At what point if ever do you stop giving nieces and nephews christmas presents

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Posted 11/27/2011 by happeawife in NSBR Board
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PeaNut 107,627
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Posted: 11/27/2011 10:36:04 PM
So here is the back story:

My SIL is VERY vocal about what to buy and not buy her kids for Christmas. Even from a very young age the list has included cash and gift cards. No real items. Oh and if you don't follow the list she will be calling you for a gift receipt or original receipt to return the item.

Last year my niece was 19. My SIL sent out an email about how her DD was going to school part time and working part time so we should still consider her as one of the children and she deserved presents. She sent out a wish list and all that was on it was cash. Cause she is grown up and very hard to buy for.

Today we received the yearly email wish list for my niece and nephew. Again niece is now twenty and the only item is cash again with the she's a grown up and hard to buy for. Nephew, beyblades, cash and gift cards.

Now this niece I have seen twice in the last year. We don't speak otherwise.

I think what irritates me most is the being told I have to buy her a gift but then the gift is cash and we have little to do with each other.

There is a lot more to the back story but it would be a book. And for the record I did stop buying for another nephew at 18. And to be fair these are not my actual niece and nephew(the older ones, the one wanting beyblades is my DH's nephew by blood) they are step kids to my husbands siblings.

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PeaNut 236,282
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Posted: 11/27/2011 10:40:50 PM
In our family it stops at 18. After that they will get a card for their birthdays, but they will no longer receive gifts unless it is a special occasion such as graduation, wedding or baby.


PeaNut 18,334
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Posted: 11/27/2011 10:42:43 PM
Decide what you feel is the right cut off age... step or not. Then abide by it. If it is 18 then when SIL says "again with the she's a grown up and hard to buy for. " Tell her she is right, niece IS a grown up and therefore doesn't get a gift.She can't have it both ways.

But, imo, make sure you are treating all nieces/nephews the same. In our family the cut off for extended family is 13 when inexpensive toys stop being on the list.

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PeaNut 346,032
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Posted: 11/27/2011 10:42:55 PM
We stop when they are 18 and/or graduated from high school. Only exception is my cousin's daughter, who is also my goddaughter. She is 19 and gets birthday and Christmas presents, and other things too. Her parents are the only ones of my cousins with whom we exchange gifts, but it's always done separately, not at a big family gathering.

My brother has two stepkids, who were 10 and 13 when they became part of the family. I stopped with them when the younger one turned 18; that way they both got presents from me for the same number of years.


PeaNut 72,529
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Posted: 11/27/2011 10:44:00 PM
If you don't feel like buying presents, then just stop! I think 18 is a fair age to stop sending presents to relatives you don't really know or spend time with.

I still send cash to my 19 and 17 year old nieces, but I haven't seen them in years. I will probably stop soon... maybe when they get out of university. And truthfully, if someone was 'telling' me to send cash, I would just stop out of pigheadedness.


PeaNut 107,627
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Posted: 11/27/2011 10:48:36 PM
That is my thought. 18. But when the family was told to buy niece a gift we all did not to ruffle feathers. I had said I would not get her a gift this year. Then the email came. With my other nephew since he lives at home I put his name on the small basket we make for each family.

I do feel that other members of the family do have a double standard that I want to avoid.

I might have to put on my big girl panties and let her know we won't be buying a gift for my niece this year.

It's compromise that moves us along!

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PeaNut 182,236
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Posted: 11/27/2011 10:51:28 PM
When they have graduated from High School they are put into the adult gift giving section. I would totally ignore her email.



PeaNut 55,742
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Posted: 11/27/2011 10:53:13 PM
My nephews are 19, 18, and 15. I plan to continue to buy for them. Especially if we are celebrating the holiday together.

I think the way your SIL words things is extremely rude but I do agree that sometimes cash is the best gift for nephews/nieces. I don't buy a lot for my nephews but I do enjoy buying for them. They've grown up without a lot and I really love getting them something they like, or even cash or a gift card they can use. I know they appreciate it!!!

One of my nephews is getting married next year. This year I bought his fiancee slippers, it's what she asked for. Next year I will most likely buy them a together gift. Something for the home or a gift card to go out.

My rule of thumb is you should only buy what you are comfortable with. If you don't want to buy for them you shouldn't feel obligated. Gifts come from the heart.

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PeaNut 21,328
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Posted: 11/27/2011 10:53:26 PM
When the gift demands are for cash I would stop gift giving. I think 18 is a fair cut off for nieces or nephews. She cannot be an adult and a child depending on what works to her benefit.

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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:01:02 PM
In our family, you're a kid until you graduate high school. Then you draw names with the adults. My oldest will be a grown-up next year and will hopefully be a college student. He will participate in the adults' gift exchange.

As a side note-
He has cerebral palsy so we are prepared to support him through school so that he can save his energy for study. I am sure we will purchase the gifts that he gives to whomever he draws.



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PeaNut 30,248
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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:04:34 PM
Yah, when she is asking only for cash I think she's out. LOL In my husbands family we used to buy for everyone, then we cut back to the little kids. When we cut back to little kids SIL & I were the only ones who had kids. The aunt & uncle (who have 2 adult children) would give presents to our kids. Last year their daughter had the first grandchild on that side. So SIL & I plus MIL all bought for the baby (ie: 3 presents for the baby) but there was only 1 present for our kids (ie: no presents from the babie's parents). Now this year we are here wondering do SIL & I buy for the baby or is it one family gift to each kid?

I hate this stuff, it's uncomfortable to ask what people want to do or how they feel about stuff because you risk hurting feelings.


PeaNut 131,952
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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:07:03 PM
My extended family decided to stop the christmas present madness years ago. No regrets from anyone. It was the best decision we made. My parents, because they are the grandparents and have enough spending money, still give each grandchild either a gift if they are young or cash if they are teens.

One of my nieces is 5 years older than the next niece or nephew in
the family and she stopped receiving birthday gifts at 18. Since
then, the rest of us decided it was getting too difficult to buy
for the teens in the family other than cash, so we lowered the age
to approx 10 years or their 5th grade year in school.

Good luck to you. It's a hard cycle to break. My sister is in your
same situation with her inlaws ,only there are two of them, ages 20 and 21. I'm hoping she gets the balls to cut them off this year as they
just don't have the extra money to buy their $150 and up wish list items.

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PeaNut 51,257
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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:07:04 PM
We are only ever going to have 2 nieces and nephews on both sides of the family, so I am going to continue to buy gifts for them forever probably. My nephew is 21 and I am spending the same amount I have always spent on him.

If your SIL is a hard person to deal with, I just would give the niece as little an amount as I could get away with to avoid ticking her off. I don't like family drama though.


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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:08:53 PM
I have single adult in laws darn near 50 who still want gifts, so there is no age limit on the gifts. For those extended family members expecting gifts, send them a homemade or dressed up jar of jelly, jam, or relish - something on that line with a card. That way, they will know that there will never be any type of lavish showering of cash coming from your way.


PeaNut 30,073
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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:11:41 PM
Since your niece is adult now, I would discontinue gift giving.
If you feel you need to give niece a gift, then give a practical gift, a gift card for $10.00 to a grocery store or gas station gift card.


PeaNut 66,738
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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:14:40 PM
When they stop saying Thank You. My oldest godson (19) didn't say boo for his present last year. So he got no birthday gift, and won't be getting anything this year. I work too hard for my money to throw it away on someone who doesn't appreciate it.



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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:15:24 PM
We stopped at 18.


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PeaNut 158,336
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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:20:53 PM
In our family, we don't even buy for the nieces and nephews. There are none on my side and DH has something like 27, so it's always been the family tradition that only parents buy for their own children.

Long story short, we stopped buying for the one sibling and children that we previously did because of a lack of even an acknowledgment that the gifts were received.

This year the "family" got a wreath sent to "The ____ Family." And it will probably be the last year that there's any gift at all because I'm quite sure there won't be an acknowledgment this year either.

It was my way of phasing it out without completely stopping immediately.



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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:23:31 PM
We stopped giving to our nieces and nephews the year before last. They are all quite spoiled, have more stuff than they know what to do with and treat it like crap because of that. That last year we gave gifts I took some serious time and made wall hangings for my sisters 2 kids. I went to visit a few months later and found them both being used as carpets at the foot of their bunk bed ladders, dingy and beat up looking. I know that it is their gift to do with what they please, but it is also my time and money and we just felt it was wasted because they don't care or notice. (there have been other incidents as well to show this to us)

Imo, if you no longer enjoy giving a gift to this girl then I'd stop. I just think it defeats the purpose of christmas spirit and has become a guilt issue or an unpleasant obligation.


PeaNut 307,675
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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:23:55 PM
We stopped buying for nieces and nephewsa few years ago and it has been wonderful. I think 18 would be a cut off.

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PeaNut 308,186
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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:24:19 PM
Age 18. I would ignore the e-mail. But then again I'm wicked and probably would've ignored all cash requests from the beginning and forced regular ol' gifts on them


PeaNut 107,627
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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:24:23 PM
At least I am not alone with my thoughts on this. Thanks Peas

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PeaNut 60,578
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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:28:52 PM

And to be fair these are not my actual niece and nephew(the older ones, the one wanting beyblades is my DH's nephew by blood) they are step kids to my husbands siblings.
Quit buying a gift for her based on her age and lack of contact, not based on "well, she's not even blood." She's still family so treat her the way you woud blood nieces and nephews.

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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:39:26 PM
In DH's family we all got freaked out by the volume of gifts by the time we hit 10 nieces/ nephews/ cousins. We do a gift exchange just drawing names for kids and that is all. Each family draws as many names as kids they have. Makes our family holiday gatherings much more manageable. This year we have the first kid out of high school so I guess we need to decide if she's still in the exchange!

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PeaNut 51,751
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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:40:45 PM
My nieces are 25, 21, 15 and 13, and I'll continue to buy for them -- and probably add their significant others when those come along, too...


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Posted: 11/27/2011 11:59:42 PM
You see these kids twice a year and are being ordered to buy them gifts!! Wow - that's one pushy SIL you have.

Whether niece lives at home or not is irrelevant, she's legally been an adult for 2 years and if it were me, presents would have stopped then. I'd be stopping it as from today - no present\money for adult neices. For the younger boy, you'll probably have to keep giving until he's the same age so he gets the same as his sister.

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Posted: 11/28/2011 12:06:26 AM
18, 19 under some circumstances. if you are still getting gifts at 19 from aunts & uncles it is something small (a new set of gloves, a hat/scarf, maybe perfume). MAYBE a check from the grandparents. otherwise you are done at 18 pretty much!


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PeaNut 40,938
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Posted: 11/28/2011 12:15:01 AM
I guess our family is the exception. We still give to our nieces and nephews AND their children. My oldest niece is 33, she still gets a gift from us. I want to give to her.

But we don't buy for our siblings. I buy for my sister's children and grands but not my sisters or dh's sibs, only their kids.

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PeaNut 169,795
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Posted: 11/28/2011 12:36:08 AM

In our family it stops at 18. After that they will get a card for their birthdays, but they will no longer receive gifts unless it is a special occasion such as graduation, wedding or baby.


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PeaNut 59,094
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Posted: 11/28/2011 12:56:41 AM
With them, and what you describe, I'd stop.

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Posted: 11/28/2011 2:31:55 AM
We quit exchanging with siblings once we all had kids. The kids fall off the list once they graduate from high school. Although the youngest one (and last one we were gifting) fell off at 13. She (and her mother, who is my sister) were demanding specific gifts, getting upset if they weren't received and never bothering to acknowledge receipt of the packages that were mailed, much less a thank you. I finally said to heck with it.

This would be the same sister who refused to recognize my DD's high school graduation. A gift was not necessary, but a quick email or card saying congratulations should have been sent. At some point you just realize you can't continue to be bullied into giving what they want and clearly do not appreciate. I'd like to say this sister was raised by wolves, but we grew up in the same house with the same parents.

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PeaNut 159,334
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Posted: 11/28/2011 2:45:16 AM
It's hard to say. I have a niece who is 23 and on her own, and I still buy her gifts like my other nieces and nephews, but her sister is 21 but married with 2 kids, and I now buy for her kids rather than her. I do give each family baked goods, but our families decided long ago that adults get homemade gifts (usually baked goods) and we only buy gifts for the "kids".

I figured that once the kids got married and made kids of their own, they qualified as adults, but I still don't know what to do with the 23 year old, or my other niece who is 18 and in college. I still intend to get them gifts this year.

It doesn't break the bank -- we have family limit agreement of $15 maximum per gift per kid. There are so many kids in the next family generation that it seemed prudent to set the limit to avoid having people struggling to buy gifts. To me, it is more of a challenge to find something for each kid that they'd want for under $15. The younger kids are easier -- toys come in all price ranges. Sometimes, I just get giftcards for the older kids.

I wouldn't take kindly to an email telling me that a grown adult still "deserved" gifts, though. I give my nieces and nephews gifts because I decide to, not because my family tells me I must.



PeaNut 172,235
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Posted: 11/28/2011 3:01:30 AM

And truthfully, if someone was 'telling' me to send cash, I would just stop out of pigheadedness

I'd feel that way too.

Between us we've decided on 21 as the cut off mainly because we forgot to stop at 18


PeaNut 375,830
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Posted: 11/28/2011 3:20:19 AM
My niece is 29 and my nephew is 31 and I spend more on them now than when they were kids only because I want to. We are a very close family and I know that we will never stop.

My sister never even suggests what I am to buy them however. And if she did I would probably do the opposite!

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Posted: 11/28/2011 3:33:21 AM
I love my neices and nephews to the moon and back. It's been years since I got any of them a present. I love them all. They range in age from 19 to 1 (there are 17). We decided as a group we just can't afford to buy presents for everyone. I'm down to just buying a present for my Nan. She is my last surviving grandparent. This works well for everyone. We can focus on being together, not on the stuff.

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Posted: 11/28/2011 3:48:50 AM
Your question prompts me to ask something that's been bugging me for a long time: Since when did Christmas gift giving (to anyone) become an obligation? I believe that the the tradition of gift-giving during the holidays comes from the heart; gifts are a physical demonstration of your love, appreciation, respect for another person.

Working from this perspective and given the scenario you laid out, I think you should skip the gift-giving to the nieces and nephews this year.

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Posted: 11/28/2011 3:55:38 AM
out of high school - out of presents. I may do a cookie tray for the older ones if I have time and extra cookies but it is not a given.

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PeaNut 163,613
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Posted: 11/28/2011 3:57:35 AM
I wouldn't be buying/giving gifts to niece and nephew. I font ever want to be told I have to give something. Gift giving is from the heart, not an obligation.
Your niece is old enough to get it too.

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PeaNut 128,304
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Posted: 11/28/2011 5:06:29 AM
I still receive Christmas gifts from my Aunts/Uncles and I am 32! But since we were about 14/15 my sister and I have bought gifts for them as well.


PeaNut 39,832
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Posted: 11/28/2011 5:14:06 AM
My oldest DD is still going to get big gifts from my siblings, which I was a little surprised by. I had thought that they would stop when she graduated from college, but it appears that that's not their cut-off age. I'm okay with that if that's what they want to do. If I had any nieces or nephews, I wouldn't be giving gifts after college.

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PeaNut 304,110
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Posted: 11/28/2011 6:20:55 AM
For me, nieces and nephews is easy. What drives me crazy about the nieces and nephews is not even the birthdays, but for ours it is a gift for valentine's day, easter, halloween, etc.

How about gifts for cousins? That drives me crazy. If you remember my big fat greek wedding, well that is pretty much my husband's family. He has 13 first cousins and we get invited to all of their birthdays...and the latest one just turned 21.

I have approached DH about this a zillion times and he is pressured by the wrath of his mama. I've gone up against her a number of times about it, to which I receive the impolite response of, "dear, you just aren't Italian and don't know how things are SUPPOSED to be. It is about respect honey". GRRRRRRRR

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PeaNut 141,330
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Posted: 11/28/2011 6:21:13 AM
We stopped when they graduated High School.
I just buy a toy for my great-nephew who is 8.
Our Christmas is more about the food and being together now...and no one really has extra money for gifts anyway. Makes it so much easier and stress free.

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PeaNut 59,875
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Posted: 11/28/2011 6:45:15 AM
This thread totally makes me feel conflicted.

My daughter is 19. She is the oldest grandchild on each side by several years (my side by 4 years, my dh's side by 8 years). Because of this, she was the only child receiving presents from grandparents, as well as from aunts and uncles (of which there are several) for quite a few years.

