I can be as gracious as the next person when it comes to accepting a poorly-thought-out gift, but today I have to say that some gifts are definitely more about the giver than the recipient.
My mother gave me "a big and generous" Christmas present. It's a $100 gift certificate for Southwest Airlines. I've been lamenting for over a year how I never get to take a real vacation. On the surface, it seemed like a generous gesture, certainly. Then I read the accompanying note: "Use this to buy a ticket to come see me."
So, it's really a gift for her, not for me at all.
Besides the fact that I don't consider a visit to family to be an actual, bona fide vacation at all, the relevant thing here is that I've always made it clear that I have the money to buy a ticket to Florida--I just don't have time to go except for spring break, and then it's just too expensive, period. I get no paid vacation days at my job. None. Zero. No paid holidays, either. No work, no pay. Traveling during my unpaid vacations when the program is closed limits me to going to Florida in mid-August or going during spring break (the latter usually requiring an airfare of about $500).
Frank says I should just thank my mother and tell her that when I find a $100 fare that coincides with a work closure, I'll fly down to Florida.
My mother is a manipulator, too. One Christmas, after my husband and I had changed places and I was working full time and he was staying home with the kids, my mother gave him a wallet and me a vacuum cleaner.
I like Frank's idea for handling the situation.
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