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How Much $$ For Grown Kids' Gifts?

iLander

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Wondering how much to spend on DS and DIL for Xmas this year. DD is still at the age where we can spoil her (college age), but DS is thirty-something now and I am trying to figure out how to ease him into real world gifting. Plus there's an assortment of gifting issues. I'll explain:

When the kids were young, giant Christmas and birthdays were the rule. Easily over $1000 per child, anything and everything they wanted. We'd use 50+ gift bags every Christmas. :???: Upon reflection, probably a bit much.

DH also has the funny habit of buying everyone expensive gifts on HIS birthday. This year, DS got a laptop and DD got a new iPhone. It was a bit awkward, since DIL was along on for the shopping spree, but neither she nor I got anything. I didn't want anything, and specifically said so, but she was mostly silent (usually is, so couldn't read her). DH enjoys giving and it was his idea of a fun birthday, to put aside the issues we've had with DS and treat him and DD like kids again. DS was delighted (he'd been wanting one, apparently), but he and DIL returned it on their way to their house, and got a desktop computer instead (we found out a month later). Which is fine, it's a gift, do what you like with it, of course! But I think DH was a little hurt, but it's not a big deal, but it makes me wonder; were we supposed to get DIL a gift? If they wanted a desktop, DS could have said, very easily, no problem. Or can DH treat his children, without also treating the in-laws? Not sure how that should have gone. :confused: I was in another store at the time, so missed most of the action. That's actually a whole seperate thing, but wanted to explain why we need to pare it down.

Now, that was all quite a bit of money, and we need to scale back for Christmas. I'm pretty sure they're (DS and DIL) not coming for the holidays. Last Christmas, they visited and we spent about $500 on each of them.

Here's my question: when I was a kid, my grandmother gave her sons sock and underwear. Maybe a pair of jeans and a shirt. That's it. About $50 a head. We're getting close to retirement age, and I'd like to start tapering DD off, and get DS and DIL to about $100 each. They both have well-paying jobs. Can I just do gift cards now? Do we give DS and DIL a joint card, for say $200? What IS the protocol? What do your parents give you or what do you give your adult children (whichever applies)?

I have no role models for this beyond my grandmother, as my father stopped giving me gifts when I was 18. I think since then, I've gotten one Christmas ornament and a few Xmas cards from him.
 

Gypsy

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Don't bite my head off, but you and your DH need better boundaries, and to scale back (way back) your expectations with your kids. You guys keep getting hurt because of your expectations and the solution to that is to change your expectations because expecting your kids to change isn't going to happen. You can only control yourself you can't control them.

Until I got married my parents and family typically gave me about 50-100 bucks per event, per couple. So my aunt would give me a hundred, my uncle fifty, etc. and my parent's standard gift was 100 bucks. My husband, before were were married got a gift around 25-50 bucks from my family. Usually some sort of shirt or alcohol (wine). And that was more than generous enough for both of us. My family is very secure financially so we don't feel guilty getting gifts from them like with do with my MIL (more on that below).

Since I've been married only my parents really gift any more. I mean, someone might gift us a bottle of wine or a nice candle or something off the cuff, but we don't get gifts any more for occasions. My parents still gift me around 100 bucks, usually a check twice a year (birthday and Christmas). And about 30-50 bucks for DH if they want to get him something separate which they rarely do.

My MIL has never really gifted us much, and she can't afford much as she is well into retirement on a fixed income in a house that is a money pit that she refuses to leave. She does what she can. But it's not regular. She never exceeds 100 bucks and if exceeds 50 bucks, we usually feel uncomfortable and thank her, but tell her not to be so generous. We typically gift her about 50-100 bucks or the equivalent 3 times a year: birthday, mother's day, Christmas. Wonderful thing about her is that she has no expectations and is not insecure of our feelings for her. If we can't afford to to much for her she NEVER complains or thinks it means we don't love her. My mother godforbid, if you forget to gift or can't afford something nice you get a "you don't love me" guilt trip. My mother is desperately insecure. It's exhausting.

Honestly if your kids are married and doing well for themselves I think, personally, anything over a hundred/two hundred per person is excessive.

One thing I DO like about my husband's family is that when they gift us they usually either gift me something equal to DH, or gift to us as a couple. Which I think is MUCH more appropriate (and what I tend to do for people). I SEVERELY dislike that my family treats DH as a second class citizen when it comes to gifts. It's a bad message. Not that DH cares, but I do. I would MUCH prefer they gift me less and gift him more (still spending the same amount, but spending on the two of us equally).

