Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Ringing in the New Year Doesn't Have to Cost Much

DEAR HARRIETTE: I cannot afford to go out on New Year's Eve because restaurants, clubs and lounges are planning to charge top dollar to bring in the New Year in their respective venues. How can I bring in the New Year without going broke in the process? -- Where's the Party?, Chicago

DEAR WHERE'S THE PARTY?: Plan an activity at home with a few friends. Make the food yourself, or have others chip in. Buy your wine and spirits at a discount wine store if possible. Turn on the music and have a great time. You can theme your party or just keep it low-key.

Honestly, many people enjoy the smaller events even more than the big and sometimes loud activities at public establishments. Do not feel that you are missing out by staying in. Instead, turn an at-home event into a night to remember! Your friends will thank you for it.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I appreciate your response to "Snubbed" from Baltimore, whose husband would not buy her a gift. My husband was the same. His family simply did not celebrate holidays the way I did, so he really did not understand the expectation. I was truly hurt by this until I decided to make certain I was heard and advocated for myself. I remind my husband several weeks before each holiday, birthday and anniversary. I give him a list of things I would like, making sure to include differing price ranges. Sometimes it is chores, sometimes trips, sometimes just a dinner alone. I continue to remind him, and it becomes a humorous game. My list will look like this:

To show you love me, you could purchase me my favorite chocolates. If you really love me, you can take me to my favorite restaurant. If I am the love of your life, you can take me on a weekend trip. Guess which gift I typically receive?

Hope this helps Snubbed bring lightness to the situation, playfulness to her marriage and the gift she is looking for. -- Make it Fun, Chicago

DEAR MAKE IT FUN: What a great idea! You absolutely do have to figure out how to open your spouse's eyes to your likes and dislikes. Otherwise, your marriage can be an exercise in frustration and hurt feelings. That goes both ways, by the way! Women often falsely believe that they know exactly what their husbands want and need.

I vote for asking your spouse and genuinely listening. Instead of superimposing your desires onto your partner, find out what his or her desires are and do your best to honor them. If you need to make a game, like yours, so be it.

Being angry and moping serves no one. Put on your thinking cap, get creative and design your life so that your partner becomes excited about making you happy. Now wouldn't that be nice?