Dollar limits on gifts and the thrifty giver

Dear Annie: With the upcoming gift season, I have a question regarding dollar limits set by clubs.

Say an amount is set at $10. Does that mean the gift value or the dollar amount spent on the gift? Recently, I had a coupon for candles that were “buy one, get one free.” This allowed me to purchase the $19 candles for $9.50. My friend said I should not give them at a $10-limit party because I would make other gifts look cheap. This has come up several times before. What should I do? The club parties are starting soon! — Anxious in Florida

Dear Anxious: Would your friend like to bring in appraisers on the day of the exchange to inspect every gift and ensure compliance? The fact is that it’s silly to try to stringently regulate the value of gifts in an exchange. As long as you’re respecting the spending limit (and not looking for loopholes, e.g., giving away an expensive possession that technically cost you nothing), you’re fine. Happy gifting.

Dear Annie: This is in response to the letter from “A Very Grateful Mom” and your answer to her.

Ten years ago, my 15-year-old son was walking home from school, when he was hit by a car driven by a 91-year-old man. It was a tragic accident, and my son died three days later. His father and I decided to donate his organs to see something positive come out of this tragedy. My son was generous and loved to give, so we wanted the end of his life to have meaning and have his giving spirit live on by donating his organs.

Several months after my son’s death, I received cards and letters from some of the recipients. The woman who received my son’s heart thanked us and let us know that she was now going to church and that she would now be able to see her own son get married. At that point in time, I wanted to just crawl into my son’s grave and die. I have never answered that woman, and I do not plan to. She must have forgotten that someone had died for her to live on. It was also a painful reminder that I would never see my own son get married.

I am appalled that “A Very Grateful Mom” was more or less complaining that the donor family had not contacted her. She should remember that in order for her own daughter not to have had to walk through death’s door, someone else’s child did.

There is no getting over the loss of a child. Time does not heal all wounds. Show some compassion and stop making demands on families. In other countries, contact between donor and recipient families is not permitted within the first year. Sadly, that is not the case in the United States. Please remind your readers to remember that organs come from people young and old, fellow human beings who were loved and belonged to families that will not celebrate another chance at life but will have to come to terms with death, grief and lives forever changed. — Grieving Mom

Dear Grieving Mom: I am so incredibly sorry for the loss of your son. It sounds as though he had a beautiful spirit. Your letter brought me to tears.

I do want to note that “A Very Grateful Mom” was not complaining that no one in the organ donor’s family had reached out; she just said that she hopes one day someone will so that she can properly thank the family. Your letter helps illuminate why that may not happen. Thank you for the insight.


Dear Annie is written by Annie Lane, a young, married mother of two. Send questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)