How Do You Handle Christmas Presents for Nieces, Nephews, and Their Offspring?
Warning: This is probably more geared toward the over-40 crowd.
I am wondering how others handle buying Christmas Presents for your siblings' growing families. I have three siblings, who have given me 6 nieces and nephews. I have always bought Christmas gifts for all 6 of the nieces and nephews.
3 are now married and having babies (my great-nieces and nephews). So now my siblings have 'magnanimously' decided that we should be relieved from buying presents for our married nieces and nephews, but instead we should buy presents for their children (my great-nieces and nephews).
So where I used to buy a gift apiece for the 3 married nieces & nephews, I'm now up to buying 5 gifts for their (combined total) offspring. (These gifts in addition to the 3 still-single, college age nieces). The number of great-nieces and nephews will only continue to grow.
My siblings are nice people and not a bunch of grabbers, but this feels like a bit much. Not to mention I live on the other side of the country from these great-nieces & nephews, who are between 1 and 6 years old and have little or no idea who I even am.
Sorry for this long explanation, and it's not a huge deal, but I am genuinely curious how other people handle this. My partner thinks my family is crazy, as they only give presents to nieces & nephews who are their God-children (something we don't do) and stop giving once those kids are in college.
In case you're still with me, my current thought is to just give 1 gift card apiece to the 3 married nieces and nephews and tell them to use it on themselves or their little ones as they see fit.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 127||10/29/2014|
You don't give them gifts unless you're present for the unwrapping of presents. Seriously. A card, maybe a savings bond for college.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 1||12/01/2010|
Your idea sounds good. Send a gift card to each family, not the greats individually.%0D %0D My eldest neice/nephew is 22, I didn't get her a b-day and probably won't a christmas.. just a card.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 2||12/01/2010|
The savings bond idea is the Best - What parent would not rather have this to reinforce education for their child than a toy which will be disgarded and forgotten before new years?%0D %0D %0D Books relevant to the child's age and interests also good.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 3||12/01/2010|
I buy for all my nieces and nephews (there have been nine) until they turn 18 or, if they go to college, until they graduate. I then buy for their children (there are three so far). But I've never bought gifts for my brothers or sisters-in-law.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 4||12/01/2010|
Gift cards no more than $50 each.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 5||12/01/2010|
I made sure that I was an only child in order to avoid just this situation!
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 7||12/01/2010|
How did you manage that r7? Did you climb inside your mother while she was sleeping one night and tie her tubes?
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 8||12/01/2010|
Another vote for gift cards
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 9||12/01/2010|
I don't have great nieces and nephews yet, but once there started to be too many, I started doing family gifts - a favorite movie/CD I thought they'd all enjoy, gourmet hot chocolate, artwork from a favorite vacation spot, etc.%0D %0D
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 10||12/01/2010|
A card/gift cards.
My nephews and nieces are pretty greedy. It's not like I can buy ALL of them a different game console.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 11||12/01/2010|
Thanks to all of you for the friendly and helpful replies. I'm very appreciative to get some back-up on the 'gift to the household' idea (and thanks to r6 for that gracious phrasing).
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 12||12/01/2010|
An ex-partner's family once decided that they would forego gift-giving among the siblings and only give to each other's children. Which meant that my childless partner would be buying for a bunch of nieces and nephews but nobody would be buying for him. I was the only one to point out the inequity there, but amazingly enough, nothing changed. The consensus for you, OP, seems to be to give one gift (i.e. gift card) per household. I concur.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 13||12/01/2010|
Gift cards are so tacky. Might as well hand them a $20 bill and admit you neither have any idea what they like nor do you feel like putting thought and effort into figuring it out. So here, I like you $20 worth. Why bother.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 14||12/01/2010|
My extended family isn't huge, which is probably a good thing considering the crap we are going through, lol. I agree with the idea of a family gift. I have a cousin with 2 kids in college. One year she bought a new dvd player so I sent them several dvd's and another time I sent them a popcorn popper with a large bag of gourmet popping corn and several bottles of toppings. It's cheaper and easier, plus I don't see them too often so I don't know what all they would want or need. I also have an aunt and uncle who are retired and I send them food. Sometimes I'll order something from QVC that can be shipped right to them, last year I boxed up several soup mixes and bread mixes (she has a bread machine) from World Market. It didn't cost much and it fed them several times since it's just the 2 of them.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 15||12/01/2010|
My grown niece is big on family game nights (I know, I know) with board games or cards. That works as a family gift if they are so inclined.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 16||12/01/2010|
My partner has stopped sending gifts to all of his nieces and nephews...there must be 10 of them. After carefully selecting, wrapping, and mailing birthday and Christmas gifts for a few years to each one, he stopped after never ONCE getting a thank you phone call or card. It's been much easier since then. His mother would always say "You send the most thoughtful gifts!"...but never a word from his siblings or their children.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 17||12/01/2010|
You guys are all so nice. I don't give anybody shit.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 18||12/01/2010|
Gift cards for iTunes or Best Buy.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 19||12/01/2010|
do the secret santa exchange...
