Here is one more belated Christmas story I caught in Berkeley Parents Network. At what age is it appropriate to stop giving gifts to extended family like nieces and nephews? The consensus seemed to be 18, or when the kids finish high school.
I’d say once they’re out of high school (or possibly earlier) you can stop giving individual gifts without hard feelings, especially if you’re not particularly close to them. My nieces and nephews are all college age or older now, and lately I’ve only given gifts when they graduated high school, when they got married or when they had babies. If you’re worried about offending, you could mention to the kid’s mom that you’re phasing out gifts, but I bet they’ll be fine with it. By the time I was that age, I never wanted gifts from my older relatives, anyway, because they were so out of touch!
I would say age 18, which sounds like in your family would add a few people to the ”adult” group, so it wouldn’t only be the older generation and one young adult. If you are all physically together for the gift-giving you could try the white elephant game (google) for the over 18 set–young adults find this lots of fun.
We have a very big family, and my attitude toward gifts is that they are for ”children”, not just a generation of ”kids”, so I stop the gift-giving to my siblings’ kids once they start college. With the economy in the dumps, you now have the perfect excuse to stop too. Even if your own budget is not noticeably suffering, you can announce that you’ll give a gift to charity instead of gifting individually. Maybe you can give a charitable gift in their names, if you so choose. You keep the tax deduction, set a great example, and get to do some real good with your gift instead of just feeling obligated!
The other example, which I have seen play out and I like the idea, is to draw names for gifts. Once the children are 18, their names also go in the lottery. Of course, parents continue to give their own children gifts, but they need only buy one other present — the name they draw from the lottery. To me this makes sense, especially as everyone marries and has children of their own.
The other piece of advice in the column was to set price limits on presents. What do you all think? Do you buy gifts for extended family? At what age, if ever, do you stop giving to the children of extended family?