Surprise your friends and family with your gift giving prowess.
Siblings under a Christmas tree grinning at presents.

“It’s Not Fair!” How to Handle Sibling Rivalry and Gift Giving 

2 minute read
Share article

We all know that life rarely seems fair. But as parents, we try our hardest to do the best we can for each of our children, especially when it comes to gift giving. That’s why sibling rivalry over presents can feel especially frustrating on Christmas morning.

Here are some tips for navigating gifts for your children and ensuring a cozier, happier holiday season for everyone.

Start a gift giving tradition of shared presents

A shared gift eliminates some jealousy and rivalry, especially if siblings can use it simultaneously. This strategy also benefits your bank account if you can purchase fewer big gifts.

Items to consider for a shared sibling gift include arts and crafts supplies, a doll house, a train table, a collection of LEGO, a family gym membership, sports equipment for the yard, or a family vacation. 

Choose similar stocking stuffers from Santa 

If your kids believe in Santa (or still enjoy Christmas morning stockings), you can stuff their stockings with similar presents. 

Pick a few inexpensive gifts your kids have requested and buy one for each. After all, even if little Anna doesn’t think she wants a new headband now, you know she’ll want one as soon as her big sister Elsa gets one from Santa. 

If you need some stocking stuffer ideas, check out Christmas Gift Prep 101.

Buy younger kids the same number of gifts 

We all understand that one expensive gift can equal five cheaper ones. But sometimes little kids value quantity over quality. They also get excited about big gifts. So what is Christoff going to think when he just gets one, small gift for Christmas and Sven gets several big ones?

If your budget allows, try to keep the “appearance” of gifts balanced. Add a few inexpensive gifts to raise numbers or wrap a smaller present in a big box.

Help your older kids create budget-friendly wishlists

As children get older, they begin to understand money and the value of a gift. Suddenly, a handful of cheap gifts doesn’t seem quite as exciting as it used to.

Fortunately, older kids can also understand spending limits. Use a wishlist maker like Giftster and help them add items that stay within a Healthy Holiday Shopping Budget. When siblings open (and compare) their presents on Christmas, they’ll know that the quality is the same.

It’s also harder to complain that “it’s not fair” when they receive the items they requested on their wishlists.

Teach gratitude and thankfulness during the season of gift giving

Comparing gifts, sibling rivalry, complaining, and whining might all be signs that your kids are kids. But it doesn’t hurt to integrate the art of being thankful into your holiday traditions. Try to participate in a few acts of kindness for others and model gratitude.

You can also encourage your kids to slow down on Christmas morning. Set aside time for them to play with and experience their new gifts with no other expectations: no sharing, no video calls, no traveling. They are almost guaranteed to be more appreciative.

Happy gifting!

Share article

Want gift giving to be fun again?

Quit guessing and stressing over gifts. Share and shop wish lists with family and friends for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and more.