Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
Every year my brother sends everyone in the family the same gift: a
box of bourbon-flavored fudge. It started when he moved to Kentucky.
The first year I thought it was a Southern food joke. But it’s become
annoying. I don’t like or eat the fudge. All my friends have had it re-
gifted to them. I’ve been forbidden to bring it to potlucks and gift
exchanges. It’s not that I need a different or better gift. But I hate
wasted money. If he really did want to send me some food there’s a
long list of things I would prefer, from fruit and cheese baskets to
something more esoteric. I’ve also taken up food preserving and
making everything from homebrew to kim chi, and would rather trade
specialty items than subsidize stores. Do I keep quiet or speak up?
No More Fudge!!
Dear No More:
Nothing beats honesty. People want their gifts appreciated, not
dreaded. Google to find out what he’s paying and then send him a
simple email. In it explain that you love him and love exchanging gifts.
But you’ve decided to be clear about what you do and don’t want to
share. Tell him that for the next few years you are proposing a
different gift exchange: everything from home-canned beer or
preserves to something re-gifted. Explain that you’d considered re-
gifting his last batch of fudge back to him, but that it seemed
You can say that your family has changed its values around gifting,
given the life of plenty that you are living. Say you love him and want
to honor him so your gift to him is from your hands and heart, and
comes with only one condition: no more bourbon fudge. Say that if he
wants to gift you, you’re happy to have him donate to any of a list of
named charities, or send food from a similar list. But say you are
fudged out and ask him to respect that. The rest of the family can say
the same or eat fudge.