Author Topic: Is "equal" gifting important?  (Read 8103 times)

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blarg314

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2012, 03:48:31 AM »

In the specific example here, I don't see a problem. I'm not sure an under 5 would notice that one doll was brand name and the other wasn't, or know that one doll cost more than the other, and the MIL plans to give the same kind of doll to the other girls at the same age.

Deciding to make it all dolls is a bit odd, admittedly.

In the general sense - I do think gifting in a family (like to all the kids, or all the grandkids) needs to be kept reasonably fair. That doesn't mean exactly fair - like the same number of gifts, or identical dollar amounts, but rather that it shouldn't be obvious that one child is getting much better gifts than another.

The idea that things balance out over time works if it really does balance over time (ie, not being used as an excuse), and, importantly, that the recipients are able to understand this.  Adults can should be able to adapt to year to year variations. Kids, on the other hand, are a lot less able to process "Last year you got lots of presents and your sister didn't get many, so this year she gets lots and you don't get much", (a year is a long time for a kid), and they aren't as good at hiding hurt feelings at the time.

kherbert05

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2012, 05:59:11 AM »
My Mom was like your mom. She grew up in rural Canada during the depression and WWII. Her youngest 5 siblings grew up in the post war boom. Brothers were allowed to have railroad train sets. She didn't have one till the year before she died. Sis and I heard the story from an Aunt and bought her one.

I think what your MIL is doing is fair. Many families have a "year" were you get a special gift. 5 for an American Girl or similar doll makes sense. The younger girls getting other dolls more age appropriate.

Now the rules
1. She has to keep up with this rule. THere is a poster here that had a mom or grandmother declare a similar rules about some special gifts/trips. Except the poster was always skipped over. There wasn't enough money that year but the sisters/cousins older and younger got the special gifts. I think they even gaslighted claiming she got the gift, when she called them on it.

2. Do the girls want dolls. For years Sis and I would go home from family gift exchanges and a good 1/3 to 1/2 of my gifts would go into Sis's room (when mom wasn't looking) because I had no interest in them. The three of us are close in age (Cousin C, me, and Sis) because the other two were girlly girls who loved clothes and make up. We all got that stuff. We would get make up kits. Expensive kits that I wasn't allergic to - but I hate make up. I let my ears heal from the piercings as soon as my parents stopped checking them. I hid the clothes until they fitted Sis (I itch if I wear anything that isn't cotton) One year Sis and Cousin C asked the relatives why they didn't care about what I liked and it stopped. (It was kind of a weird blip. Because they were aware of my different interests at other times of the year, and would go out of their way to make sure I got to do what I thought was fun on family trips and such.)
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mamakinz

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2012, 06:36:50 AM »
With my kids and my niece and nephews I try to be equal-ish. It's hard cuz my niece also celebrates her birthday on Christmas Day.

But my brother, sister and I have find memories of my grandmother growing up -- she took "equal" to an amusing degree!! And we laugh about it now, it's one of our fond memories of her!!!  She had a budget for Christmas -- say she had $100 for each of us -- if she didn't spend the complete $100 we got the remaining money in an envelope!! And not just a large amount -- if she spent $92.50 on my gifts; I got $7.50 in an envelope!!! 

I don't know if part of that came from being a middle child and feeling like her sister "got more" when they were growing up or if she was just that obsessive about being fair. But it carried over to other big occasions like high school graduation -- when my sister was getting ready to graduate (3 years afte I did) she actually asked me how much she had given me so she could make sure to give my sister the same amount!!

We loved her dearly with all her little "quirks" and miss her lots!!!

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2012, 09:27:38 AM »
But my brother, sister and I have find memories of my grandmother growing up -- she took "equal" to an amusing degree!! And we laugh about it now, it's one of our fond memories of her!!!  She had a budget for Christmas -- say she had $100 for each of us -- if she didn't spend the complete $100 we got the remaining money in an envelope!! And not just a large amount -- if she spent $92.50 on my gifts; I got $7.50 in an envelope!!! 

Love it!   :D
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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2012, 11:12:21 AM »
My gut reaction is that it's off to have the special 5yo gift given at an event where all the kids are getting presents. I think "equal/ish" gifting is important in situations like that. If it were on the kid's b-day where he/she is the only one getting a gift seems much better. You might suggest to MIL that it would be more special that way if you find that more acceptable than her current plan.