Now, I have 3 nephews and 3 nieces on my side (ranging from 3 to 14) and we draw names for the kids. On my husband's side, I have 1 nephew and 3 nieces (ages 7, 8, 9 and 11). I have wanted to draw names for awhile with them and this weekend, I finally suggested it because my sister-in-law's boyfriend also has a teenage daughter (14yo) and I would like to include her in the gift exchange. Well, that suggestion fell really, really flat. One of the sisters-in-law said, "I already bought presents." The other said nothing at all. So I just said, "OK, it's just something we do on my side, I guess we'll just keep doing what we've been doing."

I think 18 or 21 is a great cut-off point. But at the same time, I would feel bad for my daughter because she would be the only niece or nephew for several years not receiving anything from aunts and uncles. It is not my decision. I don't ask anyone to give her gifts and I give gift suggestions for her only if I am asked.


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PeaNut 43,061
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Posted: 11/28/2011 6:55:10 AM
We buy gifts for nieces and nephews in our family, regardless of age. We do not believe in the whole "Christmas is for kids and adults should not receive gifts" nonsense that some people oddly subscribe to.

I may not see my nephews frequently during the year (they live across the country from me), but I would never consider NOT gifting them when I see them at Christmas. To me, that's inherently wrong.

To me, it sounds like you don't like the SIL's tactics... I have to admit, I wouldn't either. But I wouldn't punish the niece for her mom's stupidity, just as I wouldn't punish a family member by not purchasing them a gift because they dared to become an adult. Everyone needs and deserves presents at Christmas, not just the kids.

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PeaNut 190,373
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Posted: 11/28/2011 6:56:13 AM
I would say high school graduation --- that's how it was in my dad's family. However I have a niece who is 20 and 2 years out of high school that I buy for but it is an unusual situation. My DH's brother married her mom 18 months ago and she has a much younger sibling. I couldn't buy for him and not her so I buy for both. We do small things for the nieces and nephews anyway. I think this will be the last year I do that as I'd like to fall back on the graduation idea.

OP in your situation I'd cut it off.

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PeaNut 66,309
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Posted: 11/28/2011 6:56:43 AM
For our family, gifts for them stop after they graduate. Then they go into the big family drawing and have to buy for someone else, too.

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PeaNut 182,623
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Posted: 11/28/2011 6:58:55 AM
In our family nieces and nephews stop getting Christmas presents once they graduate high school.

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June 2003
Posts: 10,665
Layouts: 35
Loc: Fergus, Ontario

Posted: 11/28/2011 6:59:55 AM
This is a sore spot for me. DH and I have let it go and never said anything though.

When DH and I were first dating & got engaged (at our first Christmas together) we ALWAYS bought for his nieces & nephews. There were only 5 of them, and we always bought for them. There is quite an age spread in the grandchildren on DH's side - the oldest is now 30, then 28, 22, 19 & 19. My oldest is only 16, and our youngest is 10.

Enter our kids. We all bought for one another's kids every year, then one year, DH's sister decided we didn't need to exchange any more. Her kids were older and hard to buy for, blah blah blah. But what about our kids? We gave when we had none, and now our kids get the short end of the stick because she decided she was done? And then a few years later we were back to gift giving. Now we call each year to confirm if we are giving gifts to the kids or not!

We have since decided that it does roll with their finances (which I totally understand) but let us KNOW if you plan to buy for our kids so we can plan to buy for yours!

On my side, our kids are all the same ages, so we're good for a few years. 18 will be the cut off on my side.


Mom to Julia (18), Hannah (16) & Jonathan (12)

the pea formerly known as 2Gals!

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Peasfully Grading

PeaNut 167,524
September 2004
Posts: 5,952
Layouts: 1
Loc: Northwest Florida

Posted: 11/28/2011 7:01:49 AM
I suppose because my family is so small and until last year we all celebrated Christmas together, we'd always gotten my nephew Christmas presents, even though he is now 26. To me, whether or not you celebrated Christmas all together would be the deciding factor.

Last year we stopped celebrating with my brother and his family. We sent gifts anyway. They did not reciprocate . . . . so we figure we can trim our gift list by 3 this year, including that nephew.


Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 75,215
March 2003
Posts: 7,548
Layouts: 2
Loc: massachusetts

Posted: 11/28/2011 7:04:47 AM
A few years ago, SIL and I decided to try something different. We had both had trouble buying for teenagers, and we live across the country from each other. So we each buy gifts for our own children, and put a label that it's from auntie. It works for us.

I think that sending lists demanding certain items would make things too difficult for me.
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