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Just before Judah’s fifth birthday, Chuck told me he wanted to buy him this Kettler Pedal Car. The price tag was right about a hundred bucks. We lived on a piece of property with five acres. The kids spent countless hours outside during nice weather. We both knew that this toy would get plenty of use. I was all on board and told Chuck, “Sure, go ahead and buy it for Judah.”
Tilly and Judah have birthdays just three weeks apart (Judah is 12 months and 3 weeks older). When they were small, we always did one big birthday party for them both. With Judah’s gift selected by Chuck, that left me with Tilly’s gift to pick out. Like many parents, I love buying my kids gifts. I like to see them happy, I love to see their faces light up with joy. After some thought, I decided to buy Tilly two sets of dollhouse furniture.
We had a Fisher Price dollhouse family that she enjoyed playing with. I went to Toys R Us and bought her two sets of dollhouse furniture that cost $4.99 a piece.
Yes, we spend $100 on our son for his birthday that year and at the same party gave our daughter $10 worth of toys.
Can you guess what happened at their birthday party?
The kids opened their gifts.
Judah squealed with joy when he saw his Kettler Car.
Tilly opened her gifts and squealed with joy when she saw her dollhouse furniture.
Both kids were equally happy.
Sure, I could have bought Tilly $100 worth of gifts.
I could have bought her more that two sets of dollhouse furniture.
I could have bought her a darn dollhouse…but you know what?
More gifts would not have made Tilly any happier.
It’s not secret that I don’t believe in participation awards. I believe in hard work and actual accomplishment. I believe in teaching our kids to take responsibility for their actions, letting them fail, and not shielding them from disappointments in life.
So when you’re out doing your Christmas shopping this year, remember, your gifts don’t have to be equal.
They don’t have to be equal in size, quantity or value.
They just need to be given with equal amounts of thought and love.