Tag Archives: Birthday Present

“Jaw With John” – You Get What You Give

I have a large family and we celebrate family birthdays at a monthly get-together with a potluck dinner. The dinner is always held at my house and I usually furnish the entree.

One granddaughter and her husband never contribute anything and never bring birthday cards for the honored family members. I have specifically asked her to bring something, and I made it easy by suggesting something simple like a Jell-O salad — but still, they bring nothing. Others are beginning to complain. Should I tell her that others are wondering why she never contributes to the meal? These two always eat.

I don’t want to alienate them from the rest of the family, as we all love them and want them with us. — Wondering Gramma

Dear Gramma:

Large family eh? Sounds like you were busy? Wink wink nudge nudge.

Stay with me here because everything will make sense, I swear. Around Christmas time my family has a saying “If you don’t believe, you don’t receive.” Meaning, if you fail to believe in Santa, you will not receive any presents. It’s a way to keep that childlike spirit of Christmas around even as an adult when you know the truth. It’s not really enforced but it’s still around.

Tell your granddaughter that if they don’t feel the need to participate that when it comes time to celebrate their birthday then they will receive what they gave: nothing. It doesn’t take much to buy a card and sign it or, hell, even buy a gift card. They are doing the least possible and need to know that it is unacceptable. This will send the message loud and clear.

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“Jaw With John” – Wrap Your Head Around This

My mother-in-law frequently orders birthday and holiday gifts for my family online, has them delivered directly to our house and then expects me to wrap them.

I don’t want to seem ungrateful — I really do appreciate that she cares enough to buy nice presents for our family. But I have three kids, a full-time job and many other obligations, and the time spent wrapping her gifts adds up.

I totally get why she wouldn’t want to have the items shipped to her, only to wrap them and pay shipping again to send them to us. However, I think if the situation were reversed, I might pay for gift wrapping when placing the order — or at least ask first whether she had the time to take care of it. Am I being an unappreciative grump? — Wrap-proachful

Dear Wrap-proachful:

I like the play on words you did with your name. Cute.

How many gifts is she sending? Is it really too much of your time to wrap a few of them?

I view two options here for you. Option 1: Ask your mother-in-law to have them wrapped by the company she bought them from. That way they will arrive at your house already wrapped.

Option 2: Open them up, remove any receipt and then wrap the box that it came in. I do that A LOT. It saves me from having to wrap an oddly shaped item unsuccessfully to wrapping a box unsuccessfully.

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