A Fair and Balanced Christmas

I thought I had most of the Christmas shopping done long before today. But then when I paused for a moment to do a quick recap of the gifts I have for my two cherubs to unwrap on Christmas morning, I realized I had made a grave error.

Mira has over twice as many gifts as Cordy.

It’s not like I intentionally tried to stiff my older child. Mira is just far easier to shop for, thanks to being very outspoken about what she likes. I know that if I find anything involving Thomas the Train, polar bears, or the color pink, she will squeal with joy and proclaim it the Best Gift Ever.

(Until she opens the next item that fits one or more of those categories, where she will yet again declare it the Best Gift Ever. She never leaves a gift giver disappointed by her reaction.)

Cordy, on the other hand, is a little more difficult. She wants a blue bunny. And maybe a superhero sticker book. Her requests are very specific, and not always items that can be obtained. Guess wrong when presenting her with a gift and you’ll be met with the silence of indifference as she sets it aside and never glances at it again.

So it was an honest oversight that I picked up significantly more gifts for Mira than Cordy. Which means I get to join the crowds today to find at least one more gift for Cordy.

Sure, I could hold back a few items for Mira, but if I did that it would be holding back all of the toys/games, because the polar bear clothing can’t wait until her birthday in May, when it will no longer be winter and she’ll likely be near the end of this clothing size. And even though I know she’ll love the clothing, I can’t make her open only clothing from Santa.

Thankfully, both of my girls don’t have expensive tastes, so I’ll only need to find a good book or an interesting small toy to make up the difference. Sometimes the least expensive item is often Cordy’s favorite. But they’re both old enough now to notice if one has significantly more presents than the other, so I have to at least make sure the gift load is balanced.

My mom was lucky – she never had to deal with the issue of gift equalization. I was an only child, making Christmas an easy task for her – if Santa brought me only one gift, I had no one else to compare it with. But possibly because I grew up as an only child, it’s also not a topic in the front of my mind when buying gifts for my children.

(For the record – I’m not saying I wish I had only one child. They just don’t cover this in the hospital when you give birth to your second child.)

I suppose this will be good training for the years to come, because while they will only notice the number of packages at the moment, I’m sure in the future I’ll have to dodge the “You spent more on her than me!” teenager whine.

And that will be the day I give them equal gift cards and let them pick out what they want.

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  1. I am just glad that my kids aren’t old enough to figure out the comparative worth of their gifts. Like, if each one of them got a gift and two of them cost $10 and one cost $50, no one would notice. I’m not looking forward to the time when they do.

  2. I’ve known from the beginning this would eventually be an issue since I have both a sister and 4 kids, so we’ve tried to have simple Christmas’ from the start. Each child gets a new pair of pjs on Christmas Eve, then the next day they get one thing from Santa, which they can pick and ask for but we put an upper $$ limit on what they can ask for (funny how that’s never clued anyone in – only my 11 year old doesn’t believe anymore, though she swears up and down she does). Then they get books from me, clothing from my husband, and something small from each of their siblings. Then my husband and I give one or two family gifts, usually DVDs and Wii games to be enjoyed by everyone. That’s it. The relatives take care of anything else, and we have so much already. Keeps my clutter down, my budget manageable and manages the kids’ expectations.

  3. I have two sons and their interests overlap. As in, my younger son LOVES just about everything his older brother loves, unfortunately this doesn’t work in reverse. So almost ALL of the gifts for my 10 year old are also gifts for the 6 year old. I feel bad for this kids. So far this hasn’t been an issue because they are very good at sharing and eventually forgetting whose toys are whose. But I am dreading the year when they figure it out and start yelling ‘MINE’ at the top of their lungs.

  4. I HOPE my older son understands the whole “worth” thing Stimey touches on – because the pile of gifts for my younger is going to look pretty impressive, but the WORTH of the older’s pile is probably more. So tough! But – I had the same problem Christina did initially: far more presents for the younger than the older – and for precisely the same reasons.

  5. FireDad and I were struggling with this earlier in the month. We’re equaled out now, but it took creative gift giving!

    Best of luck today!

  6. My mom always went crazy out of her way to not only make sure she spent the same amount of money on each of the three of us, but also that we each had an equal number of BOXES to open. So, for example, if she hit a great sale, you’d open a box stuffed with two pairs of pants, three camisols, two shirts, and a pile of socks. Just all jammed in there as best as possible, so that we all got the same number of “gifts.”

    We’re age 20 through 29 now, and she still does it! It was probably really appreciated when we were little, and now I just think it’s adorable. I’m 29, I live across the country with my husband, and I have my own kid on the way, where my little brother is 20, in college and still living at home on breaks. He needs more stuff than me! Buy him more stuff! It’s ok! I promise not to count!

    Too cute.

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