Gift of holiday cookies is more curse than blessing

Dear Abby: Every year for the last 15 years or so, my husband’s sister has sent us a huge box of homemade cookies for Christmas. My husband is from a large family, and she does this for each family. I know it involves a great deal of time and effort on her part, and she sends them via priority mail, which means an additional expense.

The problem is, we don’t eat cookies. Weight is a concern for both of us, and I avoid sugar or sugar products as I don’t believe they are healthy. Before we retired, we took the cookies to work to get rid of them or they were thrown out.

Many years ago, I asked my mother-in-law what to do so as to not cause hard feelings. She advised, “Don’t say anything; she needs something to keep her busy.” I then asked a brother-in-law how he handled the unwanted cookies. He said, “Throw them away or give them away, but DON’T TELL HER.”

My SIL suffers from mild depression, and everyone tiptoes lightly around the issue to avoid upsetting her. I feel bad that she has spent time and money on these unwanted cookies all these years.

No one on that side of the family has ever said anything, and perhaps, many of them enjoy the cookies. Evidently even a carefully worded “thank you, but we can’t consume them” note would cause family problems. I tried not sending an acknowledgment; the cookies kept coming. What’s your suggestion?

— Sweet Problem in Connecticut

Dear Sweet Problem: I suggest you keep things the way they are. Your sister-in-law needs something to occupy her mind and give her a sense of purpose during a time of year when people can become depressed. Get creative. Those cookies might be appreciated by a church group, a residence for seniors or even holiday gifts for your neighbors.

Dear Abby: My 22-year-old daughter asked if her 23-year-old best friend could stay with us for six months. Her friend’s parents had to return to Europe to finish wrapping up some things and then would return for their citizenship appointments, so we agreed to the arrangement. Rent-free, because we are nice.

My daughter got a school offer in Houston and moved there in May. Now it’s just her best friend and us at the house. Well, COVID-19 happened, and the parents are banned from entering the U.S. They have asked us if she can stay until the ban is lifted, which who knows when this will happen.

We agreed, but now it’s November.

I miss my personal space, and I need her to move out. I feel she has overstayed. But I don’t know how to approach her or her family and say this arrangement will end soon. How should I handle this?

— Crowded in the South

Dear Crowded: You have been more than generous to your daughter’s best friend, and I hope your generosity has been appreciated not only by her but also her

Read more

Gift of Christmas cookies is more curse than blessing

DEAR ABBY: Every year for the last 15 years or so, my husband’s sister has sent us a huge box of homemade cookies for Christmas. My husband is from a large family, and she does this for each family. I know it involves a great deal of time and effort on her part, and she sends them via priority mail, which means an additional expense.

The problem is, we don’t eat cookies. Weight is a concern for both of us, and I avoid sugar or sugar products as I don’t believe they are healthy. Before we retired, we took the cookies to work to get rid of them or they were thrown out.

Many years ago, I asked my mother-in-law what to do so as to not cause hard feelings. She advised, “Don’t say anything; she needs something to keep her busy.” I then asked a brother-in-law how he handled the unwanted cookies. He said, “Throw them away or give them away, but DON’T TELL HER.”

My SIL suffers from mild depression, and everyone tiptoes lightly around the issue to avoid upsetting her. I feel bad that she has spent time and money on these unwanted cookies all these years.


No one on that side of the family has ever said anything, and perhaps, many of them enjoy the cookies. Evidently even a carefully worded “thank you, but we can’t consume them” note would cause family problems. I tried not sending an acknowledgment; the cookies kept coming. What’s your suggestion? — SWEET PROBLEM IN CONNECTICUT

DEAR SWEET PROBLEM: I suggest you keep things the way they are. Your sister-in-law needs something to occupy her mind and give her a sense of purpose during a time of year when people can become depressed. Get creative. Those cookies might be appreciated by a church group, a residence for seniors or even holiday gifts for your neighbors if you repackage them.