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Zilla

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2012, 11:25:52 AM »


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.
Not sure what the gifting of the dils have to do with it but I see nothing wrong with what mil is doing.  She specifically is telling you that your daughter will get the "real" doll at age 5 but instead for appearances she will gift her with a faux doll that is similar.  That tells me she is trying to make sure the kids won't notice and making an effort.  I also like how she told you ahead of time as well to ward off any ill feeling.  If she was truly not caring in gifting equally, she would have not said anything and simply gift the kids whatever.  Instead I see thoughtfulness and kindness.

bopper

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2012, 03:49:04 PM »
My MIL took the older cousins to see the Lion King on Broadway.  She did not take the little cousins because they were too little.  But when they were 5, they were taken as well. 

I don't think it is rude to give age appropriate gifts as long as you follow through on actually doing that. So if each girl gets an American Doll when she is 5, then that is fair. Saying you will but then not doing it isn't so cool.

Lynn2000

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2012, 08:58:01 PM »
My gut reaction is that it's off to have the special 5yo gift given at an event where all the kids are getting presents. I think "equal/ish" gifting is important in situations like that. If it were on the kid's b-day where he/she is the only one getting a gift seems much better. You might suggest to MIL that it would be more special that way if you find that more acceptable than her current plan.

I like the birthday idea better, too. I don't think the Christmas idea is terrible, but it seems a little weird to me. Why not get the five-year-old the special doll, and the other kids something totally different but of roughly equal value? Does MIL especially like giving dolls and/or want to be known for it? Like, how do you assure one kid her present is extra-special, while assuring the other kids that they all got something just as good as the first kid?
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chappy

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2012, 12:11:48 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.

If I am going to have an uncomfortable conversation with my MIL, this isn't the one!  There are much greater inequities from my perspective, but this one was interesting enough for Ehell to me.

Quote
Posted by: CakeEater
on: December 04, 2012, 11:12:06 PM Insert Quote

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.

I like the idea of special things at birthdays - if nothing else it reduces the comparison.

Quote
Do the girls want dolls

My daughter is starting to play with her dolls.  She really won't notice the difference between brand and not.  For the other two that will get the faux dolls, my MIL said they would know the difference because one is sisters with the 5 yo and the other "just knows these things".  I honestly took more offense (although irrationally) that my daughter is the one "that doesn't know the difference" in a negative connotation.  One of the other two definitely likes dolls, I don't know about the 5yo's sister, but my MIL spends a fair amount of time with her so in theory she knows what she likes.

Quote
Not sure what the gifting of the dils have to do with it but I see nothing wrong with what mil is doing.  She specifically is telling you that your daughter will get the "real" doll at age 5 but instead for appearances she will gift her with a faux doll that is similar.  That tells me she is trying to make sure the kids won't notice and making an effort.  I also like how she told you ahead of time as well to ward off any ill feeling.  If she was truly not caring in gifting equally, she would have not said anything and simply gift the kids whatever.  Instead I see thoughtfulness and kindness.

Thank you.  this may have been her intent and I missed it.  Personally the "equal for appearances" feels off to me, but I can see the other side of it as trying to be equal too.   

To answer a couple of posters, I have no idea if MIL will remember to gift a "real" doll at age 5, this is the first "tradition" that I know of.  Honestly, her memory isn't great these days, but it also doesn't really matter to me/my daughter, it might to the other younger girls.  My mother is still with us and dotes on my kids - my kids are not going without -- if anything I wish the grandparents would do more "activity/event" gifts than toys, but I am not comfortable suggesting that to my MIL. 

One fun part of being married - you see how similar traditions can be so different from one family to the next.  To the poster that got $7.50 in an envelope, from my parents for the adults all but one person gets a check to even up to the highest amount, however, she rounds to the $5 level -- it is nice to here some people are even more precise!

SPuck

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2012, 12:47:35 PM »
To answer a couple of posters, I have no idea if MIL will remember to gift a "real" doll at age 5, this is the first "tradition" that I know of.

This right here. You might want to tell your MIL not to start this tradition unless she really intends to give all the granddaughters a gift because now that it is specified and out n the open, it is going to become a thing if it doesn't happen because it already has your husband miffed even though it hasn't happened yet.

I myself don't think extreme equal gifting is important, but if at communal get togethers one child gets a transformers while other children get socks something has to be said.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2012, 12:49:10 PM by SPuck »

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2012, 01:58:50 PM »
To answer a couple of posters, I have no idea if MIL will remember to gift a "real" doll at age 5, this is the first "tradition" that I know of.

