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.