Since You Asked…

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Dear Caroline,

My husband and I recently had an unfortunate financial reversal. I’m already dreading December because we’re big gift givers. This year, holiday shopping for friends, associates and relatives is out of the question. What should we say and do when we receive gifts and can’t reciprocate? We certainly don’t want anyone to know about our money problems.


Strapped for Cash

Dear Strapped,

I’m sorry to hear about your current situation, but I’m also glad you decided to write your letter now because you have time to gracefully manage everyone’s expectations while still saving face. Here’s all you need to do:

Send an attractive letter or card with the following message: “Dear So-and-so: We hope this letter finds you well. We’re sending our holiday greetings early this year to let you know that we’ve decided to take a break from commercial and material traditions in order to get back in touch with the spiritual and emotional blessings of the season. On that note, we’re skipping the holiday shopping and gift-giving this year. In return, all we want from you are your warm wishes and lasting friendship. Let’s make time to see each other soon!”

Some of your recipients may also feel their shopping lists have gotten too lengthy and costly for comfort, and they’ll be happy to go along with this new arrangement. Others may give you gifts in spite of your letter. If they do, be gracious, grateful and unapologetic receivers.

Here’s to your finances turning around for the better. Most of us go through legitimate “ups and downs” where money is concerned. Simplifying during a “down” season is the best strategy. I applaud you for getting on the right track.


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