Q I HAVE a large extended family and we love Christmas and spoiling one another with gifts. However, my hours were cut last summer and I am just about coping on my reduced salary.
I have small but thoughtful presents for my family and thought this would be okay, but my mum and siblings have been talking about the gifts they have bought and I now feel embarrassed about what I will be giving and wonder should I use the credit card for some grand gestures?
A It's wonderful that you want to spoil those you love and Christmas is a great time of year to show how much you care.
But I strongly believe that gifts should not be about the extravagance or expense, but about the thought that went into them.
Not everyone can afford to buy huge presents for others, so the focus needs to be on the sentimental value and this is the route you took.
My advice is to stop putting pressure on yourself to spend loads of money and just explain to your family that you don't have the means to buy pricey presents.
If I were you, I would instead spend some time making beautiful cards and other homemade gifts that they'll love. Get creative!
There are plenty of good tips for inexpensive gift ideas online that they're sure to love.
QI'm just married and was enjoying an extended honeymoon period until my wife told me that I am to spend Christmas Day with her family in its entirety -- she reckons it's okay for me to spend St Stephen's Day with my own family, but we are to travel to her family home on Christmas Eve (it's just an hour's drive) and I am not to leave until the 26th. I can't do this to my family, but I don't want to upset my wife who I love very much. Please advise.
AThis is very much a decision that can only be made between you and your wife and it's about reaching a compromise that you can both work with.
As far as I know, in the first Christmas of a new marriage, the husband traditionally goes to his wife's family and then they take it in turns after that.
My advice is to go with her plans, and break the news to your family well in advance so there are no last-minute disappointments. They will surely understand that now you're married, these kinds of sacrifices must be made.
You will get to spend time with them on St Stephen's Day nonetheless and Christmas is about enjoying this time of year with friends and family, rather than just the one day.
Enjoy Christmas Day with your in-laws but ensure that the day spent with your own family is extra special.
QMy boyfriend just dumped me -- we had been together three years, since sixth year in school and we're now in our third year of college. I did not see it coming and am devastated and, of course, I am dreading Christmas. I bought him a very expensive Christmas present -- an iPad -- before he delivered the bombshell. I still want to give it to him on Christmas Day but my older sisters say I'm mad and am only doing this to try and win him back when he clearly is not for turning. What do you think?
AI'm so sorry to hear that you've gone though a sudden break-up and it must be particularly tough when you had his present bought and you were looking forward to Christmas together. However, I would strongly agree with your sisters. It would be a bad idea to still give him his iPad on Christmas Day, especially if he's showing no signs of wanting to get back with you.
You don't know how he may react and you could end up looking foolish and desperate.
You may be deeply hurt, but please try to stay strong and independent. Give him time on his own to reconsider what he's done and if he wants you back, then let him make the first move.
Keep your dignity intact and you might want to enquire about returning the iPad before it's too late to get your money back.