Should I Spend Equal Amounts on Each Child at Christmas?


I am a Mum to three children. Two girls aged 9 and 7 and a boy aged 3 years old. I love each of my children equally and despite their claims that the other is the favourite or that I love the other more than them, I can honestly say there is no favourite child. Christmas can be a tricky time when it comes to gifts and it is only natural that children compare themselves to others. Let’s face it as adults we compare ourselves to others.

I try my hardest wherever possible to be fair with Christmas presents. I do have a budget in mind per child and when they were younger it was very easy to stick to and make sure that I did spend the same amount on each. Now though as they have got older it has got increasingly harder.

child unwrapping christmas present

Let’s say for example we bought the girls a games console for Christmas. This in itself is a very high-value item. Even if the gift is shared between two children the cost of the gift is still high. As an example, an Xbox one s with two controllers currently retails at £250 on Amazon. This would then put the spend at £125 for each girl and that is without any games for it. How then would I justify that spend on my son at 3 years old? He certainly does not need £125 worth of toys.

What I have started doing for Christmas is buying one higher value item that the whole family can enjoy, such as a weekend break in London with theatre tickets. The theatre show is something that all the children want to see like Joseph or Matilda. It also means it is an experience we can all enjoy together and create memories.

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Other ways I try to make things fair is to buy similar items for each of the kids. They all will get a selection box or sweets of some description, but as their tastes are varied the content will be different. I do not, however, spend the same amount I just make sure it looks like I have. The children see it that they each have some sweets or some chocolate and don’t squabble that their sibling has got more than them.

That has happened in years gone by when my daughter counted how many presents she got and worked out her sister had one more than her. Instead, now I make sure they have the same amount and of similar perceived spend, rather than the exact or similar spending amount. I guess that is the whole point, the perceived amount. What a child perceives as the cost of the item or its value is far different from the actual amount it cost.

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I guess at the end of the day comparison can be the thief of joy, even at Christmas. It is inevitable though, that kids will compare themselves to each other. Whilst I try my hardest to ensure I spend equal amounts on each of my children, I instead focus on the perceived spend to ensure there are no squabbles that one sibling has got more than the other.

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