Hey Auntie, my job makes a big deal about Christmas. I don’t, and I don’t really like most of my coworkers. This year, they’re planning a pot-luck and gift exchange. I would rather not participate in either. How do I get out of it all without being labeled The Grinch? BAH HUMBUG
Dear Bah Humbug:
Listen, one of my personal mantras is to not do anything I don’t want to do, but I get that you don’t want to be seen as the party pooper with the people you spend so much time with every day. Here’s what I’d do – make an “appointment” for that day. Go in in the morning but tell everyone that that won’t be available and the appointment can’t be rescheduled. Pretend you’re disappointed and tell them have fun! Yeah, it’s a little bit of deception, but it’s harmless. Then, spend the afternoon doing something for YOU – get a massage or pedicure; meet a friend for a leisurely lunch. Chill on your sofa with prosecco, popcorn and watch your favourite movie. Just make sure you don’t post any pics on your socials – you don’t want to get caught out!!
Hey Auntie, this year has been a challenging one for me! I’m excited about the opportunity to spend time with my family and friends, but don’t want to go overboard with the gift giving – I’m on a TIGHT budget this year. A few of my friends and relatives place a lot of value on the price of gifts. That is not important to me. I’m not “broke-broke” – I do alright for myself, but I’m saving for a house – that’s where my priorities are this year. What do I do? I DON’T WANT TO SPEND IT
Dear I Don’t Want To Spend It:
There is nothing less Christmassy (I don’t know if that’s even a word, but I digress) than ending up with a whole lot of credit card debt, and no cash on December 31! Explain to your friends that you are on a budget and see if they’ll agree to set a price limit for gifts – or bypass gifts altogether and make a group donation to a charity – which is very much in the spirit of the holidays! For your family, maybe suggest that you all draw names out of a hat – that way, you’re each only getting one gift. If your family and friends are reasonable, they should understand where you stand and be open to your ideas. If they aren’t, well….. you may need new friends. Okay – that may be a bit harsh, but in all seriousness, people who genuinely care about you should care about you reaching your goals. If they don’t, maybe just decline to participate in gift giving this year. Happy Holidays!!
Hey Auntie, my girlfriend loves to cook for me. I love her and really appreciate her wanting to do things that show she cares for me. But here’s the problem – she can’t cook!! I don’t mean that she doesn’t season her food – I mean she really can’t cook! She made me an omelet and put leftover spaghetti IN IT!! She tried to make brownies – from a box – and they were horrible. I still can’t figure out how she messed that up. Anyway – we’re having games night in a few weeks. My boys and their girlfriends and her besties and their boyfriends are coming. She insists that she has to make her “famous” lasagna for dinner. Thing is, I’ve had it before and it’s NOT good. Heated up frozen lasagna would be better. How do I get her to not cook? I don’t want her to be embarrassed in front of our friends, and to be honest, I don’t want to be embarrassed either. SHE’S NOT BETTY CROCKER
Dear She’s Not Betty Crocker:
Baby boy, I feel your pain. You’re stuck between a rock and your pride! Put on your big boy draws and be honest with her. Tell her that her cooking isn’t that good. Offer to cook with her, using a recipe, of course – you can do a trial run before games night. Be prepared though – once you’re open and honest with her, she may freeze you out for a few days – her feelings will be hurt. But better by you, privately, than in front of your nearest and dearest. Another way to handle it – this one’s a bit passive-aggressive – is to suggest that maybe dinner isn’t the best option for games night. Maybe wings/burger sliders/charcuterie might be easier for her to pull off. Or how about making it fun and assign each couple a color/nationality etc. as a guideline for a snack to bring? You’re going to have to be either brutally honest or super creative to get her to NOT make the infamous pasta dish. Consider this – is this a woman you want to be with long term? Is she “the one”? If so, I would really recommend you go the harsh truth way – with a silk lining – be honest and kind at the same time. If you see a future with her, not being open isn’t a great way to maintain a healthy long-lasting relationship. Good Luck.
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