DEAR ABBY: My 22-year-old daughter asked if her 23-year-old best friend could stay with us for six months. Her friend’s parents had to return to Europe to finish wrapping up some things and then would return for their citizenship appointments, so we agreed to the arrangement. Rent-free, because we are nice.

My daughter got a school offer in Houston and moved there in May. Now it’s just her best friend and us at the house. Well, COVID-19 happened, and the parents are banned from entering the U.S. They have asked us if she can stay until the ban is lifted, which who knows when this will happen. We agreed, but now it’s November.

I miss my personal space, and I need her to move out. I feel she has overstayed. But I don’t know how to approach her or her family and say this arrangement will end soon. How should I handle this? — CROWDED IN THE SOUTH

DEAR CROWDED: You have been more than generous to your daughter’s best friend, and I hope your generosity has been appreciated not only by

Read more

Dear Abby: Gift of Christmas cookies is more curse than blessing

DEAR ABBY: Every year for the last 15 years or so, my husband’s sister has sent us a huge box of homemade cookies for Christmas. My husband is from a large family, and she does this for each family. I know it involves a great deal of time and effort on her part, and she sends them via priority mail, which means an additional expense.

The problem is, we don’t eat cookies. Weight is a concern for both of us, and I avoid sugar or sugar products as I don’t believe they are healthy. Before we retired, we took the cookies to work to get rid of them or they were thrown out.

Many years ago, I asked my mother-in-law what to do so as to not cause hard feelings. She advised, “Don’t say anything; she needs something to keep her busy.” I then asked a brother-in-law how he handled the unwanted cookies. He said, “Throw them away or give them away, but DON’T TELL HER.”

My SIL suffers from mild depression, and everyone tiptoes lightly around the issue to avoid upsetting her. I feel bad that she has spent time and money on these unwanted cookies all these years.

No one on that side of the family has ever said anything, and perhaps, many of them enjoy the cookies. Evidently even a carefully worded “thank you, but we can’t consume them” note would cause family problems. I tried not sending an acknowledgment; the cookies kept coming. What’s your suggestion? — SWEET PROBLEM IN CONNECTICUT

DEAR SWEET PROBLEM: I suggest you keep things the way they are. Your sister-in-law needs something to occupy her mind and give her a sense of purpose during a time of year when people can become depressed. Get creative. Those cookies might be appreciated by a church group, a residence for seniors or even holiday gifts for your neighbors if you repackage them.

** ** **

DEAR ABBY: My 22-year-old daughter asked if her 23-year-old best friend could stay with us for six months. Her friend’s parents had to return to Europe to finish wrapping up some things and then would return for their citizenship appointments, so we agreed to the arrangement. Rent-free, because we are nice.

My daughter got a school offer in Houston and moved there in May. Now it’s just her best friend and us at the house. Well, COVID-19 happened, and the parents are banned from entering the U.S. They have asked us if she can stay until the ban is lifted, which who knows when this will happen. We agreed, but now it’s November.

I miss my personal space, and I need her to move out. I feel she has overstayed. But I don’t know how to approach her or her family and say this arrangement will end soon. How should I handle this? — CROWDED IN THE SOUTH

DEAR CROWDED: You have been more than generous to your daughter’s best friend, and I hope your generosity has been appreciated

Read more

Has COVID-19 Come As a Blessing For the Working Women?

There are three aspects of the ongoing pandemic that has the potential of benefiting the working women, or those who were working till about recently and would like to rebadge

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!


5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


You’re reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Eckhart Tolle in his book, A New Earth, notes, “All life-forms need obstacles and challenges in order to evolve.” Can the ongoing pandemic just be the one for our generation? It can possibly be, at least at a personal level, for it has bought about a fundamental shift in one’s lifestyle.  The rapidity of change and human adaptation can only be gauged from the following statement made by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.” And most of you would agree with Nadella—whether it be about working from home, getting your kids to cope up with their online classes, or securing the next customer in your rather taxing entrepreneurial journey. Of all the demographics, one particularly interesting and enormously impacted one is the working women, and especially the working mothers. While COVID-19 has brought its share of hardships for this segment of the society and economy, it has also come as a blessing in disguise, and this article highlights a few of those.

