Arrow-right Camera


Father-in-law’s gifts are used junk

Tue., Aug. 28, 2012

Dear Annie: My father-in-law loves going to yard sales and likes to buy sale items for our home and our four sons. The problem is that we have limited space and don’t need all this junk. The toys tend to have a missing part or be partially broken, and the clothes have stains or holes.

My husband wants to simply accept the items because my father-in-law would otherwise be offended. But it upsets me that they give us so many used items. We just got back from a weeklong visit and were barraged with bags of these things. – Tired of Used Stuff

Dear Tired: Even used junk is a gift that requires a “thank you.” Please accept your father-in-law’s yard sale items with graciousness. He means well. Then throw them away as soon as you see a garbage can, give them to charity, fuse them into a garden sculpture or do whatever else you wish with them.

Dear Annie: “Frustrated in the Midwest,” who doesn’t want her parents to attend her children’s school events, comes across as very self-absorbed. I am 63 and was reared in a generation where we enjoyed our families. We included our parents in our lives. I cherish the memories of them sharing our children’s activities.

I have firsthand knowledge of this “new generation” attitude. My oldest son and daughter-in-law have banned me from seeing my grandchildren. My youngest daughter-in-law is downright rude to me. “Family time” is a thing of the past. If a Grandma wants to show love and concern, she is meddling. Merely calling to see if everyone is OK is intrusive. My generation will be passing away soon, and sadly, these kids will wake up too late, if at all. – One Frustrated Grandma

Please email your questions to


Click here to comment on this story »