General Etiquette > Holidays

Is "equal" gifting important?

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Growing up my mother kept a spreadsheet for gifts such that every child got the same total $$ spent AND the same total # of gifts.  Personally I think this is a little on the nuts/ over the top side, but wanted to state the bias of my FOO traditions.  Gifting is important in my FOO.

My husband's parents (of whom MIL does all the gifting work) do not share the same philosophy in practice anyway.  During our first few holidays together I was hurt by the inequality by MIL towards her sons and in a separate bucket her DILs; I understand some people do not treat ILs the same as children they raised, so my comparison was between the same "type" people.  DH was quick to point out that "some years are good gift years, some years not, it isn't the important part of the holiday."  And for the most part I have gotten better about not comparing.

In fact, so much so that I didn't take offense when MIL told me her plan for this coming Xmas for the granddaughters.  Oldest granddaughter (5) will get [expensive name brand doll] and three of the other gdaughters (4,3,3 yo) will get similar faux dolls since "only some of them will know the difference".  Her plan is name brand doll will be given at age 5 to all.  Is this rude?  I didn't take offense, but DH did.  he compared it to giving one oreos and the other hydrox.  We both thought giving the younger ones something entirely different would be better.  But is it rude to not gift somewhat equally? 

Although the situation is real, the question is just for discussion between DH and myself since we don't intend to alter MIL's plan.  My daughter is in the half that won't notice the difference.

I don't think it's important to give equally for any one gift giving occasion as long as the gift giving is equal over time.  There have been years that one of my kids got something very expensive and the other did not, because one of them wanting something expensive, but the other one very much wanted something very inexpensive. The next year it might be the other way around.

I think that MIL's problem is that she is gifting things of different value, in a deliberate sense all at the same time.  That said, I can understand her logic - Every Granddaughter will receive a special doll to commemorate  her 5th birthday.  So that IS equal.  It just feels off because in the same year, she is giving lesser dolls to everyone else.  I don't think that in this case it is rude and if a child does notice, I hope MIL explains that the special doll is saved for when they turn 5. 

Outdoor Girl:
I don't see anything wrong with MIL choosing age 5 for when they would get the expensive doll but I do think it would be better to choose something entirely different for the ones not yet 5, rather than a faux version of the expensive doll.

My mother was determined to spend an almost identical amount on my brother and I growing up.  She didn't worry about numbers of presents but if my presents cost $100 and my brother's $110, she'd be out looking for a $10 item to even it up.

Now, my Dad worries about spending similar amounts on both of us.  He decided recently to give my brother some money to buy something he needed so he 'had' to give me the same amount of money to make it even.  (I put it towards getting my car detailed.   :D)  We are all careful to buy gifts in approximately the same price range for my nephews and I did the same for my brother and SIL, although I don't have to worry about that anymore.  Now that my nephews are adults, I try to spend about the same for each of them and my brother.  I'll spend more on my Dad but then, he spends more on me.

I would say if they all get a nice doll at 5 it is equal, unless the oldest gets a nice one every year.


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