Fun for all the fam­ily

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

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.

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