Author Topic: Is "equal" gifting important?  (Read 8889 times)

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rm247

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #30 on: December 11, 2012, 04:17:03 PM »
I have a Grandma who is always very insistent on presents being equal between grandkids. I can see the logic of trying to keep all the peoplein the same "pool" as the OP put it at around the same figure, but many years we would have to help Grandma buy something extra for us that we want for 1-3  (we had to help choose it so it'd be something we want) because otherwise it'd be unfair.

God help if she bought something on sale, she'd then panic over whether she needs to buy more to make it even financially or buy the other grandkids more to make it even value-wise.

« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 05:03:05 PM by rm247 »

CakeEater

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2012, 05:01:18 PM »
I think the appearance of equality is more important than complete monetary equality. If you buy Johnny an awesome present on sale and Judy an awesome present not on sale, the value to them is the same. If you buy Johnny another present so you've spent the same amount, that becomes unfair. Sales are about saving you money - if you found something worth a lot on sale for a little, that's a bonus for you and Johnny and Judy don't need to know about it.

Dindrane

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2012, 12:14:47 AM »
I think that monetary equality can be one good way to gauge overall equality, but it's not the only measure. Neither is quantity of gifts, or really anything else. It's important to take into account other factors (like how much the person wants a particular gift, what their interests are, how much effort it takes to give the gift, etc.).

I personally very much appreciate that my parents have always been aware of how much they are spending on one child, and do consciously try to keep things even with the others. But I have no idea if that translates into actual monetary equality. As others have said, it was the appearance of fairness more than anything else. Fair isn't always equal, but it's nice when the starting assumption is that fairness demands equality until proven otherwise.

I also think that how a gift is presented matters a lot. These weren't Christmas gifts, but there was one year when my brother, sister, and I all wanted to do things that were pretty large in scope, and not cheap. My family was going on a super awesome vacation, and my now-SIL (she and my brother were not yet married) was invited if my parents paid her way. My sister wanted to attend a multi-week program in another country. I wanted to move to another state to be with my now-husband.

So they paid for my SIL to go on the trip, paid for my sister to attend the program, and gave me seed money to move to the new state. I know how much money they gave me, but I haven't the foggiest idea how much the other two things cost. The reason why I think of them as equivalent in scope now is because my parents presented them that way. They told each of us what the other siblings were getting, and specifically said they had decided to pay for these three things because it was a way of being fair to each of us. It meant that none of us took away the idea that one or both of our siblings got "more" than we did, because my parents explicitly told us that we all got a Super Expensive Thing We Wanted.

I also think that when it comes to people who are different ages (like nieces and nephews), consistency is as important as equality. To give another example -- one of my uncles was very good about remembering birthdays. He'd send each of us a card and a little bit of money. He gave us the same amount of money as our age (so when I was 11, I got $11), sometimes with a bonus dollar or two for a milestone birthday. It meant that my brother always got more money than me, and I always got more than my sister, but it never felt unfair.

So if and when I have nieces and nephews that are far apart in age (which I probably will someday, as my older brother already has kids, and my younger sister isn't even dating anyone seriously), I won't have any problem spending different amounts of money on children who are very different ages, as long as I follow the same general trend for each one. So if I gradually increase the amount of money I spend on gifts as they age, I'd just make sure to gradually increase the amount of money I spent on younger children at the same pace as I did the older ones.

I think part of that will be based on interest, because the interests of a toddler are much more variable than the interests of a teenage. I'm spending about $10 on my niece and nephew for Christmas this year, because my niece is not yet two, and my nephew is a newborn. My nephew won't care, and my niece will be totally happy with the $10 gift I picked out for her. When $10 no longer packs the same punch, or when their interests become more long-lived (such that I'm willing to spend more money on the things they are interested in), I'll probably spend more.


DavidH

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #33 on: December 13, 2012, 03:11:23 PM »
I think equal gifting is important, but it can be taken unnecessarily far.  The example of returning the difference in cash between presents seems unnecessary to me, not bad or wrong, but unnecessary.  You could, have a different level for different types of relatives, cousins get one level, grandchildren another, etc. 

