Dear Amy: My husband’s adult children do not celebrate Christmas. They are vocally against it, and against Christianity.
However, they do send us their Christmas lists for expensive items, such as large home appliances and electronics.
We’ve never asked for such a list and have never received as much as a card from them.
I admit I am starting to feel resentful. Their entitled attitude worries me.
We love gift-giving but this is starting to feel more like fulfilling a demand than giving a gift from the heart.
We provide trips, gifts and money generously throughout the year.
I have suggested we let the kids know we will be buying more modest gifts for Christmas. My husband is afraid to rock the boat since his adult kids are accustomed to receiving expensive Christmas gifts from us.
Is there a way we can reset expectations and boundaries, without looking like the Grinch?
— Mrs. Claus
Dear Mrs. Claus: As long as he is afraid of his children, your husband can’t change the equation during the holiday season.
You should encourage him to start to see himself as worthy of adult attention and respect. He seems to feel that he must literally purchase love from his children — and, guess what? He could be wrong! But he will never know the core value of his relationship with his kids until he is brave enough to have these relationships in a more organic way.