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Ask Sassy: Sassy solves your holiday problems

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Merry Early Christmas, you savvy, sassy readers. In this space I usually sink my teeth into a nice meaty modern problem, but since Christmas is coming I’m answering a holiday bouquet of questions today. Read on to see if any of these situations sound familiar.


Dear Sassy:

My husband’s female co-worker gave him an early Christmas gift: an iPad! She said it was an extra one that she didn’t need, and my husband already loves it and uses it all the time. He is not very close with this coworker, but I still think this is inappropriate. Can I ask him to give it back?

Dear iPad Widow:

I agree with you — an iPad, even a mini, is far too extravagant to serve as a gift to a casual office friend, especially if it makes the friend’s wife uncomfortable. That should be the number one reason for him to return it to her. Your concern is reasonable, and if your husband is a decent fellow (as I am suspecting he is, or you wouldn’t have married him), he will do the right thing and give it back. He can save up enough money to spring for his own gadget.

Dear Sassy:

What do you do when someone gives you or your kids a gift and you didn’t get them anything?

Dear Gifted:

You say “Thank you.” If this gift was a surprise to you that means you didn’t agree to exchange with that person beforehand, which means you, my friend, are off the hook. Don’t steal the giver’s joy by getting all weird about it and whining, “I didn’t get you anything!” and feeling bad. Just accept the gift graciously and be appropriately delighted. On the other hand, if you were supposed to exchange and you simply flaked? Say “Thank you” and then send or deliver your late gift as soon as possible afterwards.

Dear Sassy:

How should a divorced mom handle holiday cards? I have my last name. The boys have their dad’s. What’s our household name? On holiday cards I just put our first names, “from Jane, Billy, and Bob.” The return address label kills me. I end up just putting my full name. It seems weird.

Dear Head of the Household:

Girl, it’s going to feel weird for a long time, no matter what you do. Even long after a big life change that oddness can hit you when you least expect it, especially with seemingly small details like this that aren’t on any “divorce checklist.” For your cards, first names are fine since you are most likely sending them to people you know well. As for your return address, consider the proper way of addressing a family. It’s actually more proper to write “Mr. and Mrs. Michael Smith, Billy and Bob” instead of “The Smith Family.” You can lean on this tradition and just omit the dad: “Ms. Jane Single, Billy and Bob.” If any of that seems too clunky, then do whatever feels the least weird. After all, it’s a whole new strange and sometimes uncomfortable world for you. You need to limit your stress where you can so you can enjoy the holiday!

Dear Sassy:

Let me get your opinion on something. Every year, for our work holiday party, a venue is chosen and then a price is set for the tickets. This year, the committee negotiated a package that includes an open bar. Obviously, this jacks up the price slightly. For those who do not drink or have maybe one glass of wine, is this unfair or is it something that just goes along with the territory when you are going to a party?  Is it even wise to have a party with open bar for a work function, which would obviously encourage people to drink more?

Dear Designated Driver:

What kind of company do you work for that doesn’t spring for a holiday party for its workers? That’s actually not a rhetorical question. In times of belt-tightening for all, it does make sense for a company to trim expenses like this, so let’s hope they at least give you a fruitcake or something.

I love that your workplace community is rallying to throw its own party. You sound like a festive bunch. What time should I be there?

But seriously, if your workplace is not sponsoring the party, it’s not technically a “work function” so ticket holders assume their own normal responsibility for how much they drink or don’t drink. And yes, teetotalers who get the shaft by not consuming as much as drinkers will have to weigh the pros and cons of going to this party, as in “are these people I see all day at work fun enough for me to pay to hang out with them some more?” And then if you do choose to attend and drink less or not at all, every time you see someone drinking a cocktail, you can say “You’re welcome. Merry Christmas.”

Perhaps something sounds strangely familiar. If so, pass it on to your friends, especially those who act inappropriately and need a good nudge. And send me your requests for advice to be handled in the new year. Start fresh, start Sassy! Submit your question for Ask Sassy here! (Or just email me, darling. We can keep it between us. AskSassy@savvysassymoms.com) You can also follow me on Twitter where I share pro tips on life every week.

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