READER QUESTION: Siblings and Holiday Gifts

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Hip2Save READER QUESTION: Siblings and Holiday Gifts

I received this email from Hip2Save reader, Jill, and thought that it would make for a good discussion…

I have 2 daughters – my oldest is 12 and my youngest is 4. The age difference in my daughters is never tough, they just love each other to pieces—but at Christmas time, it causes me a ton of stress.

My eldest gifts are 3 times the cost of the youngest—I try to spend the same on each girl, but if I do that…the youngest one will have 3 times the number of presents to open compared to my 12 year old. I know my oldest daughter understands, but it still hurts me to think that she has fewer presents under the tree. In the past, I have gone over budget on the oldest daughter to get the number of presents close to equal. Or I buy “filler” gifts to close the gap.

Here’s what I have so far this year – I have bought the oldest 7 items this year and the youngest 9 items. But I have spent $120 on the 7 items for the oldest, while only spending $51 on the items for the youngest (all great deals from Hip2Save, of course).

Any advice on how to keep Christmas meaningful with presents that are important to my girls but also keeping it fair?

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Comments 268

  1. Stacey

    My grandma was always a stickler for being fair with gifts. One Christmas, my gift must have fallen short of the mark a bit, so there was $3 tucked in with the lotions and potions I received. My cousins and I got a chuckle out of it. We would never have known!

  2. F

    When the oldest was younger, did you spend about the same amount you spent on the youngest now? If you did, to me it’ll all even out if you’re set on spending an equal amount between them. As your youngest gets older, she’ll want different things and the price of her gifts will go up just as they have for your oldest right now.

  3. kw

    There’s NO WAY a 4yo is going to know if the cost was balanced out. At that age they are just worried about the number of things to unwrap.

    Those ages of 4 & 12 are completely different and not comparable, so I would get them the gifts you feel necessary and not even entertain keep it dollar for dollar even.

  4. Sue H

    I think it’s more about what makes them happy -if your younger daughter will be happy with those 9 gifts, then why look for more, just based on cost. And to be honest, kids need to understand that if they ask for expensive things, there will be less for them -its an important lesson, I think. Instead of worrying about the cost or amount of gifts why not plan an outing with the girls -see a special show, take an overnight trip. I am lucky to live near NYC so I can buy tickets to a show, or even to our local theaters or ballet companies to see The Nutcracker

  5. Kelly

    “Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.” That’s what my kids each receive from us, in addition to a stocking with small gifts and candy and the presents they receive from grandparents. I think it’s more than enough.

  6. Leigh Ann

    If your kids really enjoy their gifts they won’t care if you spent $500.00 or 50 cents. Don’t add stress to your holiday worrying about this. They won’t make it an issue if you don’t.

  7. Bob Markey

    I grew up in a small farm in southern Kentucky, my mom had 12 kids… We got a bag is fruit! We were scolded if we complained. I have 3 daughters now and I give them an equal amount of presents. They are generally edibles like potatoes, and soups. They are fortunate to get that. If they decide not to eat them I ask them to please give or to someone in need! Appreciation!

  8. Tori

    My parents always gave us a choice when we got older – 1 expensive gift or a bunch of cheaper gifts. My brothers would pick quantity & I would pick quality. None of us ever complained because it was our choice. To this day I still do the same with my daughter (19 & in college) by giving her the choice and she completely understands. Sacrifice/choice & quality are things kids need to learn and your daughter is at a good age for it. Cheaper for quantity doesn’t always pay off if the lack of quality costs you more in the end.

  9. Anonymous

    We give each of our children one special gift and a stocking with their favorite treats and a special small gift. If one child’s gift consists of several smaller things, everything goes in the one box and they still have their 1 special thing to open. I love doing it this way! No stress about equality and I get to put extra thought/care into a meaningful gift for each one.

  10. Colleen

    Have each child make a wish list. Let them know you have budget x amount for their gifts. Half of the amount will go to things on their wish list the other half will go to a group that helps families who have very little, then let me add to their wish list which group they want to help out. They could also help shop for that group, teaching them caring, sharing, and the cost of things & budgeting.

    • Colleen

      Sorry should say let them add to their

  11. Shari

    I have always spent the same amount on all 3 of my kids. If one wanted something more expensive, I would wrap up some small items so that child would have about the same number of gifts. That includes a box of their favorite cereal, candy, a notepad, etc. Think of small things that your child might need, and stick to your $ limit. My kids are now grown and there have never been any hard feelings.

  12. Lauren

    Chances are your youngest won’t even notice that you spent less money. We give our kids the same number of gifts. However if we spend less on one child we take the difference and deposit it into their college fund. We are spending the same amount of money but the other child doesn’t lose out because they wanted less expensive gifts. In fact, I think they are the winner in the long run! The grandparents also do this and it has really helped to curb their over-gifting in the name of equality.

  13. Heather

    My husband and I have a blended family, 3 children each. Ages are (his)19,13,9 and (mine) 12,10,7. We have a strict budget of $150-$175 each for Christmas. I shop clearance, coupon and use this site to score the best deals possible. The older they get the more we explain to them that if the gift they want is expensive they might not have that many gifts to open. They all understand and are fine with it. None of them care about the number of gifts.

  14. Virginia

    My kids and niw grandkids take turns opening gifts so for us the same count of gifts more important than cost. The older your 4 year old gets the cost will balance out

  15. katie

    AGREED!!! I have an 11 year old and five year old. both boys, but my older one no longer plays with toys, etc. The last two years he got one item he asked for plus a few filler things.

  16. Rhonda

    I don’t worry about cost as long as it looks close.

  17. Crystal

    I think it only matters if they are close in age.
    Little ones don’t understand $$ amounts.
    But if the cost difference bothers you, think put the difference in the younger kids college fund.

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