DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My husband comes from a very big family. Since he and his siblings were teenagers, they did a Secret Santa kind of gift exchange, and it worked out real well. I come from a much smaller family, where everyone got everyone a gift each year. It wasn’t so bad when it was just me and my sister, but now we both have husbands, kids, and in-laws to buy for.
When I suggested to my sister we do something similar to what my husband’s family does, she got all bent out of shape and said I was cheaping out, that she doesn’t understand it because both my husband and I work and can afford to buy gifts for everyone on our side, like we always did. But when I look around our house and hers, I know we all have as much as we need and more, and I think Christmas should not be about who can spend the most money on stuff, but just a time to share a spirit of giving, which getting and giving fewer gifts would still represent.
Don’t you think my plan makes a lot more sense? --- ALL FOR KEEPING IT SIMPLE
DEAR ALL FOR KEEPING IT SIMPLE: I’m with you on this one. There’s no need to spend money and add more stress to an already often stressful and expensive season if you don’t truly need to.
If your sister’s determined to go all-out, then perhaps she could be persuaded to put the funds she would have spent on buying gifts for your immediate family into donations to Toys-for-Tots or other community-based organizations working to help people who otherwise might not be able to experience much in the way of holiday cheer.