DH's family treats me like a 'full' family member. In my family people that marry in are always treated like '1/2' members. And that explains a lot of the problems with my family dynamic. But I can't change them. I can only change myself. So I gift equally to my family members, whether they marry in or are born in. It's all I can control.

You will notice that when your Son returned "his" gift, he returned it for something that was for the two of them, a desktop. Maybe that's a message you need to hear. He noticed is wife was excluded and did the only thing he could to fix that.
 

sonnyjane

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Now that I'm in my 30's and out in my own home, I definitely PREFER gift cards or cash to other gifts. My mom still enjoys wrapping things so she'll mail me little trinkets/stocking stuffers to unwrap on Christmas, but I mostly get gift cards and a check. Check maybe for $100-$200 and then maybe a gift card for $50 to a favorite restaurant. She mails DH about $100 in gift cards to Home Depot or Foot Locker and then another gift card for a restaurant. My mom is big on Christmas and gives more than I think most families.

My husband's parents just mail him and me a joint $50 gift card for a restaurant typically.
 

chemgirl

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We never had huge holidays so my parents haven't exactly scaled back, but they have switched to household items and gift cards now that we're older and have our own style.

We still get stockings with socks, lip balm, candies etc. Mom bought new ones with DH's and BIL's names on them so they get their own. Last year they bought DH and I some fancy pans as our joint gift and then gave us each a $100 gift card to stores we like. Mom was an English teacher so we still get gift cards for $25 at the local book store. So all in all maybe $200 per person and the everyone is treated equally whether bio kid or married into the family.

Birthdays are a nice dinner out and a card with a gift card. They do the same for me and DH.

I don't know if it's right or normal or whatever, but it works for us.
 

iLander

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Gypsy- I think you're right. :wavey: He received a laptop, and traded for a desktop, which makes sense for them both to use. We do need to scale back, expectations, gifts, etc. Agree. Now do we just say "hey, the computer was the big Xmas gift this year?" Not really sure how to do this . . . Will do couple gifts from now on, though.

Sonnyjane;
this sounds good, comfortable for all.

Chemgirl:
how to do this scaling back . . . ?
 

iLander

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Where's DF? :wavey:

He's given elaborate jewelry gifts to his girls. :bigsmile:

DF, how did you scale back from those bracelets? Or are they still getting "the good stuff"?
 

Gypsy

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iLander|1445394481|3940483 said:
Gypsy- I think you're right. :wavey: He received a laptop, and traded for a desktop, which makes sense for them both to use. We do need to scale back, expectations, gifts, etc. Agree. Now do we just say "hey, the computer was the big Xmas gift this year?" Not really sure how to do this . . . Will do couple gifts from now on, though.



I can't advise you there. I'm very direct. And that's a blessing and a curse. I wouldn't know tact if you threw it at me.

So what I would do is just be direct. I'd call or email, or whatever your son and say... "You know son, I noticed that you exchanged the laptop for a desktop. And I am really glad you did that. You turned a personal gift to you into a gift for the two of you, and that's great. I think that's a change we need to make, your father and I. Now that your married, I think it's important that with gifts we either give you something as a couple, or if there is a personal gift we want to give one of you, we make sure the other spouse is equally included. I just wanted to let you know that we will be making this change and feel really good about it. "

Like I said. Direct is my way.

As for the 'big gift' being a computer. Or scaling back gifts. No one in my family said anything to me. It wasn't a discussion. It was just...I got married and when my birthday/Christmas rolled around I noticed that the cards we got weren't accompanied with checks. And that was it. I figured it out and was absolutely fine with it.

So, I wouldn't actually say anything about that. I would just ask them maybe to start a JOINT Amazon Wishlist for your convenience and ask them to keep it updated with things they would like. Then you guys can buy them things they want from there, you don't have to guess at amounts. And just make sure to be even handed. And spend what you think it appropriate. They'll get what they get and be happy about it.

That's the point of gifting. It's not about the other person's expectations. It's about what you can do. So you do what you can. I don't think that needs explanation.
 

chemgirl

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iLander|1445394481|3940483 said:
Gypsy- I think you're right. :wavey: He received a laptop, and traded for a desktop, which makes sense for them both to use. We do need to scale back, expectations, gifts, etc. Agree. Now do we just say "hey, the computer was the big Xmas gift this year?" Not really sure how to do this . . . Will do couple gifts from now on, though.

Sonnyjane;
this sounds good, comfortable for all.

Chemgirl:
how to do this scaling back . . . ?

