Dear Annie: When is it time to stop giving birthday gifts to my grandkids?

Dear Annie: I enjoy your column and read it every day.

I have been blessed with several grandchildren and was wondering if I could get some ideas on when to stop with birthday gifts. I am thinking that after their 18th birthday, I will just go with Christmas gifts.

I have heard stories where grandparents end up buying gifts for the spouses of their grandchildren and then the great-grandchildren.

I truly can afford the gifts, but I would like to get out of this constant whirlwind. Do you have any suggestions?

-- Confused Grandmother

Dear Confused Grandmother: My suggestion for you is to stop giving gifts when you feel like not giving gifts. It really doesn’t matter if it’s birthday or Christmas or both. It truly is the thought that counts. But if you are going to start to feel resentful because it is a burden, then don’t give the gifts. Rather, if you love the idea of your grandchildren -- even grown grandchildren -- opening something from you, then keep giving. In this case, to each his own makes the most sense.

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Dear Annie: I am very confused. I have a friend who is 70 and is in the hospital. She has put a mutual friend, “Dorothy,” down as her daughter. She has a son, but he is a man-child.


Our friend Dorothy has so many obligations as it is. Dorothy and I are close, and we are similar ages. I do not have siblings, since my brother passed away at a young age. I have an 85-year-old father who has been both mother and father to me.

I have had “Fred” as my life partner for nine years already!

You see, after my father passes, I will have Fred to lean on. But when Fred passes, I will not have anyone. Dorothy says that she will always be there for me. I don’t want to burden anyone. I have finances of my own. I won’t need monetary things. I do not have anyone to leave my things to. I hate to think of myself alone with things I have bought. Those things will not comfort me in my lonely life.

Do you have any thoughts on this subject?

-- Feeling Alone

Dear Alone: You seem to be worrying about things you can’t control in the future. It sounds like you have generalized anxiety and may need the help of a professional therapist. You sound like a loving person who has family and a life partner as your support system -- more than many people have. Try to focus on the present day instead of worrying about the future. The present is a present.

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Annie Lane

Annie Lane offers common-sense solutions to everyday problems. She's firm, funny and sympathetic, echoing the style of her biggest inspiration, Ann Landers. She lives outside Manhattan with her husband, two kids and two dogs. When not writing, she devotes her time to play dates and Play-Doh. Write her: