Dear Amy: I am an only child and recently married. My husband has a sister who has two children. One is a toddler and the other is in elementary school.
My husband and I agree the Christmas spending tradition has been overblown and that even though we are financially stable we do not want to participate in gift exchanges with family and friends.
Recently, we communicated our decision to family and friends. We explained that while we want to celebrate the holiday with everyone, in lieu of gifts we will be making additional donations to charity. My sister-in-law vehemently disagrees with our stand. She complains that we are “ruining Christmas” for everyone.
My husband says we should make an exception for children. Do you have any advice on how to respond to my sister-in-law or how to persuade my husband to hold firm to our otherwise agreed-upon beliefs?
NOT A SCROOGE!
Dear Not: I like your idea of taking the materialism out of the holiday, though you do sound like a humorless Scrooge. Your sister-in-law is wrong to accuse you of “ruining” anything, although you are forcing the family to adjust to your style.
One way to celebrate without giving material gifts would be to start a tradition involving the extended family. You could host a wintertime bonfire with skating or sledding, or treat the kids to a holiday concert or a production of “A Christmas Carol.”