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Dear Webby

Dear Webby,

Christmas is coming and I have my usual problem with gift buying. I want to be generous but I wind up paying off my credit cards in April. We have a gift exchange at the office. There are six of us in it and we spend $20.00 on each gift (at least 5 of us do).

That's $100.00 before the gifts I want to buy for my family, and friends. We have a large family and everyone buys for everyone. By the time I'm ready to shop for my husband and children I find I am short-changing them.

Signed: Really Not-a-Scrooge

Dear Not-a-Scrooge,

Lets get back to the basics: Christmas first and foremost is a Holy Day. It is a day to go to your Church and then, if possible, share with family and friends, maybe over a nice dinner. It is a time to remember with kindness those less fortunate than us.

Second it is a holiday season of decorations, parties and gift giving. The gift giving is only a part of the second part……follow me? Make it just that - a " part of" the whole holiday season not the reason-for-the season. . If your funds or time are limited "buy for the children" - make their gifts come first. Can't let them think Santa is a Scrooge either. Don't shortchange your children for your office workers.

I bet if you asked, most of them feel the same way. Why not suggest that each of you bring some cookies or candy to the office on a specific day, or go to lunch and celebrate?

With extended families many (if not most) people have rules of giving. Some do only the children, some pull names, some make a game out of secretly wrapped gifts. Most put a dollar amount on it. Some give small joke type-gifts and some do white elephants. Just remember what you got from whom unless they have a sense of humor when it pops up next year. A secret gift pull is fun. The important part is to bring it up now before the eager beavers have their shopping already done.

And now the quiz: Which part is most important? Read again, ……yes the Religious part! The rest is just hustle and bustle and fun. Darn, Webby has to reread it; - there's no mention of stress, tension and turmoil in there. Can we possibly have one this year without it? Let's give it our best shot!

Your assignment is to report back after the holidays and let us know how it worked.


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