I think my sister-in-law is stealing from the family. For the past couple of years, she has volunteered to be the person who buys my mom and dad their Christmas gift from all of us kids. There are six of us and we each chip in $200. So, that’s $1,200. The first year the gifts were good, as in they looked like we spent $1,200 on them, but then for the past two years the gifts have been really cheap. So, cheap, everyone but my brother (her husband), thinks my sister-in-law is pocketing at least half of the $1,200. Our solution last weekend was to tell her that I wanted a turn buying the gifts this Christmas but she got livid.
So, my big mouth sister told her that we know she’s stealing. This sent my sister-in-law to mom crying about how she’s bullied by the family. Now my mom is angry at all of us and I’m kind of already over spending the holidays with anyone I’m related too.
Is there any way we can patch this up so Christmas isn’t ruined?
Signed, Not feeling It
Dear Not Feeling It,
To be totally honest I’m in awe that you and your siblings pony up $1,200 to spend on gifts for your parents. It makes my Bath and Body Works Scented Lotion set from my kids look really, really lame. But putting that aside I feel that the best solution would be for all the kids to start a new tradition of getting your parents individual presents. That way everyone oversees their own money and expenditures.
As for your sister-in-law, you and your siblings are going to have to apologize for accusing her of stealing. She might have been but there were a million better ways to solve that problem than just blurting it out. So, give her an apology and remember extended family relationships require finesse. Wait a minute I’ve just thought of the perfect present – family therapy – it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
If you have a question for Dear Snarky “Advice with an Attitude” 😉 send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.