Do they also spend large amounts on you? If so, then a talk about Christmas and budgets and scaling back is probably a good idea. If they don't and the gift giving is mostly one sided, just give them what you're comfortable with. It's a gift, they're not entitled to anything in particular. Decide on what you want to do going forward and do it. If they ask just explain what you did here, that they are adults, you are thinking about retirement etc.

Since DD is still a student and not technically on her own I think that is a separate issue and shouldn't really be influenced by what you do for DS and DIL.
 

GliderPoss

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Wow iLander you guys are super generous! :-o I definitely think the gifts could be scaled back a little.

In my immediate family there are 10 people (5 couples including Mum & Dad) so we do a sort of "draw" so one couple just buys one other couple a nice gift each Christmas. It's max $100 per couple. It could be two separate smaller gifts or a larger joint one.

Then all 4 of us kids chip in another $50 towards a "Parents Gift" worth $200. Plus gifts for in-laws etc total should always be less than $300 otherwise we'd all be flat broke each December... :lol:

Maybe you should just start with smaller, couple oriented gifts? Everyone needs to be roughly equal so if you buy DS a Christmas gift, DIL should get one too.
 

Gypsy

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Oh. I just remembered. My mother does indulge me sometimes. And same with my MIL. If they want to get their kid something in particular and splurge, they do it. BUT they don't do it for special occasions. So not for Christmas or our Birthdays.

But there are sometimes 'just because' gifts that they splurge on. Once a year my buys like 200-400 in clothes for me. I don't buy myself a lot of nice labels and I'm not very fashion forward. And that gets on my mom's nerves. SO once a year she gets a bug up her tail and goes out and buys me a bunch of clothes-- or just one thing really nice that she thinks I need. Her hit rate is about 50% on what I keep, and she knows that. But she always insists that I return the items that don't work for more clothes for me, and not on other things. I think that's more about her, than about it. My clothes don't bug me and while I appreciate the splurges, they are not something that is on my radar most times.

DH's mom will spend care packages of things that he particularly likes sometimes too. There will usually be something in there for me too, but the majority of the package is for him. And that works. He IS her kid.

So I think you can splurge on your kid separately sometimes. But I think you have to be thoughtful about how you do it.

My mom also balances splurging on me with ways she indulges my husband. Usually with food. She cooks his favorite meals like ALL the time. More often than she makes mine!!!

And my MIL is just VERY thoughtful with me. It's in a thousand little ways that she lets me know how much she loves and appreciates me.
 

stracci2000

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You say they both have well paying jobs.
They can buy their own toys now!
Find out where they like to eat, and give a nice restaurant gift card.
 

Dancing Fire

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iLander|1445394956|3940487 said:
Where's DF? :wavey:

He's given elaborate jewelry gifts to his girls. :bigsmile:

DF, how did you scale back from those bracelets? Or are they still getting "the good stuff"?
They are both grown adults now, so I'm done with jewelry gifts. We gift them $100 cash for their BDs and $200 cash for Chinese New Year.That's it from now on until we kick the bucket.. :silenced: :bigsmile:
 

missy

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I agree with Gypsy. You should treat each member of the family as equally as possible when it comes to gift giving. My parents are just as generous with my dh as they are with me and treat him like he is their son and not son in law if that makes sense. They love him like a son they really do. And the gifts they give us are usually cash gifts because we are both so picky. They gift us during our birthdays and then for our anniversaries. For Christmas/Hanukkah we get smaller gifts from my parents.

My MIL OTOH never gives either of us any gifts ever. We buy her gifts occasionally for special birthdays i.e. 65, 70, 75, 80 but she has never given us anything with exception of the wedding gift and well that's just the way it is. Oh wait, no I am wrong. When my dh turned 50 she gave him $50 and when I turned 50 she gave me nothing. LOL I am not making this up. And she is well off so it is not about that but it doesn't bother us. She is not generous by nature whereas my parents who have much less money are very generous with all their children.
 

momhappy

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I'm curious - what do they gift you in return? As adults (who do well for themselves) do they also gift elaborate gifts of more conservative ones?
We don't really gift with specific dollar amounts in mind, but we certainly try to gift in amounts that are equivalent to what we're being gifted.
If you're wanting to scale back, I think gift cards (in more conservative amounts) are a great idea. You don't need to make a scene about it - you could mention that you're handling gifts a little differently this year (and from here on out) or you could just start the new trend and continue with the pattern with no mention made prior to the gifting.
 