I'm not sure how to handle age though.  I think as the recipient gets older, a more expensive give becomes an option and maybe even something they want.  For example, you might want to get an older child an IPad (like the other thread), but for a toddler think it over the top (again, like the other thread).  I don't necessarily think it would be wrong to get a teenager an IPad and their younger sibling who is a toddler, something much less expensive like a doll or toy car.   
 

Isisnin

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #34 on: December 14, 2012, 12:58:28 PM »
Since the young ones are so young now, it doesn't matter.  And it sounds like MIL knows she will have to "equalize" as the girls get older.  EG, when oldest granddaughter is 13 so she won't gets real, expensive jewelry for Xmas, while the 12 and 11 year olds get costume jewelry. Then, the girls would definitely know the difference and that'd be a problem. 

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #35 on: December 14, 2012, 01:07:20 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.

That's how we are in our house.  This year my oldest asked for a guitar and several other rather expensive gifts like hand held game systems and such.  I did get him a guitar though one that wasn't nearly as much as the one he had picked out for himself.  (He's 11 and only just learned in music class which lasted 6 weeks) I got him a 'First Act" guitar which was inexpensive and would teach him various chords. I also got him some books and pj's.

My middle child only asked for 2 things, an etch-a sketch and a Furby.  I spent a lot more on the Furby than I was expecting and only after I bought it did he say "I don't want you to spend too much on me."

And I know DH spent more on me than I was able to on him so he's getting 3 presents to my one and even still mine won't add up, but he'll like them.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

MommyPenguin

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #36 on: December 14, 2012, 07:56:17 PM »
Personally, I think that it's okay for the budget to be larger for an older child or teenager than a younger child.  An older child will be better able to take care of his/her belongings, to appreciate a more expensive present, and to reciprocate in turn.  So I'd have no objection to the teenager, who saves some of his own money to buy presents, if inexpensive ones, for his parents and grandparents, to receive an $80 iPod from the grandparents, while his 4-year-old sister gets a $20 Play-Doh ice cream factory.  She's thrilled, he's thrilled, they both got a "nice" present... so what if hers cost 1/4 of his?  Spending $80 on a 4-year-old would get you a nice dollhouse, or a basic dollhouse with an entire set of dolls and furniture.  Compared to the iPod, that seems excessive.  Stuff for older people just costs more.  So I have no problem with an age disparity... assuming that it really *is* an age disparity.  I would expect the 4-year-old to get her own iPod, or whatever, when she was 16.  If she's 16 and getting a nail polish kit valued at $10 while her brother is still being gifted at $80, then yes, there's a problem--unless she asked for just the polish and nothing else because she was trying to "keep it real" or something.

Roses

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #37 on: December 14, 2012, 08:55:59 PM »
I think it's fine to not be equal in all aspects.  We always are sure that each of our neices/nephews get the same number of boxes/gifts to open.  This year it's 3 each.  We also got the oldest a suitcase and sleeping bag for sleep-overs the Christmas he was 3.  His sister who is three now is getting that this year.  Not all toys are age appropriate so I don't see an issue getting different kids different toys.   

Sunbeem

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #38 on: December 21, 2012, 01:40:30 PM »
I think the most important aspect to keep in mind is to make sure the recipients don't know of a difference in value.  Doesn't have to be the same item, as long as it the gift selection shows some sort of care and attention in its selection (i.e. a monster truck for a boy, and a nice Barbie for a girl, rather than identical gifts for two different children). 

When I was little, I thought that my grandma didn't like me.  A major reason was because of the gifts she gave me and my siblings.  One year, she gave me and my brother each a coloring/activity book for Christmas.  The one my brother received looked brand new.  The one I received had been mostly filled in already.  My mom saw me crying about it later (after I opened it and realized it was already used up) was upset on my behalf and talked to her about it; turns out she had seen them at a garage sale and bought them for us, not thinking to check that both of them were worth buying. 

