A Gift Ungiven

A couple of my boyfriends are planning to throw their holiday party again this year. They’ve hosted a big party every year forever, but they didn’t get to have one last year, for obvious reasons. I know they’re planning to throw one again because they told me about it. Now, it appears that I’m not invited. The usual crowd have all gotten their email invites but not me. Because we’ve all been through such a tough time, I’ve already bought them a gift. I guess I’m left out, but I’ve already got the present. Tell me what to do with it.Anonymous, Hillsboro/West End

Your friends seem to have gotten your hopes up, maybe by mistake, but perhaps they’re confused, this time, about your email. That does happen. Unless there’s been an unpleasantness among you, there’s no reason to think that they’re picking on you by leaving you out. If you’re willing to take the risk, go ahead and ask to be asked, but know that you may be asking for trouble. Or go ahead and ask one of your friends, who you’re sure has made the cut, to check with the party boys to make sure they double-check their directory. That way, you’re almost sure to be added — if only as an afterthought. Now, however, you’re left with a present on your hands. If it’s nothing you can use and you can’t think of anybody else who’d want it, drop it off at your boyfriends’ house — not on the day of the party, of course. You intend well this year, so why wait? Your gift celebrates life getting back almost to normal, if only almost. Everybody may learn a little something from this experience. In the meantime, check your spam folder.

Passing Shot

I’m afraid my ex-girlfriend is going to give my parents a holiday gift, just like she did last year. She and I haven’t been in touch since I moved out a couple of years ago, and she wasn’t close at all to my folks, even when we were living together. Our breakup was nasty, but last year, the week before Christmas, a package showed up on their doorstep. It was a framed picture of the two of us. My parents didn’t know what to do. She may be planning to pull the same sort of trick again. How do I stop her?Anonymous, SoBro

The two of you obviously haven’t made a trip to the photographer’s studio in a while. You know her better than I do, but another photo is unlikely to show up this time around. Your parents got the frame, and they’ve probably done with it as they please. Doing nothing was just fine, too. That’s the easy solution to their dilemma and to yours. Your ex has no way of knowing what became of the frame or the photo. The picture, which may have been a little act of vengeance on her part, is unlikely to become an annual tradition. It’s time for you to let the past go, even if she can’t.