Pinings — Advice by Sherry Hughes

Sucky Gifts?

Dear Pinings,

Is it okay to tell someone that they give sucky gifts?

My boyfriend and I just celebrated our second Christmas together. Once again, I was disappointed on Christmas morning when I opened my gifts. It was the same thing on my birthday, Valentineís Day and Easter. Itís like heís buying gifts for someone else  ó  nothing he buys me is anything like what I want or need. I love him with all of my heart, but this stuff hurts. I put a lot of thought into the gifts I buy for everyone and even though I donít have a lot of money to spend (Iím a student), I do the best I can.

I know he loves the gifts I give him. Why canít he reciprocate?

- Pissed off in Manch

Dear Pissed off:

Wellllllll, you are walking a slippery slope I think. First of all, a gift is a gift. Iíve said this in columns before. Itís not okay to expect anything when it comes to gift-giving and frankly, itís a setup if you do.

Often, couples exchange lists or perhaps agree to buy something together, maybe for the house or whatever. Other times, they might exchange lists with gift ideas.

I know Iím going to get some heat for this, but men can be notoriously bad shoppers. They might have the money, but they get sweaty palms at the thought of going to the mall ó especially if it doesnít involve a trip to Best Buy.

Hereís the deal: You can tell him anything you want. But he might consider you a greedy bitch if you arenít very careful. You can also give him a list next time around (you expect gifts at Easter?) with a range of gift ideas ó from very inexpensive to lavish. You can also drop broad hints for several weeks prior to the date of the holiday (this doesnít usually work because men tend not to hear very well either). Or, you could ask him if he saved any receipts so that you can exchange the gifts for things you like (this is a risky proposition too; hurt feelings and all.)

Or you can concentrate on how much you love him and appreciate him for the man he is rather than the man you wish he was. And you can be grateful that you got anything at all.

Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers. Reach her at

2005 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH