If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
DEAR HARRIETTE: I go to visit my family every Christmas. This year, there are two new babies, lots of young adults and us older folks. My family and I fly to be with the rest of the family. The whole trip is fairly expensive, but we love being together. Sadly, we couldn’t do it last year because of COVID-19.
All of us will be there this year, but I don’t have a lot of money left for gifts for everyone. What I want to do is concentrate on the children, the babies. Do you think that’s OK? Should I say something in advance, given that we usually bring a lot of presents? I want to manage expectations. The other guests all live locally, so they probably have more money to spend on gifts. — Fewer Gifts
DEAR FEWER GIFTS: Let’s start by saying that the gift of being in each other’s company is the best gift of all, in my book. I will add that you shouldn’t count other people’s money. Those local folks may also have tighter wallets this year.
It’s a good idea to speak to your family members, at least the host, to express your intentions for holiday gifts. Let them know that you will concentrate on the little ones. Perhaps you can give cards to the others. You might also suggest a philanthropic idea that your family can participate in where you give to those in need. My sister has organized a charity service at her church for years. We and others adopt needy families and provide food, gift items and sometimes money so that others can enjoy the holidays the way we do. You might consider pooling resources and doing something similar as a group rather than spending so much on items that the young and older adults don’t need.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My office is doing Secret Santa, and everyone has been asked to participate. I am uncomfortable with this as I am Jehovah’s Witness and we do not celebrate Christmas. I know my boss didn’t mean to be insensitive about this. I have noticed that Jewish people and some others of different religious backgrounds participate anyway, but I cannot do that. How should I address this without making it a big deal? — No Secret Santa for Me
DEAR NO SECRET SANTA FOR ME: Speak privately to your supervisor and explain your situation simply and plainly. Because of your religious beliefs, you do not celebrate Christmas. That includes gift-giving through Secret Santa. Make it clear that you are happy to be part of the team and do not want to appear standoffish, but you will not participate. Ask for your name to be removed so that it doesn’t become awkward. Also, let your supervisor know that you will not attend a holiday party if one is held. Being upfront about your religious practices will help to allay concerns about your being a team member.