When Your Kids Don't Get As Many Presents As Their Cousins

5 years ago
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Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My family will be spending this Christmas Day with my sisters and their families. We all sit around the tree and take turns opening presents. It's a lot of fun, except for the fact that my husband and I stick to a budget with our two daughters and my sisters don't with their kids. Meaning, my kids usually get 1/2 of the presents that their cousins do. Last year this meant a lot of tears from my kids.

Should I tell my sisters to scale back? Or is this something my kids should learn to just deal with?

Not A Grinch, Just On A Budget


Just one Pile

Dear Not A Grinch,

Holidays with the family can be stressful enough without the added pressure of having to match your relatives gift for gift. I mean, who has the time for that? You're probably busy enough making fun of your weird brother-in-law behind his back and shoving your fingers in your ears when your Uncle Jim starts going off on why he hates the government this week, right?

But I definitely understand your dilemma as I also have two sisters and we all unwrap our presents at the same time. Once or twice my boys noticed that they "ran out" of presents before their cousins did, but they didn't seem to mind too much because their cousins are girls and they were unwrapping dolls. I actually think the boys were relieved they didn't have to unwrap a Barbie car.

I suppose you could ask your sisters exactly how many presents they're giving their kids, then make sure you have the same amount for yours. That might mean you wrap the real gifts and then have to resort to wrapping up a pair of socks or a tennis ball to even things out. Which, I have to say, seems completely ridiculous.

Or how about this: sit your kids down and tell them that it doesn't matter who gets the most presents. Life's not always fair or equal, despite your best intentions and hello, they're still getting presents. And then let them know that toys don't all cost the same amount, so they may get one $50 video game while their cousin gets five $10 books to open. It's a quality vs. quantity concept.

They may not like what you're saying to them, but I believe it's important wisdom to impart. Your kids will benefit from learning the life lesson that they should be grateful for whatever gifts come their way and to not worry about what others have. And better they learn it at a family gathering then someplace else.

Best of luck and happy holidays to you!

Wendi, TMH


Photo Credit: apes_abroad.

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