Do I Have to Give My Kids Equal Presents for Christmas?

Family Matters on 12.11.12
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I hear parents say all the time that they need to pick up one more thing for one of their children to put under the tree because they have more items for another child. I understand the feeling of wanting to be fair to each child, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to spend the exact same dollar amount or have the exact same number of presents for each of them under the tree. However, from what I’ve seen it appears there are a lot of parents out there stressing themselves out over the equality of Christmas. But there are many ways you can make everyone happy without having to have everything even and can avoid one more trip to the mall.

My children are six and three-years-old. The oldest is a boy and the youngest a girl, and they, not surprisingly, have very different Christmas lists. The big thing that my son wants is a Nintendo Wii. My daughter asked for princess dress-up clothes, princess walkie-talkies, and a specific doll. I was able to find everything that she wanted for much less than what I paid for the Nintendo Wii. They are both getting exactly what they want without me having to buy my daughter a lot more stuff to make the dollar amount spent even, which would also make her pile of presents look much heftier than her brother’s. On the other hand, I want my son to have more than one item under the tree, and I have picked up a few other small things for him that I’ve come across. He will have a smaller more expensive pile of things when he comes downstairs on Christmas morning, but my guess is that because he is getting exactly what he wanted he won’t be upset about it.

Sure, we should give ourselves some guidelines for buying gifts and set limits on how much we’ll spend, but to me, Christmas is about getting the kids what they want (within reason). That’s part of what the magic of Christmas is all about. So if you’ve got one child who wants a new bike and another who wants board games, don’t worry about buying the second child lots of other stuff just to spend an equal amount. While Christmas is a magical time, it is also a time of excess. We buy things just for the sake of buying them when people don’t necessarily need or want them, and then we wonder why our homes are so cluttered. While it isn’t right to buy one child more than another just because you favor a child, it’s perfectly fine to spend different amounts of money or have a different number of items under the tree for each of them because they have different desires.

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Tags: Holidays