DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I’m already depressed about Christmas. Last year, we resolved not to spend as much money or get so busy, but I can already tell that it’s not going to happen. How we can make Christmas what it ought to be, instead of this rat race? — E.J.
DEAR ABBY: My parents and sister live three hours away, so my family stays with me when they come to town. Over the last few years, I noticed things began to disappear from my home. They are usually small and portable — earrings, in particular. The idea of someone stealing from me was very upsetting. When I mentioned it to my sister, she suggested that it could be our housekeeper.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: As the assistant for one of the executives at my company, I routinely answer his phone with, “Good morning/afternoon, this is John Doe’s office.” I even have a note on the phone reminding me to smile before picking up, because I know that people can tell the difference (strange, but true).
DEAR ABBY: Im the proud mother of four beautiful children a daughter, a son and 8-year-old twin boys. I am having a hard time getting people to understand that my boys, whom I rarely refer to as twins, are two SEPARATE people!
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Im in the county jail for the third time this year, once again for something minor. Each time, Ive said Im going to do better, but then I get sucked into doing something wrong and end up back here. Why am I such a weak person? Im about to give up on myself. R.T.
DEAR ABBY: I have been with my fiance since 2006. We expected to be married in 2008, but my grandmother died a month before my wedding, and then he was arrested because of charges stemming from a sexual relationship hed had with a 17-year-old girl he had been counseling.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My neighbors were kind enough to help me with a large household problem. To demonstrate my gratitude, I baked a cake and took it to their house two days later.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Sometimes my faith is so weak Im not even sure its still there. Is this common? D.L.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 38-year-old woman who has been dating a 41-year-old man for seven months. Hes wonderful and treats me magnificently. We have similar values and interests and are very much in love. Sadly, although I have always wanted children, he does not.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: How can one know if she is talking too much or being talkative? I like to think Im funny and engaging, that I tell a good story and am an entertaining guest and hostess.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I know you say were all sinners and we all fail to live up to Gods moral standards, but maybe He doesnt even care what we do. Maybe God just wants us to be happy and have a good time. Could I be right? I hope so. J.M.
DEAR ABBY: I recently went on a business trip that required me to share meals with my co-workers. I became the target of criticism from them over my eating habits because I like to eat my dessert first. It doesnt keep me from eating the rest of the meal; I just do it in a different order than most people.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I dont fear death because I believe that after I die Ill come back to Earth again and be born as another person. Why are Christians so opposed to this idea? Other religions dont have a problem with it. H.K.
DEAR ABBY: I have been seeing my boyfriend, Casey, for a year. He has said throughout our courtship that we could get married in four to five years. Over the past couple of months, he has become distant and less romantic. I drive four hours to see him almost every week, and he seems fine then, but when were apart, he rarely texts me and seems disinterested.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I just turned 80, and Ive gotten along just fine all these years without God. Youll probably tell me I ought to be worrying about death and hell and all of that, but I dont believe in life after death. Why should I? People who try to convert me make me tired. D.J.
DEAR ABBY: My fiancee and I are getting married next summer. Last summer, my closest friend a woman was murdered. Her husband was charged with the crime. Both of them were to be a part of the wedding party. The husband, Frank, was to be my best man.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My 7-year-old daughter has two friends from the same family who live down the street. I am not friendly with their mother at all, although I have met her before. She is a single parent with seven children in the household, ranging from 6 to 15 years old.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I know Jesus said were supposed to forgive people whove hurt us, but why bother? As far as I can tell, it doesnt really change them. P.L.
DEAR ABBY: A friend of mine faked a pregnancy to get a man to stay with her. Once he moved in, she told him shed had a miscarriage. She even went so far as to name this so-called baby. He now has the babys name tattooed on his arm! She goes on Facebook and talks about how she misses her little baby boy and counts every month as though it is his birthday. Every time I read it I get a sick feeling.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Im dreading Thanksgiving this year. Its been a hard year for me, and when all our family gets together Ill just feel like a hypocrite pretending Im thankful for anything. Im even wondering if I ought to go. What would you say to someone like me? Z.B.
DEAR ABBY: I was married to a man who ruled my every move. After years of torture and abuse, I finally became frightened enough to leave. Since then I have met a wonderful, caring, loving man I wouldnt trade for the world. He treats me with kindness, respect and love. He makes me laugh and smile and appreciate life. I am allowed to be myself and function how I will. I am happier than I have ever been.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: How does one socialize politely with ones in-laws when they are involved in activities that I find immoral and are, at times, illegal? I try to steer the conversation away from the illicit activities by asking questions about my husbands childhood, inquiring after their health, asking to hear about the latest antics of their pets, etc.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: On the outside, everyone thinks Im good Im active in our churchs youth group, have no bad habits, etc. But sometimes I cant wait to get away from home and leave all this behind. I know its probably wrong, but can you understand how I feel? K.F.
DEAR ABBY: May I address a question you printed on July 24? Where Are the Good Guys? has trouble meeting men and wrote about seeking sexual partners on Craigslist. You answered that there were no good men there.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is proper holiday dinner conversation when the age ranges and marital statuses are mixed?