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Register your annoyance with sister's gift demands

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Registering annoyance with gift demands

Va.: My sister got married last year and she and her husband were blessed with a baby this year. At Christmas he will be the center of attention, and delightfully so. She has already started hinting about what "the baby wants." Now, I think this is ridiculous, as my beautiful nephew is only 6 months old and all of "his" wants are yet to be formed. I plan on spoiling the kid rotten, but can't help feel a little resentful about being handed yet another registry list from my sister. I mean, seriously, after the engagement gift, wedding shower, bachelorette party, bridal party expenses, baby shower, etc. . . . I thought we were finally going to be able to get our own gifts for my nephew. Am I wrong or resentful or both? I love the holidays, and my nephew, but seriously, when am I going to be off the hook with the registries?

Carolyn: Would you please talk to her? All the hinting and cutesy speaking for a 6-month-old and the thinly veiled shakedowns are making me resentful of your sister, and my exposure is limited to a faceful of electrons that I hope I will purge from memory about 15 minutes from now.

Baby-centric demands like this create monsters everywhere: in the parents, who develop a sense of entitlement to the spotlight; in the children, who do likewise; and in the family members who resent but don't confront, and try to push their own agendas through subversive means such as buying the gifts they want to buy without regard for whether the family needs, sanctions or wants it. It's enough to make everyone spend December overseas.

You used the words "blessed" and "delightfully''; I'm guessing you can remain in character while explaining that you take great joy in finding your own gifts, and so would like to find some other path to appropriate spoilage than a registry list. List your ideas for her, say, so she can okay or veto from there.

Name game never dies, it just irritates forever

Ditto, Ditto: A humorous question asked in sincerity — I recently started dating a man with the same name as mine. It's one of those names that could go both ways, like Jesse/Jessie. People generally think it's funny, and there's also a presumption it will never work. I've also gotten WAY too many people who have told me about Paris Hilton's ex also being named Paris.

We're starting to get more serious. Should I put up with this for the rest of my life? Should one of us adopt a new nickname? Will we have to name our first child the same name?! My real question is, since people are really starting to annoy me, how can I deflect what will obviously be a joke that will never die?

Carolyn: As someone who just witnessed a tall person being asked if he ever played basketball, I think I can assure you with fresh confidence that your best chance is to accept that this joke will never die. Make sure Jesse is worth it, and always have the following handy: "Funny, we've never heard that before."

Register your annoyance with sister's gift demands 11/28/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 10:25am]
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