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 20||12/01/2010|
A vicious face-slapping suffices
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 21||12/01/2010|
I went through this two years ago. By this time the niece and nephew were in their 20's. You'd get them a gift card, you'd get a gift card. I suggested that instead of that, we pool our resources and find something instead for my mom and dad. While there's nothing we need, nor nothing they need, they were touched that we did this.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 22||12/01/2010|
All nieces and nephews get holiday gifts until the youngest in their brood starts high school. After that, I will only give them gifts if I am going to actually see them.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 23||12/01/2010|
Yes, R19. Especially itunes. I've been requested to stick to that from the bolder ones.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 24||12/01/2010|
What makes you think you have to buy presents for people you aren't even going to spend time with?
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 25||12/01/2010|
I'm on the opposite end of your problem, OP. My family is huge - 16 cousins, 3 siblings, 3 nieces/nephews, and 9 aunts and uncles (not including their spouses, or my father's side of the family, who I don't know). Anyway, I grew up with my grandparents, so my aunts and uncles see me more as their youngest brother (they were born between 51 and 65, I was born in 1980). They always buy me things (not expensive) or give me money, but I'm at the age now where I'm really uncomfortable with it and don't know how to express it to them. I'm still a student (Ph.D.), so I don't always make enough to reciprocate, which makes it even worse for me. I kind of dread Christmas because of the whole situation. I'm close with about 3 of my aunts and would like to continue with them, but the rest I see about once a year for a few minutes at a time.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 26||12/01/2010|
r26, since they give you a gift and that is a connection to you - you do seem them once a year or so - how about having a bbq or dinner some other time of year to reciprocate?%0D %0D Or bake cookies, etc.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 27||12/01/2010|
I don't even know the names of all of my nieces children and rarely if ever see them. I'm certainly not going to spend money on Christmas gifts for them.
The whole Christmas gift exchange in families that have grown up and moved on with their respective lives is out of control. If you're very close to your brothers and sisters and their children that's one thing. But most of us rarely see nieces and nephews.
And besides, people need to be saving every dime they can right now whether they think they'll need the money or not. We're in the worst economic disaster of our lifetimes and throwing money away on worthless Christmas crap is beyond stupid IMO.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 28||12/01/2010|
[quote]I don't even know the names of all of my nieces children...%0D %0D Ugh.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 29||12/01/2010|
My family is VERY small, so I guess I'm fortunate. I think the gift cards are a good solution.%0D %0D But what I wanted to ask is why would you let anyone tell you who you can and can't buy gifts for? I hear this often, these planned gift giving rules, what you should get them, etc.%0D %0D If I am getting someone a gift, it's done out of love and a desire to get them something they would enjoy. I hate that this concept seems to be fading more and more.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 30||12/01/2010|
Heifer International, OP.%0D %0D Google it!%0D %0D I announced that I want a llama for Christmas. I expect to be getting the paperwork on it next week.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 31||12/01/2010|
All this gift giving is such bullshit. It's just crap that most people don't want and will never use.%0D %0D Last week my mom told me that we're no longer doing any presents, after having gone to secret santa a few years ago. I totally agree. Why bother? I can't think of a single thing that my sister-in-law or my dad or whoever could buy for me that I would want or like or use.%0D %0D My boyfriend and I can barely think of anything to get each other. %0D %0D Christmas presents made sense during the dustbowl when children got their one piece of candy for the year or whatever, but these days if you can afford to be buying all these gifts for people you can afford to buy whatever you want for yourself whenever you want it. What's the point?
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 32||12/01/2010|
With six nieces and nephews, I decided 18 years of presents for each of them was enough.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 33||12/01/2010|
I don't enjoy getting gifts but I've had some good times getting together in toy stores with friends to buy Toys for Tots. It's fun to play with all the latest gimmicks and gadgets for kids. The toys invented since we were kids are absolutely amazing.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 34||12/01/2010|
I buy little envelopes and put 20 or 50 dollars, depending how much I like the little varmint. I give them out as they walk by at Christmas dinner or the night before if we have gotten together.
One year I was less flushed with cash and gave US Bonds instead, since they'd be worth 50 dollars in 7 years.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 35||12/01/2010|
[quote]One year I was less flushed with cash and gave US Bonds instead, since they'd be worth 50 dollars in 7 years.
I imagine your nieces and nephews were thrilled with that. What's seven years to a kid?
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 36||12/01/2010|
[quote] What's seven years to a kid?
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 37||12/01/2010|
I do all Christmas shopping at Dollar Tree
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 38||12/01/2010|
I like to give family memberships to zoos, or science museums, so that the family can go as often as they like for free during the year.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 39||12/02/2010|
OP writes:%0D %0D [quote]So now my siblings have 'magnanimously' decided that we should be relieved from buying presents for our married nieces and nephews, but instead we should buy presents for their children (my great-nieces and nephews).%0D %0D %0D OP -- it is not you responsibility to purchase Christmas gifts. And it is not your siblings' position to "'magnanimously' decide'" anything. %0D %0D If you go ahead and do it -- then it should be because you [italic]choose[/italic] to do it.%0D %0D If you decide you want to gift-give, I would suggest the following: With a reasonable budget, make a choice how much to give -- and then give it to the parents ahead of time; request that they put it to use on behalf of their offspring. (That's it coming from you, but that you cannot knock yourself out with the shopping.)
