General Etiquette > Family and Children

Gifting brothers differently.

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I've stayed out of this until now not only because I think you are getting excellent advice, OP, but also because it brings up very painful memories all these decades later. When I was in what is now called the tween/early teen years my maternal grandmother, who made me her favorite when I was younger because I was the first grandchild, did not like my growing independence. She made that point viciously with money, and one Christmas in particular was especially notable. I got a card with a $20 bill inside it and that would have made me very happy (this was about 1963-5)--except that my younger cousins got lots of brightly wrapped gifts, about $200 worth each. This was a major slap in the face, and I recognized it instantly. I never said anything to anyone, but I was deeply wounded and never forgave her. ETA: It completely and permanently destroyed the rel@tionship between myself and my cousins as well.

Please do not use gifts and/or money to favor one over the other, even unconsciously.

Lots of good and interesting advice here. I may have missed it, but was there a mention of Will's other behavior last year, and throughout the year, regarding the OP? If someone doesn't literally say "thank you" upon a receiving a gift, but it is pleasant and friendly, and makes an effort to keep in touch with me, that would seem more positive to me. But if someone basically grabbed the gift and ran into the corner, and I hadn't heard anything at all from him since, that wouldn't be cool in my book.

But, I do like to give people a second chance at least, because anyone can have an off day. I like the idea of giving Will a gift equal to Riley's and then engaging him in conversation about it. Not only would that forge a bond in general, it would allow him to show his appreciation of the gift even if he didn't actually say "thanks."

And in this particular situation, with all the backstory, I admit that I would feel sorry for Will, and would probably try to give him more chances even if he didn't respond "the right way." That doesn't mean I would spend a ton of money on him each year, though. But maybe I would keep giving him $25 cash, and I would give Riley $25 cash at the same time; but maybe a couple weeks earlier I would've taken Riley to lunch, or otherwise "gifted" him away from the holidays, because I feel closer to him and he makes more of an effort to be closer to me.


--- Quote from: MindsEye on November 28, 2012, 11:28:27 AM ---
--- Quote from: mj on November 28, 2012, 11:01:14 AM ---
--- Quote from: MindsEye on November 28, 2012, 08:27:27 AM ---
--- Quote from: SiotehCat on November 27, 2012, 05:38:24 PM ---Okay, so I will give them the same amount of money.

However, if he doesn't show up to the Christmas party, I am going to give him less. In that case, since they won't be in the same place when opening their gifts, it shouldn't make much of a difference.

I won't say anything about last years "thank you", but if I don't get one this year, I will say something close to what Toots suggested.

--- End quote ---

That sounds fine to me.

Honestly... you can gift however you want.  Not everything has to be 100% equal all of the time, and you are much closer (for various reasons) to one brother.  So, it just seems natural to me that of course you would gift them differently.  (My opinion only, YMMV)

--- End quote ---

This goes against a lot of etiquette advice I've seen.  I'm much closer to one SIL, but I gift them both the same.  It's not fair the other SIL lives across the country and we don't have as much opportunity to bond.  I also gift both sets of kids from these SILs the same, irregardless that I'm closer to the set that lives near me. 

I would feel just terrible gifting kids differently because of their life circumstances.  It's not at all what the season is about.

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So I didn't explain myself well.....  by gifting differently I mean something like this - you know brother A very well, so you get him the deluxe tinkertoy set you know he will love, but don't know brother B very well so you get him a giftcard. 

The brothers don't have to get the exact same thing, and frankly I find the insistence on perfect fairness down to the exact same item or exact same dollar amount to be rather boggling.  Frankly, that kind of thing spoils the season for me.  Where is the pleasure of getting gifts for people when they all have to be gifted identically in order for everything to be perfectly fair?  Eh, that is only my personal opinion, and YMMV.

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I don't think gifts have to be identical.  Roughly and comparably equal, yes.  Giving one a $100 at the event, but giving the other one $50 who wasn't at the event is the type of issue I am addressing.  Giving one a giftcard that is roughly the same value as the deluxe gift is fine.  But going out of their way to give a lesser gift because one is not at the holiday and based on the idea that they are not there AND not as a close due to circumstances out of their control is what I'm objecting too.


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