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Birthday gifts. When to stop?

(97 Posts)
Annlilyoliver Tue 20-Apr-21 06:47:18

I have always given fifty pounds to my adult son and same to his wife on their birthdays They are in their mid thirties now I feel it’s unnecessary but I don’t want to disappoint them when they open the birthday card ! Any suggestions for the way forward ?

GrammarGrandma Wed 21-Apr-21 11:05:21

We give birthday presents to our daughters and their husbands/partners and they are two in their 40s, one going to be 39 in June (her husband is 51 tomorrow). We have to send money to the youngest and her husband as they are in Singapore but the others all get things, by negotiation. It was my birthday yesterday and all the "girls" sent carefully chosen presents.

Notright Wed 21-Apr-21 11:16:23

The message of giving seems to have got lost somewhere here. Giving to friends and family is full of joy for me, I love it. Yes as the grandchildren get older, money is best because we just don't know what they like. As they become their own families, it's a downgrade. But certainly not nothing. The only problem is if you haven't got a lot of money to spare. Then give them a £20 Amazon gift card., It is something to open rather than money. It's the pleasure of pleasing that is most important. It doesn't have to be much.

esgt1967 Wed 21-Apr-21 11:17:05

I have one adult daughter and two teenagers and I would always buy them birthday and Christmas gifts (money) no matter how old they get!

I also buy birthday and Christmas presents for my eldest daughter's partner and now my grandson. I recently stopped buying for my adult nephew, both for birthday and Christmas, as he never sent me a birthday card and I never got any thanks for either his birthday or Christmas present so I just stopped doing it. My brother (his dad) still buys for my eldest (adult) daughter but I wouldn't expect him to.

Jillybird Wed 21-Apr-21 11:18:54

I always give my grownup sons and DiL presents at both birthday and Christmas. I give them their age in pounds on their birthdays. Oldest got £47 at his last birthday and youngest got £41. I also send a small gift - recently it's been whatever Moonpig has offered that is vaguely suitable...
I do it much the same but in reverse for the children; they get a big present plus their age in pounds to their bank accounts. I'll keep doing that until they're 21 as I did with my god-daughter. Now she only gets a card but I expect I'll still give a pressie to my own grandchildren. It's a special day so I do it to add to the feeling (hopefully) of being special. There's no age limit on that!

greenlady102 Wed 21-Apr-21 11:22:10

I give gifts (money for birthdays, small gifts and money for christmas) Its for my pleasure.

Brownowl564 Wed 21-Apr-21 11:29:50

If they still buy you presents then it would be rather mean to stop unless you cannot afford it , in which case talk to them well before their birthdays

Alioop Wed 21-Apr-21 11:30:40

Once we left school, started work then presents stopped. My friend would buy me a present from her two daughters every Xmas, I've said for her to stop, but she won't hear of it. Her daughters are adults now, one is now living with her partner and due a summer baby so that means there will be more of them this Xmas. I need to have a word cos I really can't afford presents for 4 of them now as I'm in my own & have to watch the pennies. I just hope she will listen to me this time, can't see it though.

MooM00 Wed 21-Apr-21 11:32:16

I still give my DD and SIL money at Christmas and Birthdays and they are in their forties. Their 2 children cost a lot of money these days to keep up with various things they need. So I find for them to be able to have a treat is really appreciated. Other members of my family my niece and nephews I stopped when they became 21.

Sparky56 Wed 21-Apr-21 11:35:22

I’ve got four adult children and always ask if they want something in particular or money towards something. Same with our two young grandchildren as they have so much! We’ve always been very generous in the past but sadly find it more difficult now we’re retired.
Was upset a few years ago when D i L gave me bag for charity shop which contained Xmas gifts and stocking fillers (not tat BTW!) I’d given her and my son. Makes me think twice about amount I spend and to ask!

Grannytwoshoes Wed 21-Apr-21 11:39:02

I love vouchers .. usually M&S ! You can use them for anything depending on your financial state! How nice to put it towards a cashmere sweater perhaps which otherwise would be out of price range. ! Money is more difficult and often gets put in pocket and not used on desired item!

Oofy Wed 21-Apr-21 11:41:03

I always buy nice presents for our only DC, and now for her lovely partner, together 7 years. Usually ask what they would like. They were renting and sharing, so didn’t want “stuff” as nowhere to keep it, but have just bought a flat (with a hefty mortgage heavily supported by us) with a little garden. Knowing they like pizzas, I offered to buy them one of those new nifty new tabletop pizza makers, not the top of the range, but still pretty generous as a gift, I thought. Was a bit crushed when they said he wanted a Corten steel one costing 4 times the price, a bit ungrateful, I thought. Anyway, I said (truthfully) that I couldn’t afford it. Wouldn’t spend that on a barbecue for us, why should I for them?