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 41||12/02/2010|
Why not give donations to charitable organizations in the names of your relatives, OP? Or do they suffer from a dearth of sweet treats and video games that your presents must compensate for?
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 42||12/02/2010|
[quote]I started doing family gifts - a favorite movie/CD I thought they'd all enjoy, gourmet hot chocolate
Wow, big spender. They must have been thrilled unwrapping that packet of Swiss Miss from you.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 43||12/02/2010|
Sedn the family a gift hamper or something, but not individual gifts for the kids.%0D %0D It sounds like your great-nieces and nephews are too little for things like board games, but that might be something to consider in future. %0D %0D
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 45||12/02/2010|
On my side of the family we do a Yankee swap...pull names out of a hat for one child at Thanksgiving for Christmas. $50 limit.
On my partner's side of the family...crazy Italians...we buy for each teenaged kid who could probably care less. We see them once a year at most. There are six altogether and we spend $50 on each kid. You do the math. Then there are his parents in their 80s, his godchildren and his godparents. The thing is no one really cares what we give them I don't think. I wind up stressing over it trying to help figure out what these kids want (they are all upper middle class and have everything money can by already).
Craziness. I suggested the Yankee swap one year to my partner and his reply was, "yeah that will really fly with my family...no."
End of story.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 46||12/02/2010|
It would depend on the age of the children and their sexes, but I generally try to give one big gift for the kids. One year it was a puppet theater and puppets. Another year it was a circus set with a tent and all the figures. As the boys got older, I sent a slot car set that they could all play with, etc.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 47||12/02/2010|
"After carefully selecting, wrapping, and mailing birthday and Christmas gifts for a few years to each one, he stopped after never ONCE getting a thank you phone call or card."%0D %0D I've dumped two nephews and two nieces this year. The boys (17 & 19) have never said thanks for their presents. And the two girls (10 & 12) - returning here after living in Europe since they very little - didn't bother to say thanks for the presents we gave them last Christmas.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 48||12/02/2010|
One year I sent blank self addressed Thank You cards with all my gifts. I got half of them back. HALF! I sent gifts the next year only to those that used my own thank yous. I use my thank yous as gift eligibility for the next year. IF I get a thank you out of the blue, hasn't happened, I will add them back.
Fuck the ungrateful.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 49||12/02/2010|
Now you see why your Aunt Jane used to give you socks!%0D %0D I have many great ones and this year I'm buying some kind of candy. One got a large stick of gumballs for his birthday and he loved it and the others wanted it. It had to be cheap. I'm finding something like that for everyone.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 50||12/02/2010|
I too had family suggest we only buy for kids. All my 3 sibs and 5 cousins have kids. I have none. Well, I do gifts for my brother and sisters and their kids, screw the rest.
We do Dirty Santa for the adults though and it is surprisingly fun. The gifts tend to be meaningless things like movie theater gift cards and lottery tickets. No one is fighting over TV sets or game consoles.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 52||12/02/2010|
I like r39's idea, too. Thanks for that one.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 53||12/02/2010|
I never got a Christmas present from any of my aunts or uncles. I had 9 of them. I also never got a present from my grandparents on my mother's side. My mother said they were too poor to buy presents for their umpteen grandchildren, so that was that.%0D %0D My grandparents on my father's side used to give us a board game or a card game and my grandmother would knit us hats, gloves and scarves.%0D %0D Kids today are greedy.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 54||12/02/2010|
Go for the ol' "FAMILY GIFT" -I say buy a board game, a puzzle, or a classic DVD...make sure you feed them some bullshit like "...When *I* was a child, this was *MY* favorite!"%0D %0D If you've got money to burn? Gift cards. Think around the 10 to 25 dollar range...iTunes, JAMBA Juice, Cold stone, Claire's Boutique, Bath & Body Works, The Body Shop, Starbucks & Caribou...ten bucks goes a lot farther at these places and can buy a lot of coffee, smoothies, or ice cream than at say jeans, THE GAP.%0D %0D Is there an arcade around where they live? You could give them a jar of game Tokens, or a Lazertag gift certificate.%0D %0D Most young people enjoy stuff like beef jerky, or Microsoft/Xbox live "points" (even if they don't have an Xbox -I'll bet they have a friend who does) hard candy, gum...%0D %0D You could do a mixed CD of music dedicated to each kid. (Hey, even if it's dorky they'll get a kick out of it)%0D %0D A journal is a nice gift. (Barnes and Noble, as well as BORDERS bookstores have a nice variety) You can call it a "sketchbook" (if the kid is into art) or a NATURE Notebook (for the outdoors-y type) or a "TRAVEL LOG" for the worldly kid...or a "POETRY DIARY" for the Goth kid...etc.%0D %0D Cool pens are always fun. "Floaty pens" were big when I was a kid.%0D %0D One of the coolest gifts I ever received as a young teen was from my Grandnan (now dead) -She gave me a bunch of coins from all over the world (Italy, Nepal, China, Japan, France) and a note that said "I want you to travel to these places some day and spend these...and when you do? Remember I love you!"%0D I kept the coins, but it's a good reminder to get out and see the world.%0D
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 55||12/02/2010|
