DEAR ABBY: I work with a wonderful, good-hearted young woman who holds a low-paying job. She's raising three children alone, and I know she struggles to provide the necessities. I have learned that the holidays at their home are pretty meager.
My husband and I have been discussing the many frivolous indulgences at our family Christmas and would like to suggest to our grown children that this year we pool our resources and send the money anonymously to this family a week or so before Christmas. Would it be rude to ask our kids for the money in advance? Unfortunately, there may be a couple who would prefer to receive gifts. How should we handle this? -- TENNESSEE READER
DEAR READER: Your impulse is generous. Start now by telling your grown children, "You know, I've been thinking ..." then discuss what you're considering and the reasons for it. Make participation in the project voluntary so that those who wish to can contribute the money they would have spent on gifts for you to the fund. Write (small) checks to those who would rather receive gifts than donate to your co-worker. You can't "force" others to be generous, and frankly, you shouldn't try.