A weekly series in which our expert in all things everything solves life’s conundrums, big and small.  Got a problem that could use a no-nonsense perspective?  Tell it to the Co-It-All at voice@intheco.com

We had a family dinner over the weekend, and my brother (who is five years older than me with waaaaaaay more money) suggested that rather than exchange Christmas gifts this year, we should take the money that we would have spent on presents and donate it to a Syrian refugee charity that his friend started. I know this sounds incredibly selfish, but I resent the fact that he made this big announcement without consulting me and also—I want presents! Am I a horrible person?

Picture it, Whoville, 1957: Christmas morning and an evil green man in a stolen Santa suit stares down at singing townspeople…

Assuming you know your Dr. Seuss, you know where I’m going here. And assuming you are not a horrible person—if you were, you would have told your brother to stick his bleeding heart where the snow don’t fall—you also know that the holiday season is about more than presents. And that it’s better to give than receive. And that there are people in the world who would kill for the food and shelter and charitable-if-domineering sibling that your letter describes.

Okay, now that we have the Tiny Tim preamble out of the way, let’s talk presents. Because, to answer your question—of course, it is possible to be both a decent human being and also to be as excited about presents as, well—a kid on Christmas morning feels like an apt comparison. Speaking of, I’m guessing you have a lot of cherished seasonal memories that take place around the Christmas tree: The way your dad did the Santa voice in the Night Before Christmas, or how you and your brother would tiptoe downstairs before sunrise for a sneak peak at the splendour. Okay now, think fast: do you even remember what you got last year?

You don’t, do you?

Don’t get me wrong. Your indignation is understandable. I’m just guessing that it’s not about presents. Regardless of the fact that his heart was in the right place, he did sort of hijack the holiday plan. And maybe I’m making inaccurate assumptions about his heart. For all I know big brother is bossy and self-righteous and this whole let’s donate to charity thing is his way of having something to brag about at the office party, while avoiding the hassle of holiday shopping. Hell, maybe your brother carries around a pitchfork and hides his cloven hoofs in $500 brogue, but (big but here)…

None of that matters to the people on the receiving end, should your family decide to go ahead and donate money to a good cause. Is protesting this objectively wonderful idea really the mountain you want to die on? I don’t think so. So maybe this is an occasion where you suck it up and allow the spirit of the season to warm your heart (even if that means no new Drake for Canada Goose puffer coat to warm your keister).

Still not convinced? In that case, why not pen a family-wide email in which you praise big brother’s charity suggestion, but suggest (read: insist) on a Secret Santa-style exchange, so that the everyone has one gift to open on Christmas morning. Volunteer to organize and follow up immediately with assignment notes, making sure that your brother is giving to you. Then another email making him aware of the top hit on your wish list. You could sign off with, “I know it’s a lot, but as you reminded us all this year—Christmas it a time for giving.”