I gave my nephews condoms for Christmas. Their moms were not happy.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 56||12/02/2010|
[quote]I wind up stressing over it trying to help figure out what these kids want (they are all upper middle class and have everything money can by already).%0D %0D [quote]Craziness. I suggested the Yankee swap one year to my partner and his reply was, "yeah that will really fly with my family...no."%0D %0D Well, why would your boyfriend want to rock the boat, R46? You take all the stress and deal with all the bullshit.%0D %0D I would tell him to use his own $300 and choose the presents himself if he wants to keep buying for these spoiled, ungrateful kids.%0D %0D
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 57||12/02/2010|
Savings bonds? What is this, 1960? Buy them a few shares of a good stock.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 58||12/02/2010|
My partner and I finally jumped off the gift merry-go-round with our families last year. The final straw was his 2 college-age nephews specifying their gift requirements (through their father), and then having one of them ask if his new girlfriend could come over on Christmas Eve with them, and oh by the way, there should be something for her under the tree too, and here is a list of suggestions.%0D %0D This year we told everyone well ahead of time that we are purchasing a gift in their name from Heifer International. I wouild love to wrap up some goat droppings to send along with the announcement.%0D %0D
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 59||12/03/2010|
I guess I'm lucky only to have 1 niece. She's the only person I buy gifts for at all.
I try to make a point of buying her stuff when I travel. I outfitted her in fashion from Milan when she was a baby.
When was asshole sister was getting on my nerves, I'd buy my niece toys that made lots of noise. When she was learning to read, I sent book that taught about tolerance.
Now that she's a teenager, I'm back to getting her stuff when I travel, trying to find her something she'd like that isn't available at the mall. A few years ago, I bought her a Zuni fetish for her birthday. She loved it and now I try to get her one or two each year.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 60||12/03/2010|
There are companies online where you can buy nostalgic candy boxes. They usually have them from the 40s through the 80s. It was a big hit. %0D %0D The gift could be for the whole family. The adults get a kick out of their old favorite candies that are difficult to find anymore and the kids get to eat it. Win-win all around for everyone from grandparents to little kids.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 61||12/03/2010|
I announced 3 years ago that I was not going to participate in the family gift exchange anymore. I got emails from my 2 nieces and 2 nephews lamenting that I always gave the best presents. I reminded them that for the last 2 years, none of them had bothered to even thank me for their gifts. I didn't hear another word out of them. I know, I'm mean.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 62||12/03/2010|
We send a "family gift" (usually baked goods, like cookies) for everyone on our list but our immediate family. The only kids we shop for are our closest friends' and they tend to be a GC to a bookstore and a cute (but useful) stocking stuffer, or some holiday-themed candy. Lots of praise and thanks, but no complaints yet.
It REALLY is the thought that counts!
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 63||12/03/2010|
Those of you who stopped, not out of financial need but because you didn't get the gratitude you expected in the form you wanted, realize you're just as bad as those who didn't thank you, right? You don't give because you expect anything, even a thank you, in return.%0D %0D Yes, their parents should have done a better job but, then, so should your parents if that's the reason you give.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 64||12/03/2010|
That's crazy, r49. You are a passive-aggressive narcissist.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 65||12/03/2010|
OP, you do know that your "problem" is one many folks would be grateful to have this holiday seaso, don't you?
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 66||12/03/2010|
I have 8 nieces and nephews (with another due in a few months) and I buy for them and their parents, but as they are all primary school aged still, often buy one gift for all the kids in each family to share. This year it is a stunt kite for one, a couple of boardgames for another, and a box full of art and craft supplies for another. One reason is my brothers and sister have all said they don't want their kids to be spoilt and also they only have so much room in their house and no one needs huge amounts of plastic toys and the like. My sister-in-law is brilliant at thank yous and has had the kids sending their own since they were very small- they are much better at it than I am as I rely on a phone call. I'll keep some of these suggestions in mind for when they get older- think the gift for the household may be the way to go.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 67||12/03/2010|
Of course I do, r66. That's why I acknowledged in my original post that I realize this is not a huge deal, but something I'm curious about. From the responses, it seems to be something others have, in fact, thought about and dealt with.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 68||12/03/2010|
r65, funny, in the olden days it would have been normal to expect common consideration and courtesy in return. Now I text the ungrateful "Merry Christmas" and be done with it.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 69||12/03/2010|
R59, you make no sense. If you jumped off the gift bandwagon then why would you announce that you were buying a gift in their name? That means they still have to buy a gift in return for you.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 72||12/04/2010|
[quote]Most young people enjoy stuff like beef jerky, hard candy, gum...
You've got to be kidding me. What are you, 80?
