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Section: money, manners

Dear Ann Landers,
The season of frantic gift-buying is upon us. May I offer some gift ideas? My husband and I are in our late 60s, and have lived in the same house for over 40 years. At this stage of our lives, we are trying to downsize and simplify. Please don't give us things that need dusting, storing or hanging, no matter how cute you think they are. If you know us well enough to give us a gift, you ought to know our preferences, hobbies and health needs. Here are a few ideas: Please give us some homemade rolls or cookies; batteries for our smoke detectors, flashlights or hearing aids; a certificate promising lawn care, gutter cleaning or dinner at your home; a contribution to our favorite charity; a gift certificate to a restaurant, play, concert or sporting event; postage stamps; a phone card for our long-distance calls; film for our camera; golf tees, drill bits, yarn, bird seed, garden gloves, fancy paper napkins or cut flowers (no potted plants, please). From our youngest grandchild, we would love a blank scrapbook for his artwork, some chocolate chips or walnuts to put in her favorite cookies, flower bulbs we can plant together in the spring, or school photos for our wallets. Ask us to teach you to sew or fly a kite. We would love any of the above. Our closets and dressers are jammed, but you may have noticed that my socks are getting thin and the dish towels need replacing. Maybe you have discovered a super gunk remover or a sponge that lasts longer than two weeks. Please, dear ones, do not add to our collection of gadgets and whatchamacallits. On the other hand, if a child or grandchild hopes to inherit one of our gadgets or whatchamacallits, please let us know. It would give us great pleasure to give it to him or her now. Please -- NO MORE STUFF. We will thank you from the bottom of our hearts for any gift, of course, but you really don't need to give anything but yourselves. -- JoAnne in Michigan

Dear JoAnne,
I could not have said it better. Thank you.

Tags: gifts

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

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People on one of my facebook groups were wondering what to get others who were having financial problems. I showed 'em this column. Margo, I miss your mom's columns. She was the best! (Also liked your columns, too BTW.) ---Fru-gal Lisa, admiringly.
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, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"Keep in mind that the true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good."
-Ann Landers