House Cat

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My kids are 22, 21, 21, and 10. I have always gifted $200 each at Christmas, not including stockings and $150 at birthdays and continue to do so. The girlfriends and boyfriends get $50 each and will continue to do so until they marry my children. I feel this is a reasonable amount of money to gift adult children. I usually buy gifts from lists they give me, unless they specifically ask for cash. One of my kids always asks for cash because he is terrible with his money and is always strapped, LOL.

My adult children are still at the stage where they are in college and working or are making a modest living. I don't expect much in return. I receive funny or sentimental/very well thought out gifts in return.
 

PintoBean

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Do they stay overnight? I'd say gift fun stuff as opposed to pricey stuff like jammies for everyone and stockings like chemgirl's and maybe a nominal gc like $10 to target or Starbucks inside the stocking along with socks, gum, lip balm, etc. and everyone wears their Jammie's that night lol.
 

iluvshinythings

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This is an interesting topic as I've been giving this some thought myself. I only have the one daughter. I scaled back when the first grandson was born and usually give DD cash. I normally give $200 for Christmas and another $200 for her birthday. I do the same for my SIL. I go crazy buying for the grands. My DD and SIL are still scraping buy and saving for a house.

My parents usually give around $50 for my birthday and disregard my DH. I hate that they leave him out and really appreciate that my in-laws treat us the same. My mother is nuts and has decided that Christmas is a pagan holiday. (don't ask) She no longer celebrates Christmas which cuts a couple of hard-to-buy-for people off my shopping list. His parents normally give $50 a piece for birthdays. I'm collecting Fiestaware so that's normally what we get for Christmas. We normally spend about the same amount on them.

DH's family are much more conservative when it comes to gift giving so it's been an issue. His parents had four children and each of their children have two children. What I think DH is missing is that I only have one child and two grandchildren so it works out to be about the same amount of money. Maybe I need to try and communicate that to him and see if he still thinks I'm doing too much.
 

smitcompton

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Hi,

Since you have had some issues in the past with your son and DIL, I think you ought to mention that you are cutting your gift giving for Christmas and birthdays since you are planning to retire soon. Otherwise they will think you are mad at them.

I give my son 250.00 for birthday and Christmas, If he were married I would give the same amount. Last Christmas I bought him stuff for his bike in addition to the money because I didn't like the feel of just giving money. He returned all the items I bought. He didn't like them(helmet, bike tire pump, and a basket which he hated). Money it is.

I had a visit from a niece. I let her go into my closet to take clothes she wanted, I mentioned I had a vintage fox jacket and a mink stole. She knew I wanted to give her the fox jacket, but she assumed the mink stole would be for her sister. I explained that when they were children you had to give each child a similar gift, but now that the were adults I did not do that anymore. I kept the stole. When she was in some money trouble I sent her 250.00. I like that amount. No birthdays anymore for nieces, except a greeting, no Christmas any more(no card either),

And I would never give a gift of equal value to match someones gift to me. I give what I can afford or want to give. My life circumstances have changed in my lifetime several times. I have been both generous and tight.

Annette
 

iLander

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Okay, you guys have been a HUGE help! :wavey: :wavey:

They are saving for a house, so we will send them a check (addressed to both of them) for $200 and mark it as "house fund". Or should I not mark it?

Smitcommpton; agree, I think I will have to mention something, or it will be misunderstood.

HotPozzum; we were making a lot more money back then.

Gypsy; glad to hear about the splurges, would like to still have that right (it's a DH birthday thing :rolleyes: ) but will stick with couple's gifts.

momhappy: They are around $100 for each of us (DH, DD, and myself), various things from our Amazon wish lists

iluvshiny things; will scale back birthdays, too (no more big screen TV's for DS :lol: ), $100 gift card each of them.
 

chrono

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I gift my parents $100 cash each for any and all occasions (birthday, Xmas, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc). For my children, I spend around $50 to $100 each for their birthdays and Xmas. I will increase the budget if I combine the occasions. I will do the same once they are adults. $100 is a simple number to remember and keep consistent and cash makes it easy for them to get whatever they want or even save it. It is also neither too small or extravagant.
 

Rhea

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We're the grown up kids and I'll happily tell you how it's handled by both my parents and DH's parents.

My parents normally spend around $100 - $150 on me at Christmas and for birthday it's normally a card and maybe a small trinket if they find something I like. This year a got a cool little silver ring which my mother said reminded her of me for my birthday. My parents spend around half that amount on DH and it's normally an add-on to something I've purchased for him. So one year I purchased a game and they purchased additional accessories for DH. My sister spends about $40-$60 on each member of the family, DH included.