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 73||12/04/2010|
don't bother. i don't know why people do this to themselves. just tell people "i'm sorry, i'm short on money this year and can't do all of this. please don't buy anything for me, i'll be happy to just see you at dinner" etc. etc.
i see people who make far less money than me at work who buy a present, $20 or more, for each and ALL their extended family and i'm baffled by it, and not very sympathetic come january when they are broke and moaning about it all the time. i mean, get real: you have no money. don't do it. credit card debt and ramen noodles for january are the solution? ugh.
and yes, snarky bitches: i'm not close to my family. but it's just so much EASIER this way.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 74||12/04/2010|
I have one neice and one nephew, both are now married. My niece had a baby last May. I've been giving them $250 each for Christmas and their birthday.%0D %0D This summer I flew my nephew and his wife out for a visit. I probably dropped $3k on their vacation. I took them everywhere they wanted to go and took a week off work. I got a once sentence thank you from them on Facebook.%0D %0D My Mom died last December and I doubt I will ever be back there for Christmas and it will probably be years before I go back at all.%0D %0D The reason I flew my nephew and his wife out was I was hoping to build more of a relationship with them, but it's not happening.%0D %0D I think I'll send them each the $250 this year and the baby $100 gift card to babies R Us. I suspect in the future I will just cut out the gifts.%0D
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 75||12/04/2010|
I purchase some gifts for nieces and nephews if I see them on Christmas or if they are my godchild I will mail them something.
My son and his wife have 4 children and they have so many toys and clothes and my daughter in law will actually tell me that they won't ever use something if she doesn't like it.
Now I just send one check for the whole family so they can purchase something useful.
I have many gifts to get employees and I am a master at finding something each year that costs less than $25.00.
Yes, they get bonuses also.
And with all the birthdays all year round I feel I am forever getting gifts. Next year I intend on just getting gift cards form target for everyone.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 76||12/04/2010|
Don't be such a tightwad, OP. Afterall, who are you going to leave all the moolah to anyway? You don't have any kids, so might as well spend on your nieces and nephews now while you are still around.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 77||12/04/2010|
OP, ignore peopple like R77.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 78||12/05/2010|
[quote]She gave me a bunch of coins from all over the world (Italy, Nepal, China, Japan, France) and a note that said "I want you to travel to these places some day and spend these...and when you do? Remember I love you!" I kept the coins, but it's a good reminder to get out and see the world.
This is the coolest gift ever.
But then wtf do you do the next year?
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 79||12/05/2010|
good grief. Some of you are such cash cows and don't even realize it.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 80||12/05/2010|
The BEST gifts from Aunts and Uncles were crisp 20s and 50s, and the occasional Benjamin. Slipped secretly into your pocket so the hovering parents will not intercept the cash.
Attempting to buy gifts for kids over 13 and young adults is way to much work.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 81||12/05/2010|
in the past i gave family gifts, like food or dvd's. when i had more money, i gave individual gifts (in budgeted amounts) until they turned 18. after age 18, i only give gifts if the niece (i don't have a nephew) is really appreciative or gives me a gift (even a small token) in return. if they are appreciative, in other words, they get a gift. if they are a selfish/greedy/ingrate they don't get a gift, and i tell them why. let them be mad one year. they get over it, and maybe learn something. they think they are adults, so i treat them as such. my nieces don't have kids yet, and i may never have any 'greats.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 82||12/05/2010|
This is a great of example of how out of control we are about Christmas and gift giving. I have a fairly large family (4 siblings and both parents are still alive). I have a modest income but am not a millionaire. I buy gifts for my parents, my best friend, and my partner. Everyone else gets cards. I cannot afford to buy my siblings and all their offspring a bunch of crap and then ship it off to various parts of the country. I don't have the money or the time.
Stressing yourself out and spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, friends of friends, etc. is ridiculous.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 83||12/05/2010|
OP here. To clarify a few things:
- I will be with my family on Christmas. I travel each year because my parents are elderly and it seems to mean a lot to them to have us all there at Christmas.
- This is not really about the money. It's about the fact that I spent 30 years buying gifts for nieces and nephews. That seemed pretty adequate, but now I'm looking at spending the next 30 years buying gifts for a larger number of their kids (currently I'm at 8 and that's before 3 of the nieces have gotten married and started having kids themselves). For me, it just seems the expanding number of gifts for great nieces and nephews who rarely see me and barely know who I am seems a bit much. I'm not sure I could name all of my great uncles and aunts and I sure didn't expect gifts from them as a kid. Many of you seem to get this but some apparently don't.
