Gift giving in blended family not that complicated
Dear Straight Talk: My friend thinks she doesn't need to get her stepdaughter much for Christmas. She says "Emily" will get gifts from her own mom, and her kids won't get anything from their dad, so buying less for Emily only balances things. I see the logic, but I was that same girl and it was horrible to receive less on Christmas day than the other kids. Yes, I also received from my "other family." But when everyone opened gifts and there was comparatively little for me, I felt like I didn't really belong there. My friend is a generous, warm person, so I am taken aback at her stinginess. Perhaps if you run a column on this, she will see herself. — "Santa's Elf"
Editor's Note: Even dogs know when they are being treated unfairly and will turn their backs on their owners. Now take the human, infinitely more sensitive than the most sensitive dog, and, at the same time, infinitely more complex and able to repress, medicate, or cloak that sensitivity.
Christmas, Hanukah, and other holidays are symbolic times and while we are normally hardwired to compare and discern how much love we are receiving, our dial is on "high" during symbolic times. Do you really want to play, inadvertently or not, the "wicked" stepparent?
Sometimes it can be really hard to feel a bond. But you can be fair. And even the Grinch proved capable of warmth. Please open your hearts to those difficult to love during this symbolic season. Maybe it will feel so good, you’ll continue year round. —Lauren
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