Outgrown this Gift

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

Every year my aunt sends Hanukkah presents for my three children. It
started when they were children, and she was pretty good about not
sending cheap plastic toys. Now they are 11, 8, and 5. Each year she
buys T-shirts made by a local to her artist. She lives a very hippie
community across the country so this is generally counter-cultural,
political humor, or just odd. We live in an upper middle-class
somewhat red district. The first couple years I like seeing my kids in
tie-dye and thought it was cute. But now she’s latched on to somebody
whose art is, not to put too fine a point on it, just plain weird. Even I
barely get the humor and the kids certainly don’t. We had made an
annual photo practice to dress the kids and send her a pic. But I want
to stop her from she spending money she doesn’t have a lot of on
something we don’t need or appreciate. Should I say something or just
let her keep sending them. I love her and appreciate the sentiment,

Outgrown this Gift

Dear Outgrown:

However you do what you do, you should do it kindly. The fact that
your aunt thinks of your children each year is a lovely thing. I don’t
know how often she visits or you see her, but a conversation like this
in a vacuum may sound harsher than it might said casually over tea.
To imply reject a gift out of hand is churlish and cruel. Your family is
something to be honored so handle this gently.

You might tell her the children are growing so fast that the T-shirts
that fit now will be out of size or fashion by summer. Tell her that
perhaps switching to books or apps or something that doesn’t require
shipping is better. Tell her what each of them is particularly interested
at the moment, from dinosaurs to chess to a favorite movie or show.
Then hope for the best and say thank you very sincerely. Who knows,
she may have them in her will too; so at the risk of sounding venal,
think long run love and family, not just a gift you could easily donate
or regift.