Sparky56 Wed 21-Apr-21 11:42:53

I agree there’s pleasure in giving but with four children and then partners it adds up. I used to do them all stockings at Christmas but took me ages and started being very expensive (and not always appreciated - see my previous post!)

jaylucy Wed 21-Apr-21 11:43:18

I still give presents to my son on his birthday and he's in his thirties,but now only small gifts . He earns more than I do and so he usually buys what he wants when he wants!
I have sometimes bought him vouchers for meals out, and experiences , paid for entry into sports he enjoys etc.

Candelle Wed 21-Apr-21 11:45:19

Give whatever you can genuinely afford. If times are tight, give less. If good, whatever you are comfortable with.

We have 'family money' as if we don't give it to our children/grandchildren now, they'll get it when we pop our clogs (- the taxman's cut!).

Oofy Wed 21-Apr-21 11:49:37

On a slightly different note, when to stop presents for my, and my DH’s (much) wider family? Our nuclear family is just us and DD. Used to follow my mum’s practice of giving at Christmas and birthdays till they got married, and after that give to the children, not them. But waters now muddied with many not marrying, or having stepchildren making for a big present buying load (can’t not buy for the steps if buying for the others) . Would feel more gracious if ever got a thank you note, or even a message to say they had arrived. Especially as never see them, even in normal times from 1year to the next and have no idea of their tastes. Not keen on sending vouchers, would have to send more than I usually want to spend!!

inishowen Wed 21-Apr-21 11:49:50

I have been giving my daughter in law a voucher for years. Then my son told me not to give her a voucher as she just spends it on the kids. She doesn't like plants and is an Avon lady, so I am completely stuck now. What's left!

Tangerine Wed 21-Apr-21 11:49:56

Can you afford to give them the money? If so, why not carry on? I am assuming you get on with them.

If you can't afford it, tell them. I feel they will understand.

If you don't want to give as much as £50, why not do as others have suggested? Wine, chocolates or something else that you think they would like.

I think it would be a shame to give them nothing.

Edith81 Wed 21-Apr-21 11:52:30

I always give my children and GC £50 each for their birthdays but presents at Christmas. When I was younger and didn’t have money for treats I always spent any birthday money I received on myself to show them that was the present and I ask them to do the same.

Annlilyoliver Wed 21-Apr-21 11:52:32

Thank you all so much. I think I will carry on and probably increase the amount after reading your opinions !

Worthingpatchworker Wed 21-Apr-21 11:54:34

I don’t have children but, if I did, they’d be aged 25-40 by now. I would make sure they knew I hadn’t forgotten their birthdays as the day is important to them. Even if all I did was invite them for tea and cakes or a meal cooked in their honour. It’s lovely that you give them they always let you know what they spend it on. If they don’t I would, definitely, move on from that.
I love gifts presented with the words, ‘I saw this and thought of you.’
Time together is the best gift, especially if organised by the giver.
If I had grandchildren....obviously I don’t, I would try to be mindful that I would not be the only grandparent. Also, it is difficult to keep up with the likes and dislikes of youth. Again, time spent with them is special. Especially if it is them without their’s their special memory. Sadly, and I’m not trying to be ‘woe is me’ I never got to meet my grandparents.
In essence, what I’m saying is......time shared, memories made are of more importance than objects however thoughtfully chosen and given.
But...hey.....that’s just my opinion.

Theoddbird Wed 21-Apr-21 12:01:32

I only buy for grandchildren but as my son does not gave any I buy for him and his wife.

Calendargirl Wed 21-Apr-21 12:02:42


I apologise if I upset you with my ‘dismissive’ post which you thought unpleasant.

Nightsky2 Wed 21-Apr-21 12:05:46

We have always given our AC money for Christmas and birthdays. We pay it into their bank accounts and it’s up to them what they spend it on.

They are given gifts as well and we’re very generous towards our 2 grandchildren. Sadly we only have the 2.

Moggycuddler Wed 21-Apr-21 12:11:35

We give our adult daughter money or buy her something specific that she has sugggested when asked what she would like. But if it's hard for you to spare the money now, just say so. That you would like to continue giving them the same amount, but it's difficult for you. They certainly should understand. Then either give a reduced amount or a small gift instead.

GrammaH Wed 21-Apr-21 12:16:59

Oh dear, I feel this is a very sad post. My children are 35 and 37, DS has a lovely wife & DD a delightful partner. I can't imagine not giving them birthday presents! We very often give DDIL money to spend on herself as their 2 boys gobble upthe household budget but sometimes we buy her a gift. I enjoy choosing presents, often with a few suggestions from the recipient, and I love to see their faces. Unless we were in really dire straits, I really can't see us stopping. My mum still bought presents for me until she died at 93 when I was 60.