For birthday DH's parents normally give me a couple items of clothing. I loathe clothes shopping and DH's mum is the queen of bargain shopping. I'd guess these items cost around £50 but it's hard to tell as sometimes they are super nice and I know DH's mum purchased them for 75% off in a sale. DH's parents normally give him some clothing and about £20-£40 in cash. I think. DH gets cash from his aunt (£20) and nan so I'm never sure who gave what.

For Christmas we decided (I mean I did) that we were tired of clutter and needless little things so we do stuff together. We decide what event together, DH & I book event tickets, DH's parents pay for the meal. Last year we went to Cirque du Soleil. The previous year we saw the Book of Mormon. Everything we could want costs either a lot of money and requires saving or a little money and we pick up as we discover we want it. Doing interesting things together solves all these problems and I believe we all enjoy them because Feb usually beings with, so what are we doing next year?

Sorted! We're in our early 30's and have been together over 13 years so it's a pretty well established pattern.
 

partgypsy

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Every family is different what the expectation on gifts are. I think it is totally OK and good for you to give them a heads up, and say we are heading towards retirement (or we are in retirement) and are scaling back Christmas gifting. $200 per child is still generous, and checks are welcome everywhere. I still think it is nice to have some stocking stuffers to wrap, and if you do that, address the check to both son and DIL, and have some gifts specifically for her to unwrap as well.
 

Rhea

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iLander|1445394481|3940483 said:
how to do this scaling back . . . ?

Not directed toward me but may I answer it? You just do. The same way that your son probably just stopped consulting you in the same way as he used to. Or that he just started saying "we" rather than "me". I had no big conversation with my parents or DH with his. DH used to get great gifts from his parents! I wished I was their child. And then it was less. I'm guessing DH's parents decided without consulting him the same way that DH and I decided as a couple, without consulting his parents, what we were willing to do for them for gifts.
 

ame

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As of a few years ago, we stopped exchanging gifts on my side full stop save for my nephews. Any money spent goes towards the adopted families, which we go all out for. Like...blow their minds crazy. We do give my nephews gifts, and I spoil them rotten.

On my husband's side we still do gifts for bdays and xmas. We try to self-impose a limit of $100-150 each, but sometimes it's way less, sometimes it is more.
 

Jambalaya

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Seems like most people give their adult kids an average of around $150. You know, I thought there would be at least some people for whom it would be more. Perhaps those people are keeping quiet! But where there is some money - and let's face it many PSers aren't badly off - I've seen families gift their daughters jewelry worth 1-3k every single Christmas. Someone I know airily said once, "Yes, I usually get DD something nice from Tiffany's for Christmas" as an example. Don't we have any uber-gifters here? I'm surprised. Maybe they're embarrassed to come forward, but if anyone is in the habit of gifting their DDs/DILs extravagant jewels, I'd love to read about it. Might even have some suggestions!
 

lyra

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We are scaling back this year too. I'm aiming for $200 plus stockings. Once we have grandkids, the funds will go more towards them. I may have to wait a while though. It's hard to think of gift ideas. Everything is so expensive here. I will ask them if they'd prefer money, but my husband prefers giving gifts. He always complains that there's too much, then when everything is unwrapped he says we didn't get them enough. We don't really buy anything for each other. He does the stockings, and he totally overdoes that.
 

Asscherhalo_lover

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My Mother gives me a birthday gift still (I'm nearly 30) and she'll usually spend around $100. She also gifts my DH with a gift around $100 for his birthday. He is treated as equal. For X-mas it's usually a joint gift with a combined value of at most $200 and then she'll often get is each a "small" gift. She is very fair and treats us the same. We are expecting our first child soon and I would expect that she will move the spending onto him and not in addition to us.
 

Dancing Fire

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momhappy|1445429439|3940589 said:
I'm curious - what do they gift you in return? As adults (who do well for themselves) do they also gift elaborate gifts of more conservative ones?
We don't really gift with specific dollar amounts in mind, but we certainly try to gift in amounts that are equivalent to what we're being gifted.
Headaches!... ;(
 

Gypsy

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They are saving for a house, so we will send them a check (addressed to both of them) for $200 and mark it as "house fund". Or should I not mark it?

.

They are adults, and once given it.is their money. I would not mark it. Too controlling IMO.
 

nala

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My mom gives me 50 for my bday and a trinket for Xmas. She is not well off. My hubby's parents, on the other hand, give their grown children an obscene amount of money for Xmas. Obscene. They are very well off and like to see their grown children smile. Who am I to judge? Especially when hubby shares with me!!! :lol:
 
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