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Gifts for sib’s adult kids. Do you still?

28 replies

SteelFlavour · 26/05/2023 09:33

I am wondering how long most aunts and uncles continue to give gifts at Christmas or birthdays to their adult nieces and nephews, particularly if you don’t have much of a relationship with them.

If you have stopped, did you stop when they were 18 or 21? And how did you deal with it when one or several were still under 18? It doesn’t feel right giving gifts to two 17 year olds and ignoring a 19 year old.

Young adults may go through a stage where they’re not that interested in their aunts and uncles. But later on, by remembering them with gifts it may open the door to building a warmer relationship. Or am I kidding myself?

Is it worth giving gifts to a young adult who has no interest in you just in case that changes as they get older?

OP posts:
LimoncelloSpritz · 26/05/2023 09:35

I stopped after 18.

Hbh17 · 26/05/2023 09:39

No. They get a generous gift at 18 (£150 to £200 worth), then I tell them that birthday presents stop (although I do give something at 21, which they don't expect). While they are still students, they get an Xmas present of a voucher for a chain restaurant or coffee company (small amount, say £30). This is the same for godchildren and friends' kids, as there are more of them than there are nieces/nephews. They have had v generous presents (& payments into their savings account) from birth, so I think I've done my bit.

MarciaSaysANumber · 26/05/2023 09:50

I’m sorry you’re finding your niblings unrewarding at the moment. It’s true they may go through phases of not being much interested in you (teens). Obviously if you’ve always been quite distant from each other that may or may not improve as they get older. Only you can tell whether the relationships are worth nurturing. (With or without presents.)

I’ve been very close to mine throughout their lives, so can’t imagine a time when we wouldn’t exchange gifts. One of mine even took me out as a late Christmas present recently, I was ridiculously delighted.Grin

ThePoshUns · 26/05/2023 09:53

We stop at 18

RequiresUpdating · 26/05/2023 09:56

My aunt stopped at 18, then gave a larger "last" gift at 21st birthday. After that it was only cards. At 19 they surely can understand they've have 18 years worth of gifts and so the youngest will also get 18 years worth!

Kanaloa · 26/05/2023 10:00

I still give adult relatives gifts. I know on mumsnet doing anything for anyone over the age of 18 is comparable to setting yourself on fire and jumping off a cliff but most people I know still give gifts to their nieces and nephews.

Of course it should be reciprocal at a certain age. When they are an adult they should buy a small gift in return to you.

NBLarsen · 26/05/2023 10:19

I only have two. I give a gift (actual gift, not money) for birthday and Christmas until age 16. One is now 17 and I have said to them I've switched to cash instead of gift, which I plan to do until they are 21. So currently they are getting cash and the younger one still getting gifts. Once they are 21 they'll only get a card.

"Is it worth giving gifts to a young adult who has no interest in you just in case that changes as they get older?"

I think you need to look at it differently. A gift is something you give for the sake of giving, it's not an investment in anything. I've always had a great relationship with mine, still spend time playing and entertaining the younger one. The 17 year old is far more interesting in spending time with their friends than their aunty, naturally, though when I do see them we're still fine.
I read a saying once about how love only ever goes in one direction. I give the gifts because I adore them and want to give them something nice. I have them in my will as beneficiaries, though they won't know that until I'm dead. I expect nothing at all in return. If they choose to love me and spend time with me as they go through life that's a bonus.
I have a really close relationship with an old aunt of mine who never once gave me a gift as a child. I just grew up knowing her and found I got in well with her and always made the effort to keep her in my life.

ranoutofquinoaandprosecco · 26/05/2023 10:22

Mine are 18 and 20 and we still buy them a small gift/ hard cash for birthdays and Christmas. While we can afford it we'll do it. Buys then a few beers with their mates on a night out!

RockStrangeNight · 26/05/2023 10:26

I was the first to have children so mine benefited hugely from everyone's generosity! I will carry on giving my niblings gifts as long as possible, because I think it means a lot to feel part of a warm caring extended family.

OldTinHat · 26/05/2023 10:38

Stopped at 21 here.

Chasingadvice · 26/05/2023 10:48

What's a sib?

2chocolateoranges · 26/05/2023 10:53

We still give birthday and Christmas gifts. Eldest is 25. Youngest 6.

in my family it stops when you have your first child!

thedogisstaring · 26/05/2023 10:56

In my family my aunt gets me a small gift at Christmas which I appreciate, she doesn't get my brother a gift but she gets gifts for his children instead. As I haven't got children I still get a gift. I'm 45!!

SteelFlavour · 26/05/2023 11:10

Thanks for your answers everyone. I agree with @NBLarsen on the point about love.

In my life I’ve seen the aunt/uncle - niece/nephew relationship develop in so many different ways. I feel that keeping the door open by maintaining gift giving can be important but at the same time I’ve also seen some older people end up very disappointed when it’s just been taken for granted.

OP posts:
LudicrouslyCapaciousBag · 26/05/2023 11:12

Chasingadvice · 26/05/2023 10:48

What's a sib?


gingercat02 · 26/05/2023 11:18

We stopped at 18th but we did send money at 21, they are still at university. Just a card from then on. My aunt's stopped cards at 21, I think.

GoalShooter · 26/05/2023 11:21

I stopped at 18, with a generous gift for the 18th. I did check with my brother first that he didn't mind - I have three kids and he has one so he leapt at the chance! Still send cards.

HavfrueDenizKisi · 26/05/2023 11:21

We go to 21. So once they're 21 they are included in the adult secret Santa. That said the eldest niece is 21 so haven't hit her 22nd birthday yet but think I will do a card and flowers probably rather than an actual gift.

FinallyMrsE · 26/05/2023 11:21

We give gifts to adults until they have children of their own x

MarciaSaysANumber · 26/05/2023 11:31

For myself, while I obviously love my niblings, our individual relationships are based on shared interests nurtured over years or decades. I spent a lot of time with them when they were small, taking them out for the day or away for the weekend, or having them to stay during holidays. We maintained friendly text, FaceTime, phone relations when they were further away. I don’t wait for Christmas and birthdays to send them things, but do also mark official gifting occasions. Always receive things from them - no doubt directed by their parents when they were younger! Richer, older, more distant relatives are on top of the ‘sending money’ aspect - I usually stick to things I’m the family expert on.

And advice! I’m trusting they value my advice even more than presents under the tree.

MarciaSaysANumber · 26/05/2023 11:34

(And now that they’re older I’m beginning to enjoy going to them for an alternate opinion now and then. It’s been rather enlightening!)

Maddy70 · 26/05/2023 11:36

No we don't buy for adult children any more

LudicrouslyCapaciousBag · 26/05/2023 11:48

FinallyMrsE · 26/05/2023 11:21

We give gifts to adults until they have children of their own x

What do you do if they don’t have children?

JellyComb · 26/05/2023 11:58

We no longer give Christmas gifts, or if we do because we are actually seeing them on Xmas day, its somethng small like a lipgloss.

The birthday gifts we give at 13, 16, 18 and 21 and thats it. Works all round for us.

MarciaSaysANumber · 26/05/2023 12:17

Lord … It’s no wonder there are so many panicked MN threads from people with ‘absolutely no family support’ when they hit an emergency …

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