Author Topic: Is "equal" gifting important?  (Read 8843 times)

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chappy

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Is "equal" gifting important?
« on: December 04, 2012, 02:27:05 PM »
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.

Judah

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2012, 02:32:30 PM »
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.
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NyaChan

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2012, 02:35:49 PM »
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

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2012, 02:36:03 PM »
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.
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Sharnita

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2012, 02:38:14 PM »
I would say if they all get a nice doll at 5 it is equal, unless the oldest gets a nice one every year.

JenJay

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2012, 02:44:55 PM »
It sounds like her plan is to gift each of the girls the expensive doll when they are 5, and I think that's a neat tradition. If she consistently gifted oldest GD the name-brand thing while giving the younger girls the generic version I'd think that was a big problem, but it doesn't sound like that's where this is headed.

With my kids it was important when they were younger that they each had the same number of gifts, regardless of price. Now they are 9, 10 and 12 and we make sure we've spent the same amount per kiddo and if someone ends up with an extra gift we wrap two similar things together if possible (For example my oldest and youngest each have two gifts whereas middle child has three but two are video games so I wrapped them together - every kiddo has two to open!). I imagine when they are teens I'll be able to focus on gifting amount and not worry about the number. We'll see. lol

LazyDaisy

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2012, 02:46:22 PM »
To me equal does not mean same. As long as each person receives a thoughtful gift that takes into account the recipient's interests and needs they are equal. The example you gave of the dolls is an unequal gift because it doesn't in any way take into consideration what each of the granddaughters interests are. Do all of them actually want the more expensive doll? What happens when one of the girls is really into Legos instead of dolls? They kinda get cheated out of a thoughtful individual gift so it winds up being unequal after all. One gets a gift they love and another gets the same gift but hates it.
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Yvaine

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2012, 02:47:41 PM »
I'm all for equalish for the same "type" of people. I've talked here before about a relative who gave lavish gifts to boys and super cheap gifts to girls of the same relationship. It was hurtful in a way that it wouldn't have been if all us kids had gotten something cheap--please note this is not a slam on inexpensive gifts! Just on obvious disparities based on things like favoritism or gender, especially if the recipients will all be opening them together too.

But I don't think it needs to be taken as far as a spreadsheet and having the numbers come out exactly equal. I wouldn't fret about getting Lucy a $20 gift and Timmy a $25 gift. It's when you get Lucy a $5 gift and Timmy a $50 gift, and you have an obvious quality gap, that it gets sticky.

Jules1980

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2012, 02:50:41 PM »
I don't think this is unfair.  Your DD will get a nice doll when she's 5 and since that year MIL will be buying 2 expensive dolls, more than like 5 year old niece will receive lesser gifts.  It seems more like MIL think 5 year old will appreciate very expensive doll more than the others who don't know what they are yet.  Since she does plan on giving the other granddaughters the very expensive doll at 5, I wouldn't worry about it this year.  ALl the 3 years olds are going to see is that 'cool.  we all got dollies.'  These dolls wouldn't happen to cost upwards of 100 dollars and have cool book sets to go with them do they?

Yvaine

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2012, 02:52:09 PM »
I don't think this is unfair.  Your DD will get a nice doll when she's 5 and since that year MIL will be buying 2 expensive dolls, more than like 5 year old niece will receive lesser gifts.  It seems more like MIL think 5 year old will appreciate very expensive doll more than the others who don't know what they are yet.  Since she does plan on giving the other granddaughters the very expensive doll at 5, I wouldn't worry about it this year.  ALl the 3 years olds are going to see is that 'cool.  we all got dollies.'  These dolls wouldn't happen to cost upwards of 100 dollars and have cool book sets to go with them do they?

Yeah, the possible catch in this situation is that the two 3-year-olds may end up with three dolls apiece, when all is said and done, while the older girl still only has one!  :D Unless she gets the cheaper dolls in the years following her rite of passage doll.

SPuck

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2012, 02:56:34 PM »
I think since your MIL is open to discussion about the gift giving plan you should probably talk to her about getting other gifts for the other girls. Besides the less dolls eventually aspect it is also a ticking time bomb if any of the other girls don't end up with the doll because it is announced.

Jules1980

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2012, 03:00:23 PM »
Also, my parents never tried to make it equal, just equalish.  For instance, every year my brother got a pair of very expensive footwear, but that was the footwear he chose to wear all year long so it was worth it to our parents.  However, he only got those and one or two more small gifts.  One year my sister got a high tech expensive calculator for Christmas.  She only got that and some clothing she needed that year.  I never really wanted anything extremely expensive so I always had a lot of little things.  Then it changed and I wanted big stuff and they were almost grown so they just wanted little stuff.  It always worked out.

Drawberry

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2012, 06:01:53 PM »
To me 'equal' does not mean someone get's the same amount of gifts as another, nor the same things. But that equal thought and consideration is put into purchasing or making something for the receiver as an individual person. Quantity isn't really what I believe in and I find it a little absurd to keep track of such a thing. How much X spent on Y and how many gifts Y got sounds more like a catalog then gift giving. The point isn't to receive exactly what we want however we want it, the point is that someone took time from their lives to consider us.

As for the doll idea, it sounds to me like she's waiting until each child is of an age she feels they would be able to appreciate the more expensive doll. I personally don't see anything wrong with this but others may feel differently. 

Hmmmmm

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2012, 09:52:03 PM »
If MIL plans to gift special doll to all GDs at age 5 I think it is fine to give the other GDs a doll that is not as special as long as the dolla given are age appropriate.  A 5 year old is probably ready to care for a soecial doll while 3 yr olds may want to play too hard. 

next year one GD will get  a special doll and maybe the current 5 year old will get a Barbie and the younger two get  tea set.  Then the following year the youngest get their special doll and the older 2 get a collection if books.  It all works out as long as MIL sticks with her plan and isn't always elevating the older GDs gift.

CakeEater

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2012, 11:12:06 PM »
I think equalish gifting among children is more important than among adults. In this case, I'd definitely be buying something different for the younger girls, rather than a cheaper doll of the same kind. In fact, if it was me, I'd be doing the special gift at a certain age thing on their birthdays, and get them something similar for Christmas.