Thanks again for the constructive suggestions above.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 84||12/05/2010|
[quote]For me, it just seems the expanding number of gifts for great nieces and nephews who rarely see me and barely know who I am seems a bit much. %0D %0D I totally agree. I also think once the "kids" are out of school, working full time and/or married it's really time to stop or cut back the gifts.%0D %0D I would really rather be giving more to the food banks.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 85||12/05/2010|
for small children i never give gifts that have more than 2-3 separate or removable parts. it helps out their parents. it drives me crazy to see hundreds of tiny pieces of play sets on the floor, in junk drawers, in bathtubs, etc. they multiply.%0D %0D maybe OP could have a gift cut-off age of 10 or so. after that, they get hard to buy for & pickier. for the little ones, buy a cheap felt stocking or christmas bag & fill it with some candy, games, wildly colored socks, fruit snacks, crayons, coloring books, colored pencils, balls, safety scissors, whatever you can fit in there. all kids love art supplies. this sort of stuff can all be bought at the dollar store. buy a package of multiples (like raisins, candies, colored pencils, crayons), and split it among the stockings. when things get quieter, they'll be using their art supplies. you can get away with $5/kid if you're careful, and all they see is a "bunch of stuff."%0D %0D i hope this helps.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 86||12/05/2010|
I, too, am in your same boat. I have 7 nieces and nephews, at times I've had 10 (marriage/divorce). This year, my oldest nephew and his girlfriend had a baby. She also has a 5 year old son. So, add a great niece and a great nephew.
Every year, since about 1995, I make or buy a snowman ornament for my nieces and nephews. It's been great and the kids love it. I put their name on it and the year. Some years I have made 10 ornaments for a total of $2.50. Yes, I'm a tight German, but truly, it is fun and it IS the thought that counts!
So, this year we have the 2 new kids. What to do? I think I will continue with just the snowman ornaments for nieces and nephews, and wrap a necessity item for the great niece and nephew. As for the girlfriend, I'm not going to start giving to all the boyfriends and girlfriends of the family...that would drive me insane, and it probably wouldn't be as special anymore.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 87||11/19/2011|
You should not buy presents for the great/grand nieces and nephews.
And you should not buy presents for nor give money to your nieces and nephews after they are around age 14.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 88||11/19/2011|
Out of curiosity OP - do your adult nieces & nephews buy you gifts for Xms?
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 89||11/19/2011|
Gifts for the household is the best idea IMO. Love the museum pass idea.
I love the idea of a great big box of fun that the family can open. First, it's a big box that can be sent in advance of Xmas and put under the tree. Then when they open it, inside can be all sorts of fun stuff: homemade cookies, ornaments, small toys. For little nieces and nephews, a small action figure can be the best present of the day. Little kids just want to open something special. 10 minutes in a toy store is all it takes. A can of slime for the boy. Cheap princess jewelry for the girl. Some cookies or fudge for the family. A card that says "Love, Uncle Joe." Sets a great precedent. Big fun box, small stuff inside. Ta da!
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 90||11/19/2011|
R90's nieces and nephews hate him.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 91||11/19/2011|
OP: You've been playing Uncle Bottom for 30 years, and it sounds like you're asking permission from us to stop. Well, permission granted. Your siblings sound like assholes if they're "deciding" whom you give gifts to.
Just tell everyone, "Money is tight this year so I'm just getting gifts for Mom and Dad." And leave it at that.
You sound like a soft touch otherwise.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 92||11/19/2011|
We draw names - family of 23. Everyone gets one nice gift. To only have to do the one means you can spend more and put some thought into it.
Everyone in our family has everything they need, and what they don't have they can go out and buy immediately.
Oddly, we funded a scholarship in the name of a dead uncle in his field of expertise for a local student for a few years, but that seems to have fallen by the wayside and now we just do presents.
I understand about the kids under 16 or 18 wanting a present, but anyone older than that should see the value of pooling the money the family spends on each other and truly giving a nice-sized gift to a local charity.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 93||11/19/2011|
Why is this a question? Obviously, you have closer relationships with one of more of the next generation. Buy (or make or plan)according to the amount of time & effort you are comfortable extending to those kids. If the parents wish to question what you've done, remember, they are on the same level as you. You have no obligation to explain. I find a simple, "Blow it out your ass!" settles any questions. Yes, I'm the favorite uncle, but it's taken work.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 94||11/19/2011|
OP, if I were you I'd be spending every Christmas on Maui.
It'd not only be more fun, it'd be cheaper!
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 95||11/19/2011|
r91 - Haha. . . not as much as r87's.
r94 has the most sensible suggestion.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 96||11/19/2011|
"A can of slime for the boy. Cheap princess jewelry for the girl."
Actually R91, the kids probably adore R90!
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 97||11/19/2011|
[quote]I am wondering how others handle buying Christmas Presents for your siblings' growing families. I have three siblings, who have given me 6 nieces and nephews.
Is there a tactful way to ask for the gift receipt?
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 98||11/19/2011|
r91, any affection that must be maintained through expensive gifts is not worth having.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 99||11/19/2011|
Bake cookies. Divide into boxes.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 100||11/19/2011|
The best solution is for everyone to not give a gift. What's the point? All that stress and they're probably going to end up not liking it and returning it anyway. The worst is when people exchange money gifts. I give you $50, you give me $50 and it's a wash so what's the point?
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 101||11/19/2011|
I've been there. I've 3 older sisters, all married with grown kids, and now their kids are producing. I'm talking 20+ people here. Never a thank you or acknowledgement in past few years has angered me so much - I only work part time - that I put a halt to it last year.
