DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are in serious debt -- college tuition payments, property tax, car repairs, etc. I would like to tell my husband's grown children and grandchildren we can't afford to give them gifts this year. My husband says we HAVE to buy them gifts. (I am usually stuck doing all the gift shopping alone.)
Throughout the year, I am included in all family gatherings, but when the grandchildren's pictures are sent, the note is addressed only to my husband. I have never received a birthday or Mother's Day card from any of them. I don't think it's because they consider it disloyal to their own mother. She's happily remarried, and we get along great.
Abby, I don't know why I must get "another day older and deeper in debt" for people who would walk right over me if I happened to fall in their path.
Am I being selfish or is there a point where you can "just say no" to Christmas gift giving? -- DEPRESSED THIS DECEMBER
DEAR DEPRESSED: If your husband insists on going deeper into debt, tell him that this year HE is in charge of gift buying -- as well as managing the bills when they arrive in January.
You are "Depressed" because you are overwhelmed by your financial situation and feel unappreciated by your husband's children. You and your husband would benefit from some sessions with a marriage counselor. It would give each of you an opportunity in an emotionally supportive setting to express what you expect from each other and what you want for yourselves. Ask your physician for a referral. It will be the best Christmas gift you have given yourselves in years.