Holiday giving leads to abundance of angst


Dear Amy: I am conflicted about gift-giving this holiday season.

I have traditionally bought gifts for my family (five adults and five children), my close friends and their children (they all buy me nice gifts too!).

I used to enjoy this, but now it just seems dauntingly expensive.

I am 62 and still working, but this year I have no real disposable income.

I mentioned to my mother that I kind of wanted to opt out of the gift-giving this year due to finances, and she said, “Why don’t you then? Just tell everyone in the family that you don’t want to exchange gifts this year.”

The thing is, I am embarrassed to do that. It is hard for me to imagine being with my family on Christmas morning with everyone else giving gifts. I feel like it would be awkward or I will end up just feeling very depressed.

I can’t skip the event because I take my parents (they are 89 and 90) and besides, I love my family and want to be with them.

I am an artist, and one Christmas a few years back, I had a similar situation with finances and I made everyone drawings. I don’t feel like I can do that again, and haven’t thought of anything else to make them (at least not yet).

I kind of wish our family would do that thing where we exchange names, and just buy one person a nice gift. But I don’t want to change the culture of the family, for my own selfish reasons.

Any suggestions?

— Feeling Scroogey


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