As the holidays approach, many people find themselves in the position of buying toys for several children. The one factor that many people find themselves facing is having a strengthened relationship with one child in particular makes it very easy to buy for that child while the other child may not share the same degree of closeness which makes it ever more difficult to buy an appropriate gift. In many cases, this issue really comes down to gender. Gender based relationships can seem to have a certain ease. Many people simply feel more comfortable with a child of one gender versus another. This is much more common than people realize, but in an attempt not to look like they are showing a favorable side to one and ignoring the other, these issues are often left un-discussed.
If you are concerned that you are attempting to thwart discomfort around such a difficult issue, its perfectly natural to want to draw away, to get the kids something routine or mundane to avoid the perception of favoritism. The truth is, whether you ever admit or not, you do have a favorite. Use this as a positive instead of a negative. There are many ways to go about this. For the purposes of explaining we will use one boy and one girl, brother and sister, although with family dynamics as they are, you may find yourself struggling with greater numbers and greater influences than just two children.
If you already know what you want to get for the child you are more at ease with, then by all means, go ahead. This is now your margin. Gifts dont have to cost the same to be valued the same way. If you spent fifty dollars on one you can still spend thirty dollars on the other without appearing to be playing favorites. The truth is in the value the child places on the gift will determine its worth. However, buying one child a bike and one child a package of underwear makes things a little obvious and cruel.
Youre ultimately trying to develop a higher comfort level with the child you are having a difficult time purchasing for. Start, if you can, by spending a little extra time with that child. Notice things about them, even if you dont understand them. Maybe she likes to play dress up and tea parties and house and you are just at a complete loss because you never played like that when you were little. Thats okay. Youre just paying attention to the way she operates. Maybe you notice that she needs new art supplies or her bedroom is in the middle of being redone and she loves the color pink. These simple things can guide you along the way. Youre not necessarily trying to purchase a gift that you think is so cool, but one that she will think is so cool.
If you are unable to spend extra time with her, alone, then try talking to the child you have a tighter bond with. If you tell him you dont know what to get his sister for Christmas, he may very well be able to rattle off all kinds of things that youll be able to get for her. Often, brothers are well apprised as to what their parents got his sister for Christmas. Siblings often have a unique insight into each other. They may not always like each other much, but they usually do understand a lot about each other.
Parents of the child, assuming that it is not your child, are one of the best resources available to you. Just ask. If they can, they will help you out. Of course, parents also tend to reply with cost effective answers, as parents of children are not usually willing to spend other peoples money on their child. If you have already purchased a gift for one child, tell them this and tell them what it is so that they have an understanding of what youre spending on the kids. This only clarifies communication, it isnt a chance for you to toot your own horn. Often parents will respond directly in correlation to the gift you already purchased for the other child.
If youre really at a loss and you cant find a good, healthy way to determine what it is that you are planning on purchasing, try buying numerous smaller gifts. Chances are, by spreading it out a little bit, youre going to nail the horse on the head with something as little and reasonable as finger nail polish, a new dress up set, or anything else that you can think of that would work well in a set. It may initially appear that you are giving “more” to that child, but chances are the kids arent really counting when theyre both happy.