This right here. You might want to tell your MIL not to start this tradition unless she really intends to give all the granddaughters a gift because now that it is specified and out n the open, it is going to become a thing if it doesn't happen because it already has your husband miffed even though it hasn't happened yet.

I myself don't think extreme equal gifting is important, but if at communal get togethers one child gets a transformers while other children get socks something has to be said.

POD

I could spend pages and pages writing about how unfair my mother was to my baby sister and her kids and then my brother could chime in also... mother has now been dead over 20 years and the hurt is still with us.  And she did no favors to my sister either - she has been given the cut direct by both my brother and myself over her SS behavior. 

So yes in my opinion "equal" gifting is very important!

KenveeB

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2012, 02:10:09 PM »
2. Do the girls want dolls. For years Sis and I would go home from family gift exchanges and a good 1/3 to 1/2 of my gifts would go into Sis's room (when mom wasn't looking) because I had no interest in them. The three of us are close in age (Cousin C, me, and Sis) because the other two were girlly girls who loved clothes and make up. We all got that stuff. We would get make up kits. Expensive kits that I wasn't allergic to - but I hate make up. I let my ears heal from the piercings as soon as my parents stopped checking them. I hid the clothes until they fitted Sis (I itch if I wear anything that isn't cotton) One year Sis and Cousin C asked the relatives why they didn't care about what I liked and it stopped. (It was kind of a weird blip. Because they were aware of my different interests at other times of the year, and would go out of their way to make sure I got to do what I thought was fun on family trips and such.)

Ohhh yes, I feel you. I have a cousin exactly the same age. She was the more typical girly girl, while I was a bookworm and didn't care about fashion or makeup or anything like that. But every year we'd both get the same thing, and it would be what she wanted. Sigh.

My mom is big on being equal between my brother and me, but it's in amount spent rather than number of gifts. I make sure to spend roughly the same amount on the same class of gifts -- like I'll spend, say, around $25 on all my nieces and nephews. But if one ends up being $20 or $30, I don't pay that much attention. But I won't get one that's $10 or $50. It has to be the same "category" of price range.

LazyDaisy

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2012, 02:17:08 PM »
A bit off topic question for the board -- what do you do when equal amounts doesn't really add up to an equally cool gift? I have nieces and nephews that range in age from 5 to 19. $20.00 buys a pretty good present for the 5-year-old but almost nothing that a 19-year-old would find really cool (unless it's another itunes GC). I end up feeling that it's not really equal in the "thought" department.
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Yvaine

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #28 on: December 07, 2012, 02:39:45 PM »
A bit off topic question for the board -- what do you do when equal amounts doesn't really add up to an equally cool gift? I have nieces and nephews that range in age from 5 to 19. $20.00 buys a pretty good present for the 5-year-old but almost nothing that a 19-year-old would find really cool (unless it's another itunes GC). I end up feeling that it's not really equal in the "thought" department.

I don't think the bolded is necessarily true, actually. I can think of several gifts I got when I was that age that were probably about $20 and that I really loved. One was a warm set of PJs (I'd asked for them specifically; I had a roommate who was hot-natured and liked to throw the window open in mid-December). I'm pretty sure they were from Walmart. I loved bath sets if the giver actually took note of the scent I liked, which I made terribly obvious. I liked makeup and perfume, books and CDs. And if iTunes had existed back then, when dinosaurs walked the earth, I probably would have been tickled by the gift card too. ;)

But that aside, I think you could either add something to the younger kid's gift or maybe just pick something that the younger kid wouldn't know the value of. For example, while a small child might be able to tell the difference between (for example) Barbie and Knock-off Barbie, the 19yo's not getting Barbies anyway so you could probably find something that the little kids wouldn't know was "better." Does that make any sense? I don't think a 5yo would know, for example, how nice a piece of jewelry was.

AngelBarchild

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2012, 06:12:25 PM »
I think it's way more important to take in to account how much the person will enjoy/wants the gift rather than how much it cost or how many gifts they get. My two nephews are each getting books they want ($10 per kid)  but my niece wanted a very specific Barbie, that I managed to score for $2 on black Friday. I'm not going to try to make up the difference, any they are all going to be very happy.

The year my brother got his hunting rifle I got a pair of roller skates, he was happy with his gift, and it cost a lot more than mine. I'm pretty sure I squeed for almost half an hour  ;D