Office Santa delivers blue Christmas

DEAR AMY: I'd like your take on a situation at work. It is customary in our firm for bosses to give their assistants holiday presents at the end of the year. These gifts can range from hundreds of dollars in cash to significant gift cards, jewelry, etc.

One of my bosses approached me a few days before the holiday (after I had given him his gift) and asked me if I'd mind waiting until the following week for my present because he'd been "overwhelmed" lately.

Of course I told him not to worry and thought nothing of it.

A week after New Year's, he once again mentioned my "gift" and said he hadn't forgotten me but it was "not ready yet."

You see where I'm going with this. Valentine's Day passed and nothing.


This man can be absent-minded, and I'm wondering if he's simply forgotten me or if he never intended to give me a gift in the first place (although he has been generous in the past).

I'm wondering what I should say if the subject comes up again? What if it doesn't?

So far I've laughed it off, but I could really use the gift because we had no raises or bonuses this year.

Your witty advice would be appreciated. — Kathy

DEAR KATHY:Your letter illustrates one reason that I think giving substantial monetary gifts at the office is a terrible idea. You and your co-workers should be adequately compensated so you're not counting on your bosses' personal largess at the end of the year.

Because this is a personal gift and not a company-sanctioned bonus, you have no recourse when the gift doesn't happen. Nor should you bring it up to him.

If spring rolls around and your boss mentions his Christmas gift again (but doesn't produce it), you can say, "Well, one great way to celebrate Flag Day (June 14) would be for you to recommend me for a raise. That's the gift that keeps on giving, if you know what I mean."

DEAR AMY:I have just gone through a divorce after 21 years of marriage. It was not my idea and was very painful for me. My children seemed to deal with it better than I have.


My 19-year-old son lives with me, and my 16-year-old daughter lives with her mom.

Since the divorce, my daughter and I have become very distant. We always texted each other and everything seemed fine until recently. I have told her how much I loved her and she always replied that she loved me too. Now she will not communicate with me. We have not had any arguments or anything of that nature.

People have told me that it is her age and that teenagers do not want to hang out with their parents.

My son just tells me she is very busy. She is a straight-A student.

I keep texting her every night to say hi and goodnight.

Should I just wait it out and hope she will respond or confront her to see what is really going on? — Confused in Minnesota

DEAR CONFUSED:If your daughter's attitude toward you has changed, you can assume that she is going through a challenging period and is deliberately distancing herself.

She may feel guilty about your unhappiness, or pressure — real or imagined — about how to demonstrate her loyalty to her mother.


You should continue to text her, but no more than once a day. She could perceive any more as being overbearing. Don't query or blame her, and don't criticize her mother (though you can assume that mom may have a role in this). Work with your ex (if possible) to see what's going on at home.

You and your son should do everything possible to see your daughter in person.

Attend school events and celebrate her successes. Ask her to have lunch with you on her own. Don't view this as a confrontation but as an opportunity to say to her, "Honey, I'm worried about you. What's going on?"

DEAR AMY:"Concerned" was miffed at her colleagues for mooching coffee at the office.

I was known as the "office moocher" for helping myself to coffee that I assumed management had provided. The people involved were so passive-aggressive that I finally had to figure out on my own what the heck their problem was.

I sure wish they had just told me. It would have saved all of us some bad feelings. — Java James

DEAR JAMES: Exactly.

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