Dear Abby: Tips for buying gifts for teenage relatives

Posted: November 23, 2012

DEAR ABBY: I work in a store that is popular with teenagers. Every Christmas, parents and grandparents come in here with absolutely no clue what to get. Asking "What's popular right now?" doesn't help. (What's cool to one teen may be lame to another.) I'd like to offer a couple of tips to help clueless relatives select the right gifts for their teens.

(1) Bring a recent photo of her or him. We can tell a lot by looking. It will provide hints as to what kind of gift they may like.

(2) Copy a list of their "likes" from Facebook and bring it with you. It may mention books, music, movies or other interests that will make it easy to track down something they would enjoy.

- Valerie in Fort Worth

DEAR VALERIE: I'm sure many parents and grandparents will take your suggestions to heart. Santa isn't the only one who needs a "helper" at Christmastime.

DEAR ABBY: My wife died a few years ago. I live alone and have been a bachelor since then. Old friends have been kind enough to pass along the names and phone numbers of widows or divorcées they felt would be of interest to me. I have taken several of them out to dinner. Some were interesting, but for one reason or another we didn't have enough "chemistry" for me to call them for another date.

What is the considerate thing to do after having just one date? Should I call the person and say it was pleasant, but . . . ? Should I not call at all and move on? I feel guilty at times for not following up with some comment, as they were mostly nice women.

- Miami Widower

DEAR WIDOWER: Conversations such as this can be awkward, which is why many people avoid having them. Because you feel you "should" say something, a way to handle it would be to say you had a nice time, but you are still grieving and are not ready for a relationship. Chemistry is supposed to be mutual, so don't be surprised if some of the women aren't interested in pursuing a relationship with you, either. That's life.

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