Siblings and Holiday Gifts: Tips for Fair Gift Giving
I am one of four children. Four children who spent most of Christmas afternoon comparing which sibling received more. There was always one of us who won the Christmas Lottery – the sibling who took the longest to open their presents (because there were so many) and/or received some jaw-dropping gift that was deemed far better than what anyone else received. If you were lucky enough to have it be your year, great, but if not there was sometimes tears, sadness or disappointment.
Conversely, my best friend is one of two children. In her house, the dollar amount spent on each child around the holidays and birthdays was generally – and consciously – equal. The gift count was often identical (i.e. 10 for her, 10 for her brother). She may not have realized this as a young child, but as she grew older she certainly knew, and I can definitely say she and her brother appreciated this.
My siblings and I certainly never went without, but we definitely experienced some unnecessary resentment from these gift giving practices. As a mother myself, as soon as my second child arrived, I made the decision that gift giving to my children would be done as equally as possible during the holidays. I never wanted my kids to feel like one child was being favored just because he/she was easier to buy for in a given year. To make this happen, I’ve adapted some strategies to keep gift giving to my children fair during the holiday season.
Tips for Maintaining Fair Gift Giving Among Children
Track Gift Prices. I keep track of all gifts and their cost in an excel document when I shop for the holidays. As I buy throughout the holiday season, before filing the receipt, I update the excel document with the gift name in one column and the price in another.
Track Gift Counts. As Christmas nears, I start counting gifts that will be wrapped. Will each child have the same amount to open up?
Adjust the Recipient(s). When it comes down to it, despite my best efforts, things don’t always shake out evenly. This is when I may shuffle gifts around. Perhaps a game I originally bought for my daughter now becomes a gift for both children. Or maybe there’s a DVD I thought my son would like that is now given to the family as a whole.
Return Excess Gifts. Finally, I may even return a gift or two. By keeping track of what I bought and how much I’ve spent, it sometimes makes me realize when I’ve gone a little overboard. I may tuck a few gifts away to return after Christmas or save them for a future birthday.
I know as my kids get older and they each have different needs, it may be harder to keep things on both the quantity and the amount spent equal but I’m going to try really hard.
Do you do anything special to make sure your gift giving to your children is fairly similar?