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by Abigail Van Buren

Sister-in-Law Who's Never Liked Family Still Wants to Exchange Gifts

DEAR ABBY: My brother and his wife have been married for 40 years. They moved out of state 10 years ago. We no longer get together for holidays, and the only time I talk to my brother is when it concerns our parents (whom I take care of).

Two years ago, my sister-in-law informed me that she never really cared for me and has issues with my family. When I asked her why, she accused me of being a liar. I don't know why she feels this way. I talked to my brother about it, and his answer was vague.

Although my sister-in-law has issues, she still wants to exchange birthday and Christmas presents. I am finding it difficult to purchase a gift for someone who doesn't care for me. Is there a nice way to say I no longer want to exchange gifts and would rather we just exchange cards? I don't want to cause another family feud. -- CURTAILING IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR CURTAILING: You should have stopped the gift exchange two years ago when your sister-in-law told you she had never really cared for you. Tell your brother you no longer feel the joy in it that you did before his wife told you what she did and that you would prefer to send cards from now on. Don't worry about causing another family feud. Your family is already fractured, and I doubt that once your parents are gone, he and his wife will be sticking around, so don't be surprised when it happens. You are a good daughter, and you have my sympathy.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Holidays & Celebrations