There are three aspects of the ongoing pandemic that has the potential of benefiting the working women, or those who were working till about recently and would like to rebadge. Firstly, it’s to do with a growing sense of empathy in the male counterparts on what it takes to run a family. Secondly, the construct of working from home has significantly lowered the entry barrier for women to re-join the mainstream workforce without being pushed to make difficult trade-offs. Thirdly, the rapid digitization and pervasiveness of digital technology has opened up the long-tail of demand which can be addressed by the long-tail of supply, leading to a greater democratization of opportunities. Let me explain each element in detail.

When you were first forced to work from home, around the months of February and March 2020 what was it like? Frustrating is an understatement. There were seismic changes on multiple fronts—work, health, wellbeing, schooling, travel, shopping, vacations, hobbies, and most importantly personal and family life. Almost all of us took time to adjust to this new way of living, and several are still coping up to the extended reality. One particular upside of this disruption is that the male members of the family could appreciate what it is to be at home and attempt to work amid the numerous household chores which were conveniently outsourced, delegated, or divided, and which must be self-managed now. Even the working women felt the heat as there weren’t maids to fall back on, and a new set of skills must be picked up. This led

Read more

‘A Blessing’ Aims to Be More Than ‘Lean In’ for Black Women

(Bloomberg) — “I don’t lean in. I list from side to side.” That was my immediate response to “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” written by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, and Nell Scovell in 2013. “Lean In” quickly became a watchword for business women. We were supposed to take risks. Demand a seat at the table. Speak up and be heard. 

Now a new book is offering women of color another direction. Don’t lean. Team.

The trouble with the lean-in premise is that it overlooked what Black women like me already knew—something that’s been confirmed time and again, mostly recently in this year’s “State of Black Women in Corporate America” report by McKinsey & Co. and Leanin.org, the organization Sandberg founded: Black women are less likely than White women to have managers who promote their work, advocate for them or give them leadership responsibilities.  

So my own dismissive reaction to “Lean In” spoke to that deeper truth. As former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama summed it up while on her 2018 book tour, as she spoke about the struggle to have and do it all: “It’s not always enough to lean in, because that s— doesn’t work.” 

The weakness in the case for leaning in is that the actions of women alone do little to alter the biases and obstacles in existing corporate power structures. In short, it’s not women who need to change but the organizations where they work.

Moreover, women who seem to take charge may be rewarded in some settings, but just as often they can be disenfranchised or penalized. Women who ask for raises, for example, are less likely to get them than men who do, research has found. This is doubly so for Black women, who run the risk of being perceived as aggressive or angry when they try to take leadership roles.

So when word of “A Blessing: Women of Color Teaming Up to Lead, Empower and Thrive” (published by Wordeee, Oct. 15)  crossed my desk, it caught my eye. Teaming up. Is that leaning in for Black women? The book, written by Bonita C. Stewart and Jacqueline Adams, is billed as a “playbook” for successful Black women. It explores the challenges and rewards of professional growth for Black women whose whirlwind lives of family, graduate school, promotions, stagnation and success seemed familiar.

Adams explained the book’s title: “We’re rare beings like unicorns—Black women in corporate settings. It turns out a collective of unicorns is called a blessing.”

Adams and Stewart are themselves unicorns. Adams was the first Black female White House correspondent, covering the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, for CBS News. Stewart, meanwhile, is the first Black vice president at Google, rising in the White, male-dominated tech world.

Their collaboration stems from their time at Harvard Business School. Both were featured in the school’s 2013 commemoration of 50 years of women in the masters program. Stewart had written in her reunion bio at the time:

Read more