Told my sisters I can't fund buying gifts for ungrateful kids so I'd rather drop out of the whole charade altogether. So they reluctantly agreed a family Secret Santa kinda thing. Out of the huge number of people only ONE present would be bought to the value of $50. We did it last Christmas and it was actually fun trying to guess who bought who what. No doubt they all exchanged goodies in my abscence but I don't care. It's about the holiday sentiment, not the retail extravaganza, surely?
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 102||11/19/2011|
That's somewhat how my family does it, r102.
Buy (or make) something simple for the kids: (the parents and grandparents already get them plenty of gifts). Secret Santa for the adults.
On Christmas morning the kids have lots of presents to open and adults each have one. Works for us.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 103||11/19/2011|
To the person who said that gift cards are tacky. I completely disagree. I am so sick of getting well-intentioned gifts that completely miss the mark. It's not that I am ungrateful but as an environmentally conscious person all of this waste and excess really bothers me of gifts I won't ever use. People from the previous generation rarely have any idea what other younger generations want or need which results in a lot of tacky sweaters, soap on a rope or toys that kids have already outgrown the desire to play with, which in turn results in a lot of perfectly good items never being used. If I really know what someone wants I'll give them a gift otherwise I will give them a gift certificate so there isn't any waste.
We have 4 nieces and nephews on the other side of the country who we rarely see (besides skype) it would be ludicrous for me to assume that I know what they would like and so we will be giving their parents a set amount of money to buy them a present that they know they will like and use. A couple of them are starting skiing this year and likely the money will go to ski items with our name on the gift tag. To me this is a win/win. No duplicate items, and the kids have something to unwrap that they need/want. For the adults I give handmade items. Handmade soaps was last year, this year is jellys and jams. It's not about the money, it's about the thought in our house.
To address the original poster though, I really don't think it's fair that as the family grows you need to keep buying gifts for the growing hordes of children in each generation. I think it's up to you to decide if you want to/can afford to or decide to forgo gifts altogether, give a family gift or continue to give to the nieces and nephews you originally gave to. It's not your siblings choice certainly, and it's not the gift recipient's choice either. It is your money and your generosity and therefore your decision!
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 104||11/17/2012|
Give a family gift. You can give them an American Express gift card (combine what you would have spent on each kid) and they can buy what ever they want, where ever they want
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 105||11/17/2012|
I gave thoughtful and generous gifts to all of my nieces and nephews until they were 18. Nothing afterwards. And to their offspring, forget about it. There is a limit.
Were I richer, I suppose I'd have a different attitude.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 106||11/17/2012|
I just throw hundred dollar bills in the air and make them catch them.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 107||11/17/2012|
I always get crap from my relatives. They give me candles every year, even though I've always been terrified of fire and a few years ago some idiot burned down my condo complex with unattended candles. They also give regifts - things people gave them that they don't want like clothes in their size that don't and won't ever fit me. They also just clean out their houses and give me something they bought and never used. Once I got an unwrapped plastic microwave bowl (see link) in a plastic bag from a cousin whose four children I bought nice gifts for.
That was the last year I bought gifts. I don't do gifts anymore. I don't need anything and they don't need anything. We all have enough stuff
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 108||11/17/2012|
For many years I have be overly generous and since my husband has passed I try to be a good grandparent. My grandchildren, at least the older ones never call unless they need something. My grand-daughter who is 21 lives in Florida was in need of a car this past year. I had a savings for her in the amount of $2200 but she needed much more. I created a loan of $5,000 which I hold a note for. She was calling me like crazy when she was purchasing the car but now back to like it was. Never. She did send me a text for Thanksgiving so I suppose that should account for something. Two grands live nearby and I get to see them on occasion. The others live in New Jersey.
I learned through the years it does not matter if you give or not give, they treat you the same. When the parents force them on the phone they say the obligatory, "I Love You" and for me it means nothing if the children are not taught to send a thank you or pick up the phone. Two of my daughters I must say have in the past had the children create a thank you card but this is all gone because the children are older and over indulged.
Last year I decided for each occasion I would send gift cards in the amount of $50. each and maintain that because as I said it does not matter what I give, I get the same treatment. My friend has adopted the same method of giving gifts because she too experiences the same treatment.
This week was Thanksgiving and I received a phone call from my daughter in Florida, had dinner with my daughter and family here and my daughter in New Jersey was far too busy. Call me crazy but I spoke to my mother everyday even if it were to check in on her to see if she was okay. My mother was very difficult at times but I would suck it up and call anyway.
Since children cannot teach their children how to treat a grand-parent, I was wondering if I just did not give anyone a gift would they notice?
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 109||11/25/2012|
Gift cards in denominations of $25 to 50 dollars. My son just got married he's 26yrs old for Christmas he and his bride will get a joint gift card. I like to give Visa gift cards because they are like money but not so impersonal.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 110||11/25/2012|
I gave $20 to 3 of my teenage nieces and nephew last year and they were ungrateful. Not to mention their auntie on their mom's side gave them each $50 bill and the same thing. They tossed it aside without a thank you. If the gift is not valued at $200 or more they have no interest in it. I have bought clothes before and that failed,same with toys. My gift was shoved towards the back of the tree to be the last thing they were forced to open. So tell me how do buy for such greedy brats.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 111||12/24/2012|
I ignore them.
