEORGIA

DEAR GENEROUS: Not knowing Yvonne, I can't explain her personal reasons for not wanting gifts. I do know that some people are uncomfortable receiving them because they consider it to be an obligation -- plus they don't like to shop, have no use for the item or it is not their taste. Rather than be upset with her for being honest with you, respect her wishes and on her birthday, send her a card.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Etiquette & Ethics | Holidays & Celebrations