Not interested in materialistic Christmas

Every year, my grandmother and I go to my cousins’ house for Christmas. This year is different for me. I have had the miracle of God helping me overcome some major addictions in my life.

Dear Annie: Every year, my grandmother and I go to my cousins’ house for Christmas.

This year is different for me. I have had the miracle of God helping me overcome some major addictions in my life.

I’ve expressed to my uncle that I do not feel like I know who my cousins are now that we are adults and have lost touch to some extent.

There are also economic differences. My income is near the poverty level, and I receive government assistance.

My cousins, however, are financially successful. I have made attempts to meet with them, but it never happens.

They are not into religion, and I believe they are controlled by materialism. (My aunt and uncle give me cash for Christmas.) I also notice that they do not open presents in front of us. I feel like a stranger who just shows up for a free meal and to get “paid.”

I think that going there cheapens the importance that this day has for me. I would rather go where they feed the homeless and be an example unto them. — Trying To Keep my Dignity

Dear Trying: While we agree that the holiday season includes rampant materialism, you are being awfully harsh in your judgment of the relatives.

The meal and exchanging of gifts is traditional in most families.

Not opening presents is sometimes a way to avoid embarrassing someone whose gift may not be as fancy as someone else’s.

Giving cash is a way of providing a gift when you aren’t sure what the other person likes and you want to please them.

These are all kind and thoughtful gestures, and we aren’t sure why you don’t harbor more charitable thoughts toward your family.

However, if going to your cousins’ makes you miserable and you would rather spend the holiday feeding the homeless, we certainly wouldn’t try to dissuade you.

We wish more people would lend a hand to those in need.

Dear Annie: My grandson and his family live in another state.

His daughter, “Mary,” is having her first birthday soon, and since it is not possible for me to be there in person, I went online to the websites of two major stores and ordered gifts from each store and had them delivered.

I let them know the packages were on the way.

When the packages were received, they called and said the gifts arrived and added, “Thank you for the presents.”

I realize that I am lucky to have gotten that much acknowledgement. But since I went to the trouble of picking out things I thought Mary would like, it is too much to ask that they at least tell me what they think?

Could they not have said, “She loved playing with the toys,” or “The dress was so cute”?

Am I expecting too much? I could have gotten the same response with less effort if I had just sent a gift card. — Picky Grandma

Dear Picky: A proper thank-you includes specific comments about the gift, even if just to say how thoughtful it was. And if you are comfortable asking, you can inquire whether Mary liked the toys and dress.

But, sorry to say, we suspect a gift card would please her parents just as much.

Dear Annie: I have a suggestion for “Thought I Was Part of a Large Family,” who feels distant from her siblings: Go to the reunion with a different focus.

Take along family group sheets, which you can get at your local library or through Ancestry.com. Distribute one to each family to fill out, and have them return the sheets to you during the reunion.

That way, if you never go to another reunion, you still will have a lot of family information. Be sure they add their email addresses.

This could bring the family closer together. It is a beginning, not an ending.— Retired Genealogist

Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

Just Posted

WATCH: Property taxes in Red Deer will go up 2.02 per cent in 2018

City council passes a “tough” budget that maintains most service levels

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

Red Deer’s Soundhouse closing its doors on Record Store Day

The owners of The Soundhouse want to shut down their store on… Continue reading

NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships begin in Red Deer

The biggest cross-country skiing competition in Red Deer’s history is underway. Nearly… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month