Not lying. They all live in Texas, can't be bothered sending "great-uncle and great-auntie" a Christmas card, just "I'm graduating!" and "I'm marrying!" cards. I ignore them, too.
I just don't care.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 112||12/24/2012|
Everyone over 30 gets alcohol.
Everyone 15-30 get pot.
Everyone under 15 gets candy.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 113||12/24/2012|
Ha ha I love the booze,pot,and candy reply. Seriously why does a Christmas gift have to be an ipod,xbox ect. otherwise they don't want the gift.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 115||12/24/2012|
I have a small family but I do have a niece who just had a baby a couple weeks ago. (I bought them a playpen for the baby earlier this year) I've been sending cash/check for birthday & Christmas every year. This year I just sent a check for 60.00.
If you only see them once a year due to the fact they live out of state, it's too much trouble to figure out what they need. But I'm still a little sentimental about my niece as when she was a toddler, she & her mom stayed with me for a couple years after my sister's divorce.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 116||12/24/2012|
Consider this when you give a gift to a young child and do not receive a thank you note or phone call: My aunt (on mother's side) used to send gifts in the mail to my siblings and me.
Our mother was dead and our aunt had a very rocky relationship with our father. He was a neglectful, abusive alcoholic for much of our childhoods. We went without food for long stretches of our childhood, not because he couldn't afford it but because he left our care and feeding up to the stepmother, who did not want stepchildren. Many times, we were simply left alone in the house for days at a time.
So we would get these gifts from our aunt and it was a major bright spot in our bleak lives. I can't tell you how much we loved getting letters and/or gifts from her. We never sent thank you notes to her. Never. She said something about it a couple of times and then stopped sending stuff. We were too ashamed to tell her that we didn't have food in the house or adult supervision. And we had to steal school lunches because no one would give us money to buy them so why the hell would she think we would have stamps to send her thank you notes? Our lives were mostly focused on surviving and little thought was given to proper social interactions.
So, before you condemn your young nieces and nephews for not sending thank you notes, please consider their living arrangements, their access to things such as envelopes, cards, paper, stamps, the mail, etc.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 117||12/24/2012|
To Just a thought: My nephew and nieces come from a well to do family. My bro makes over 100 grand a year. So I think they can send thank you notes. a verbal one would have done just fine as well. Same for you.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 118||12/24/2012|
Fortunately, I only have one nephew and one niece (both in college). This year I gave each of them a book relating to new hobbies (digital photography and candle-making, respectively). I also put $100 cash in the books.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 119||12/24/2012|
Why are we now expected to give anything to nieces and nephews? Or even adult siblings? I grew up in a pretty well to do family. All of the aunts and uncles were the same way. I never expected, or got, anything from them. Neither did my parents. It was never an issues. We all got along fine too.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 120||12/24/2012|
My parents used to buy gifts for all the grandkids but stopped buying for the kid who didn't send a thank you note or call. The smarter grandkids picked up on this (or at least their parents did) and started showing more appreciation for other things my parents did.
We always wrote our own thank you notes when we were growing up. I don't know what happened to my siblings' manners.
As far as family gifts for big families, we draw names out of a hat at Thanksgiving and you buy for the person's name you've drawn. For those living out of town, someone draws a name for them. It's a fun tradition.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 121||12/24/2012|
The way my schedule falls, the luck of the draw has had me working almost every Christmas. I want to give gifts, but when I ask my brother what the girls (and his wife) desire, all I get is a shrug and the proverbial "I don't know." Now that the two older girls are in college, I give cash. It helps with expenses. I over indulge the younger one ; I got her a laptop last year because I knew she really wanted one and lacked it (she's ten). I admit that I feel guilty for not seeing them enough, so I tend to do the Auntie Mame.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 122||12/24/2012|
#114 you sound like a greedy little bastard. that is $20 per teen plus another $50 per teen. Pretty sure that is not being selfish. Kids are spoiled and ungrateful freaken brats now days and think we owe them the freaken world. You take the 20 or 50 and shut up an be thankful you got that much. I don't owe you an ipod or any over priced gift you think you deserve. If that was me. You would get shit.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 123||12/24/2012|
Wish I saw this sooner. I have 17 nieces and nephews who are now having their own children. Gift baskets (or "hampers" in the UK) are a lifesaver. One nice big basket per family.
Here is one from Harrods that I wouldn't mind getting.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 124||12/24/2012|
Here's more, just for giggles. One costs £10K? Jeebus.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 125||12/24/2012|
As the only sibling who amounted to anything, I was always the doting uncle. When they finished school, both of them moved to my city to find decent jobs. My brother hates me.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 126||12/24/2012|
I traditionally bake about 10 different cookies for the holidays, so the nephews and their families receive a generously sized cookie/candy tray wrapped in festive cellophane and ribbon.
|by Gay Uncle Albert||reply 127||10/29/2014|