Knowing when it is time to stop gift giving to someone you love can be a challenge. This guide is about giving Christmas gifts to adult nieces and nephews.
At what point is it reasonable to stop giving Christmas gifts to adult nephews and nieces? When they marry? Have children of their own? Turn 25?
By Catherine from outside Boston, MA
There really isn't a rule about it. Just do what your heart or your head tells you to. We were childless for many years and then adopted 2 beautiful toddlers as older parents. We'd given and given to so many nieces and nephews on both sides and then decided they were all old enough we shouldn't do anymore. I stopped with birthday gifts when they each turned 18. It's funny that no one has seen fit to give to our kids the way we did to theirs but really it doesn't matter. I'm so happy to have kids to buy for and now just focus on them.
Do you feel pressure to keep giving to nieces/nephews? Really you shouldn't and it should be something you want to do, rather than feel it is expected. Do they do anything in return. At least write a thank-you or email or give you a call to show their appreciation. That's part of it as well because I know I got angry when I didn't even have my cards with money acknowledged!
Thanks for all the replies to my question - all were good points. For clarity I probably should have said that my husband and I are in our 60s - he's retired and I'm praying not to be laid off for another couple of years.
My sisters and bothers are younger, have no need to reciprocate (we are childless) and most of them have not taught their children (ages 14 - 33) to say thanks - even when they open the gifts in my presence. I think I'm done gifting, except for the ones who manage to acknowledge the gift in some form or other.
We have solved the issue by holding a group online white elephant party. Because we live all over the country, we use the internet and eCommerce to have a party and share gifts. We talk about our party all year and it saves us all on travel and the volume of gifts. Last year we shared over 800 comments, videos and images during our online gift swap. It has become the highlight of the holidays for our family.
I have told my grandchildren that range in age from 13 to 23, that when they get so involved with a significant other that the person will be spending holidays with us, that that particular grandchild and the significant other won't be getting gifts. My soon to be 18 year old grandaughter is talking about moving in with a boyfriend when she turns 18, and I reminded her of that fact.
She is still immature enough that she likes presents. I guess it could be called blackmail, and we will see if it works. I have also told her 18 is awfully young to be making that decision. My sisters and I exchange small gifts, but we have never given to neices and nephews.
I just want to say, as an adult niece... I actually felt hurt when I stopped receiving birthday or Christmas gifts/cards from my relatives. It's not because I expected it, it was just abrupt and I went from having one interaction to look forward to with the family to nothing.
I always wrote thank you notes and personally (face to face or over the phone) said thank you. I even tried to either make or buy something special for my relatives. But like I said, we usually only saw or heard from each other once maybe twice a year so it was a hard blow.