A few years later, she gave me and my sister identical (well, different colored outfits) fairy dolls.  She ALSO gave my sister a magnet of her name and a beautiful golden necklace with her name.  Now, I have an unusual name that is never found on those "personalized" doohickies, so of course Grandma wouldn't have been able to find matching ones for ME, but she didn't give me anything else as a substitute, and since the dolls were identical it was very obvious that my little sister was getting a better gift.  Now that I'm an adult, I of course realize that that is just how Grandma is (bought the extras on a whim and didn't occur that it would make the gifts unequal) and she just doesn't realize how children think.  All the same, from my perspective as a child, it seemed very obvious that Grandma liked all the other kids better.  It also served to rub in the fact that I have a "weird" name. :(  (Which I am quite proud of now, but those things weigh heavier on kids...)

Another note- kids are a lot more perceptive than adults usually give them credit for.  If the dolls in question are Barbies vs. the cheap generic ones with the hollow legs and made of lighter plastic, it is very obvious that they are different, and even a child of 4 or 5 might notice and feel hurt.

kherbert05

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #39 on: December 24, 2012, 02:45:22 PM »
Personally, I think that it's okay for the budget to be larger for an older child or teenager than a younger child.  An older child will be better able to take care of his/her belongings, to appreciate a more expensive present, and to reciprocate in turn.  So I'd have no objection to the teenager, who saves some of his own money to buy presents, if inexpensive ones, for his parents and grandparents, to receive an $80 iPod from the grandparents, while his 4-year-old sister gets a $20 Play-Doh ice cream factory.  She's thrilled, he's thrilled, they both got a "nice" present... so what if hers cost 1/4 of his?  Spending $80 on a 4-year-old would get you a nice dollhouse, or a basic dollhouse with an entire set of dolls and furniture.  Compared to the iPod, that seems excessive.  Stuff for older people just costs more.  So I have no problem with an age disparity... assuming that it really *is* an age disparity.  I would expect the 4-year-old to get her own iPod, or whatever, when she was 16.  If she's 16 and getting a nail polish kit valued at $10 while her brother is still being gifted at $80, then yes, there's a problem--unless she asked for just the polish and nothing else because she was trying to "keep it real" or something.
A friend confronted her MIL about unequal treatment of her daughters and the only grandson. The grandson was the one being slighted, but friend couldn't sit by and let her daughters be showered with gifts and the boy pushed to the side. The next Christmas the grandson and friend's youngest daughter received almost identical presents. Their rooms redone in pottery barn - the boy's stuff had cars on it. The girl's stuff had dolls. None of it fit with the decor in either house.

Since then friend had a son. This year the 4 younger grandkids all got the same ride on toy for their birthdays. (Friend's oldest is in her 20's the other kids are all in elementary school.)
Don't Teach Them For Your Past. Teach Them For Their Future

bopper

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #40 on: January 02, 2013, 01:29:39 PM »
I think you have to know your audience.  Last year my oldest got less presents than her sister and boy theerewas a little sad face there. This time I made sure it was more even in quantity even if prices were more or less.

Ambrosia Hino

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #41 on: January 07, 2013, 01:20:25 PM »
I think it really depends on the gift. If you were buying one child something expensive (video game system & one or two games for example), then obviously they wouldn't be expected to have the same number of gifts as another child who was getting dolls and doll clothes, or legos. But there should be an overall feel of fairness.

But getting a special gift for a particular year, and the other girls get the same when they reach that year, is still fair. Although I do agree that maybe they should get something other than cheap dolls when the expensive gift is a doll. That would feel more appropriate for a birthday to me anyway, because then there isn't a side-by-side comparison. But that could just be me.

JeseC

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Re: Is "equal" gifting important?
« Reply #42 on: January 11, 2013, 10:38:34 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 almost always get more than the other grandkids in the family for this reason - I'm out living on the own and supporting myself, while the next oldest is still in high school.  I haven't seen any problems from it so far, though I could be wrong...