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Sister's Christmas request is unreasonable

We are a family of four living on my husband's income. We have a small farm that I run, and I homeschool my children. My husband works full time in another job. We aren't poor, but we do have to count our pennies and budget for things we want.

This is the first year we have splurged on gifts for the children, and we spent more on my sister-in-law because, for once, we had a little extra to spend. It has brought us joy that we can be a bit more generous.

Now that our Christmas budget is spent, my sister-in-law has asked twice that we purchase gifts for her dog - wrapped, no less - because her dog likes opening packages! I ignored her request the first time. After the second one, I told her we don't ask people to purchase gifts for our kids, and we don't purchase gifts for other people's pets. Now she's offended.

It may not seem like a lot, but for us, it's a big deal when we get to purchase a movie and a pizza every few months. We never ask anything of anyone. We're a happy, close family regardless of our finances.

My husband has had enough. He's tired of his sister's self-absorption and wants to tell her to grow up and that the world does not revolve around her and her dog. Instead, I asked her to simply return any gifts she has bought for us and spend the money on her dog. Are we being unreasonable?

- In the Doghouse in Alaska

Not at all. Your sister-in-law is out of line to put the bite on you for gifts for her dog, and you are within your rights to refuse. After she chews on it awhile, let's hope she comes around.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips.

Universal Press Syndicate

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