DEAR MISS MANNERS: I enjoy picking out “just the right gift” for various family members at Christmas. However, each year, several family members ask me what gift they should purchase for my children. My mother insists that I am being difficult for not providing her with a gift list.
I find these requests incredibly tacky. Am I being unreasonable for being unnerved by this practice and not participating?
GENTLE READER: Although Miss Manners believes that the meaning behind giving presents is the thought put into their selection, she is not dogmatic on the point. Being unnerved by your mother’s request for help, or calling it tacky, is too emphatic for holiday cheer.
It has been some time since your mother had a 10-year-old. Treat her request as a genuine desire for guidance on what would be meaningful, which requires providing something more than a rebuke and something less than a list of catalog numbers.