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How to be 'the cool Aunty' at Christmas (and all times).

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When your brothers and sisters have kids, everything changes.

You find yourself completely obsessed with your niece or nephew, wanting to spoil them rotten and watch their eyes light up when you play and explore the world with them. You want to show your friends photos of them. You want to see them grow into little humans with little personalities and big imaginations.

Let’s be honest, you’re the second mum to this lucky child, but… considerably cooler. And yes, there are many perks to being “the cool Aunty”. You get all the positives of having an awesome niece or nephew, with none of the responsibilities of being their actual parent. THE DREAM!

But there’s occasionally competition for the role of “the cool Aunty”. Especially around Christmastime, when getting the gift they’ll love the most is a high priority on every awesome Aunty’s list. Then there’s the added pressure of getting something their parents are OK with too.

Of course, you don’t have to be an actual Aunty to be the “cool Aunty”. You can be the older step-sister, or even just a cool older cousin.

Luckily, there are some simple ways to keep your “cool Aunty” cred. We asked around the Mamamia office to see how our awesome Aunties get it right. Because let’s be honest, it’s the best to be the best.

The Cool Aunty goes overboard or goes home.

Eloise knew she was the cool Aunty when she FaceTimed her nephew to let him know she couldn’t come over. He went into full meltdown.

“Being the cool Aunty is harder for me because I’ve lived on the other side of the country for almost his entire life. What it does mean is that I end up going a little overboard when I see him,” Eloise said.

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Eloise and her nephew. Image: Supplied.

"Last Christmas I bought a 6ft tall inflatable T-Rex costume and put it on in 35-degree weather just to entertain him. He wasn't super keen on it, so I cracked it out at Easter as well. I will publicly humiliate myself just to keep a grin on his face, he's my best friend," she added.

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T-Rex
Jurassic Aunt. Image: Supplied

The Cool Aunty knows how to spoil.

For Nicolle, being the cool Aunty is the result of having no kids of her own. This means those kids are spoilt with both love and... lollies.

"My nieces and nephews are all pretty young still, so they don't know that I am the 'cool' aunty yet. However, I am child free so I actually give up my time to hang out with them, play with them, buy them things, I always FaceTime my nieces and nephews in Perth," said Nicolle.

Being an Aunty who lives far away can be tricky. Nicolle begs her sister to babysit when she's in town, and because she doesn't see them that often, presents are very important.

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Nicolle and her nephew. Image: Supplied.

The Cool Aunty thinks outside the box.

Being the cool Aunty doesn't actually have to have anything to do with literally being an Aunt. Families are structured in a million different ways, so for Rachael being the cool older cousin is equally as rewarding.

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Rachael bought her five-year-old cousin a Ukulele for his birthday this year, "purely to annoy his parents".

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Rachael and her nephew. Image: Supplied.

"He took it with him everywhere he went, including swimming lessons. He absolutely loved it, and I've been his favourite ever since. His parents hated it and are still mad at me for it," she said.

The Cool Aunty bribes the tribe.

Then of course, there is bribery.

Janine says that bribery is the number one way to be the best Aunty.

"Giving them the best presents, like the toy they can't put down or their favourite shirt, always makes me the coolest," she said.

"I gave my nephew a soft toy lion named 'Liam', who my nephew cannot put down and must take to bed each night. My sister gave my nephew a ride on toy car for his birthday which he also absolutely loves and wears the best smile while driving it. We are both competitive and want to win the coolest Aunty status," she added.

She added that the reward for "coolest" Aunty is being the first one the nephew runs up to for a big cuddle: "The prize is just them".

best Aunty
For Janine, bribery always works. Image: Supplied.
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The Cool Aunty really, really gets their interests.

When Rikki was little, her Aunty won her heart through... BLING.

"My Aunty was the best when I was little because she was the only one who would paint my nails for me and glue on bling - the bling was EVERYTHING," she said.

But she admits for her own nephew the competition is a little more... niche.

"I visited my extended family over the long weekend and when we were sitting around the pool, enjoying the sun, I heard my nephew humming on the deck chair next to me. Listening for a bit I cottoned on to what he was signing and jumped up off my chair and started finishing off his lyrics to Eminem's 'Lose Yourself'," she said.

"Before I knew it, he was on his feet rapping away in unison - it was so awesome! When we finished up he yelled out 'Oh my God Aunty Rik, I didn't know you knew that song. You are so cool!'," she added.

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Rikki and her nephew. Image: Supplied.

Relationships with Aunties and cool older cousins are the best. They are a surrogate parent, a babysitter, and a friend.

It's a special relationship that truly lasts forever (especially if you're the coolest).

What are you getting your little niece or nephew this Christmas?

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