DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are senior citizens living on a fixed income. It has become harder and harder to purchase gifts or give money (which we have done in the past) to all our beloved family members. Recently a grandson called to inform us they are expecting their first child. Instead of being happy for them, we were filled with dread, because now there will be another gift to buy!
During the year, I try to save for Christmas gifts; it's never enough. I've told my husband that we are going to have to be honest with the family. He is too embarrassed to break the news to them that we cannot give like we have in the past.
Abby, how have other senior citizens solved this problem? I lie awake nights worrying. Believe me, that's no way to live! The holidays should be a happy time, but I don't look forward to them anymore. -- WORRIED IN WELLSVILLE, OHIO
DEAR WORRIED: Yours is a problem I am asked about almost every year. One solution is to be up-front about it. One day this week, write a note to the friends and family members on your Christmas list, saying, "We are thankful for folks with whom we can be honest. We're not in a position to send Christmas gifts this year (nor do we expect any) -- but please accept our love and sincere good wishes for a happy, healthy, blessed holiday."
If this seems too drastic a measure, another solution is to give one gift that can be enjoyed by the whole family, such as a game, movie coupons, or popcorn in assorted flavors.