Fun for all the family
QResident agony uncle Kit Hesketh-harvey solves your dilemmas My siblings persist in breeding (not with each other, I hasten to add) and it feels as if I’m gaining more nieces and nephews by the day. They’re adorable, but birthdays and Christmas are becoming a financial nightmare— am I allowed to stop buying gifts for my brothers and sisters? Do I have to tell them or just fade it out? P. C., London Of course you’re allowed to—your siblings will be grateful to be let off the same hook. Start by slipping into neutral and giving each family a shared gift they can enjoy as a nuclear unit. (I don’t mean literally nuclear, as in a fun day out at Sellafield—perhaps a ride on the fabulous flumes at Center Parcs in Elveden or a box for the pantomime at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre?)
Thereafter, give the children a shared Xbox game, which will allow parents time off for good—or bad— behaviour, released from supervising their progeny; a gift in itself. Once the nieces and nephews turn 18, you can switch the present-giving back to your own generation. A family National Trust membership; a subscription to COUNTRY LIFE? If, at that point, the juniors grumble, the grasping little beasts don’t deserve presents at all.