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Cut off age for birthday presents for friends children

(13 Posts)
KatyS36 Mon 29-Nov-10 15:22:08

Myself and three school friends have retained the tradition of swapping birthday and Christmas presents even though we are all in our thirties. They are old friends, who I know will be in my life forever, but I'm not close to them on a day to day basis as I have moved so much for work and now live a consoderable distance away.

When the first babies came along we all bought presents for them too at Christmas and birthdays and I enjoyed doing so.

However, one of the girls now has 4DCs and I'm finding it all a bit much - both financially and in terms of time to track all the presents down.

I posted about this specifically regarding Christmas presents a few weeks ago, and on reading the replies have decided that after this year I'm going to do Christmas presents for adults only but will continue to do birthday presents for both adults and children.

Does anybody have any thoughts on a suitable age cut-off for children's birthday presents? The eldest child is currently 10 and if I asked what it wants it is invariably vouchers.

This might sound mean, but it does seem that as children get older they either want more expensive presents or vouchers and I don't really feel the need to be doling out money every year to my friends teenage children.

Is 12 (i.e. pre-teen) maybe a suitable cut off, or should I just continue until they are all 16?

Your thoughts and experiences please,

many thanks,


scogliera Mon 29-Nov-10 15:24:53

I think once you start the habit of buying them presents, you are really stuck until they stop being children or they (and your friends) might be hurt. 16 feels like the right sort of age to stop.

Deliaskis Mon 29-Nov-10 15:28:17

A lot of my parents friends just seemed to 'taper off' presents for my sister and me as we got older. Probably by the age of about 10 it had morphed into chocolates or a selection box between the two of us, can be accompanied by a 'oh we're just doing x for all the kids this year as there are just so many', so that each parent understands it is not a personal slight on them or their child. Eventually (probably before about 12) these stopped too, apart from one or two very close friends.

I don't think anyone genuinely expects people to buy for their kids forever. There might be some parents who will be quite relieved if you make the first move in curtailing things!


Deliaskis Mon 29-Nov-10 15:29:14

PS - with the solution above (i.e. shared boxes of chocs etc. for siblings), you don't have the problem of buying for some siblings and not others, which you would if you had a 'buy for everyone until x age' policy.


KatyS36 Mon 29-Nov-10 15:30:57

Thanks for this reply.

Part of the problem is that it always was my intention to continue until 16. Thing is, I didn't realise she was going to have 4 DCs, possibly more, and it does all feel rather expensive.

I'm interested in people's views though, so please keep them coming.


KatyS36 Mon 29-Nov-10 15:32:58

Thanks for your replies, need to clarify though.

This post is only about birthday presents. I've already decided to stop doing Christmas presents for children.


EWeatherwax Mon 29-Nov-10 15:42:38

£5 book vouchers ! everyone over 5 - who is not a close relative get one

readywithwellies Mon 29-Nov-10 17:19:32

I think 16 is appropriate, after that they can get a PT job.

trixie123 Mon 29-Nov-10 19:43:33

I think the choc selection box is a good compromise - the kids will love it and they are very cheap. They get so many pressies its all about the excitement of ripping it open anyway. Its a token that won't cost the earth and hopefully keeps everyone happy. The only other thing you can do is have an honest conversation with your friends about it and see what they think.

MsSparkle Mon 29-Nov-10 19:55:50

Me and two friends had dds around the same time as eachother. The dds are now all 4 and i have cut off buying Christmas presents for them this year because we all have 2 dc each now and it gets too much.

Sounds mean i know but it was ok at first when we all just had the one girl and saw eachother all the time. Then when siblings come along that aren't all the same age and we hardly meet up due to busy lives, i think it's best we just stick to birthdays.

So 4 was my cut off point. Although i have done a major cut down this year on Christmas gifts.

PercyPigPie Mon 29-Nov-10 20:08:18

I think a selection box/box of nice chocolate biscuits, or maybe a family board game would be a good idea.

PercyPigPie Mon 29-Nov-10 20:11:16

PS: Children's version of 'Pass the Bomb is £13 on Amazon and sounds great for this sort of thing (have just ordered it)

upahill Mon 29-Nov-10 20:16:29

Within my group of mates it is 18.

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