Dear Liz: I have to disagree with you on the gift cards. When you have a mother-in-law who responds to “What would you like for Christmas?” with a list of things not to buy, I think a gift card is in order. I have often taken the “not to buy” list and worked from that, but usually what I buy her then ends up on next year’s “not to buy” list. If not gift cards, then what?
Answer: How about a donation to a charity in her honor? She’ll hate it just as she hates every other gift you’ve gotten her, but at least you could get a tax deduction for your trouble.