If girlfriend buy holiday gifts for the kids in your prolonged family, does over there come a point when you deserve to stop? when do "the kids" stop being kids?. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

TORONTO – It’s a conversation some family members have in the lead-up to the holidays. Others prevent it due to the fact that it have the right to be awkward; everyone isn’t always on the very same page.

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But side-stepping situations rarely solves them, so let’s simply put it the end there. If you buy holiday gifts for the youngsters in your prolonged family, does there come a allude when you deserve to stop?

When carry out “the kids” protect against being kids?

Do friend buy it spins the youngsters in your extended family protect against putting toys on their wish lists? Till lock graduate native high school, university or graduate school? execute you buy because that them till they have actually kids, then add the next generation to her holiday list?

Sadly, there appears to be no single answer, no succinct protocol like “forks ~ above the left, velvet on the right” that renders it a simple call for all concerned. But some etiquette experts have available suggestions come help.


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Let’s begin with the doyenne the etiquette mavens, Judith Martin. Martin – perhaps better known as miss Manners – says critical point to save in mind is the there is no need to stop buying presents for nieces and nephews. If you reap doing so, you may continue.

“It’s one means to keep in touch,” note Martin, that addresses the social situations of “gentle readers” in her thrice-weekly syndicated newspaper column and in a variety of books.

Should you wish, however, come at part point transition from giving presents to sending out a seasonal letter or card, Martin says a how amazing tender age as a potential demarcation point.

“The an initial cut-off would certainly be … children who have actually learned come write however don’t,” Martin states with a little of bite to her delivery.

She refers, of course, to kids who execute not pen thank-you note to to express gratitude for the presents they have actually been sent.

“I would give them a year or two to check out that this is a pattern. And yes, if one is not demonstrably pleased through presents, why give them? You can assume that your presents are annoying them.”

Anna post of the Emily post Institute suggests the allude at which children stop going out for Halloween can be a time once you might think about altering gift-giving patterns, if that is a goal.


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Karen Cleveland, the Toronto-based writer of the blog “Finishing School,” suggests the allude at i beg your pardon nieces and also nephews begin to knife an earnings might likewise be a reasonable time come discontinue gift giving.

All 3 agree the inquiry isn’t just “when?” but “how?” for instance, if a family has several children, buying for some yet not others might lead come hurt feelings.

Post suggests using transition gifts, moving at a suggest to buying a tiny token gift – a beloved Christmas tree ornament, if Christmas is the holiday being commemorated – fairly than a larger present. Or to buy a present for the household as a whole, rather of for each separation, personal, instance child.

Letting the future previous recipients that your gifts – or your parents – in on her plans is an excellent form, says Cleveland.

In fact, if your family is one whereby you buy for her sister’s children and she buys because that yours, you need to let her siblings understand of your intentions – and well before Christmas. That is probably too late to execute that this year.


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“The previously you make changes to created traditions, the much more time world have to gain used come the idea,” post says.

Another means to take care of this kind of readjust would it is in to acquire all involved to agree to a system through which people attract names. Rather of buying because that all her siblings’ children, you can buy for one. But this as well takes planning – and also general agreement, the specialists says.

If you space going to avoid buying gifts for a niece or nephew that is older, you could discuss the readjust with him or her. For instance, you could indicate that this is the last year you will be sending a gift or the this year you will not be sending out a present.

“At that allude you have to send a heat Christmas letter for this reason they think it’s not an accident,” young name says.

Post favours having actually a conversation fairly than sending a note, come ensure that there are no ache feelings. The suggest to get throughout is that this isn’t around something having gone wrong in the relationship, yet rather is motivated by the passage of time.

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“We regularly write notes once we don’t want to communicate with people. And this is the best time come engage,” post says.