AuntBossy2015Grand Gifts & Facebook Fun

Dear Aunt Bossy,

I am at my wit’s end over gifts for my grandchildren. They need nothing material, and I don’t want to add to the clutter in their house. On the other hand, I do want to celebrate their birthdays and holidays. What should I do?

Loving Grandma

Dear LG.

I agree. This is a problem.

            Children do not need to learn to equate stuff with love. And, it will eventually have to be recycled, using time and effort to get rid of things that will no doubt have sentimental value.

            Books and music are a sure thing. Edibles are good, too. I also love the idea of “adopting” a goat or a cow. This can be done through Sanctuary One or the World Animal Foundation. There are other organizations that handle this wonderful process, and it can be done as a foster parent, providing food and care for an animal, or providing a child or village in need with a source of milk. (I am not mentioning meat for obvious reasons!)

            Another great gift is stationary and cards with a pen and postage. You might also encourage a “pen pal” by introducing the child to another country and helping to find someone with whom to correspond. This gives you the opportunity for future gifts –a globe, a DVD about that country, and, eventually even an airplane ticket.

            Activities are the best! If you live nearby, take the child out to lunch and to the theater or a museum.

            Be the “crazy grandma.” Plan a picnic in winter and get someone to build a fire to huddle around and roast marshmallows for s’mores. Go for a boatride. Take lessons together. (If you go to one of those wine and paint things, you get the kid’s portion of wine!)

            Think about what you love or loved to do when you were younger, and do it with your grandchild now.

            Whatever you do, make sure the little one knows that a thank-you note is required. Period. You don’t have to insist yourself, but can delegate the insistence to the parent. If you brought him or her up properly, it will be obvious!

            Good luck and have fun. You are creating history!

Love, Aunt Bossy

Dear Aunt Bossy,

Facebook? That is the question.



Dear Wondering,

I love Facebook. However, it is horribly misused.

            Any narcissistic tendency you have will be exposed in ruthless detail. Please understand we do not need to know everything you had to eat, and proof that you change clothes almost every day.

            Do not use it to bully people to “like” or “share” things that are important to you. If you make your cause sound interesting or worthy enough, they will volunteer to do that.

            Do not expect to change anyone’s mind about politics, no matter how rational and well informed you are.

            Do use it to amuse and inform those who care about you. I liken it to a wonderful cocktail party where I can move about, talk to everyone, find out what is going on with them, and leave the very second I feel like it.

            I find it to be an intimate venue. Even when people are posturing, they are showing you who they are. It is fascinating. I’ve also made life-long friends I have yet to meet in person. This is not my imagination. These are people who step up to the plate when I need help, and I do the same for them.

            Facebook is just like life. You make it what it is.

            The main message is don’t be boring and be sincere and as real as possible, given that you are human.

            And, “Friend” me, ok?


Aunt Bossy is Susan Murphy, an internationally known Communication Skills Coach who adores spending every winter and spring in Beaufort. Ask for advice at

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