I have a poor single mom, who loves gift-giving and is terrible at it. Growing up, she would scrimp and save leading up to Christmas to buy gifts I would inevitably hate but pretend to like so as not to hurt her feelings. I have tried to ask her to use her money for necessities or donate to charity, but she insists on buying me gifts. When I got accepted to college, she bought me a $200 poorly-fitting (to the point of being inappropriate) dress, and I cried for hours in my room. Now I’m a grad student in a tiny apartment, and I don’t have space for my necessities, never mind expensive stuff that my mom can’t afford and I don’t want. I know I’m being ungrateful, but I’m sick of feeling so distressed around the holidays. Is there a way to get her to stop without hurting her feelings?
— Guilty Gift-Hater