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to spend much less on one of my dcs than the others at Christmas?

(173 Posts)
handsandknees Thu 06-Dec-12 09:19:56

3 dcs - DD1(11), DS(almost 10) and DD2(7). I want to be fair. I try to be fair.

DD1 has asked for inline skates for Christmas. I've also bought her Trivial Pursuit which I know she wants but isn't expecting and few bits and pieces - books, backpack, t-shirt. DD2 has asked for a Design-a-Friend doll so she's getting that plus extra outfit for the doll and I've also bought her a doll's seat for her bike, and some bits and pieces. The extras are basically things they need which they would get anyway but I know they will like them. I've probably spent about £80-£100 each on them including stocking chocs etc.

DS has asked for a box of craft things, which will be only his and which he won't have to share with his sisters. He has specified paper, tape, string, stapler - that kind of stuff. I've bought a box and filled it up - I spent less than £15. I also bought him 3 books and some chocs but have only spent about £30 in total. He isnt that into books but I've tried to pick ones I think he will like. He loves chocolate/sweets so will be happy with those. He's never been interested in toys - he prefers to make things and I know if I buy more toys for him he will ignore them. He isn't interested in clothes either and doesn't need a new backpack.

The dcs have the same number of presents to open. Is this ok? Do dcs notice the value of gifts at this age or just the number?

fuzzpig Thu 06-Dec-12 17:31:01

I am very "in the box" and DS doesn't even know there is a box!

LOVE that description. He sounds absolutely brilliant.

I only just read this thread and I'm really glad you'll be topping up his present. By getting him lots more stuff to go in it - proper 'raw materials' like wire, string, washers, split pins, balsa wood etc, you will absolutely NOT just be 'spending money for the sake of it' - you can pretty much guarantee all that stuff will be used!

I do think a craft knife, guillotine or glue gun would be pretty good too.

Startail Thu 06-Dec-12 17:35:04

My older DD is a bit like this I end up just giving her some money and she generally spends it on something she really wants in the year.

DD2 always wants playmobil and clothes. But DD1 doesn't do fashion or toys and there is only so much paint and cartridge paper she can get through in a year.

Fairyegg Thu 06-Dec-12 17:54:30

I think what you have done is fine op. you have brought your kids things which they want and will enjoy, what's wrong with that? Mine are younger but I don't spend the same amount on them, although they both get things they like. I hate the thought that when they are older they might start adding up the price of things. If they did (and cared) I would think I had done something wrong in their upbringing to be honest.

Xales Thu 06-Dec-12 18:04:41

Not read the whole thread.

How about a swiss army knife, or craft knife and cutting mat?

Maybe something like the dangerous book for boys?

EverybodysSnowyEyed Thu 06-Dec-12 18:05:13

Does he have a toolbox? I remember getting one at that age with a big box of nails an access to wood! Hammer/saw/hacksaw/screwdrivers. That was great fun!

EverybodysSnowyEyed Thu 06-Dec-12 18:07:00

Mine was like the bigjigs junior tool box.

YouSeveredHead Thu 06-Dec-12 18:11:32

I can't remember the name of it (someone else will) its a chain of recycling place where you join and can then help yourself to paper, material etc. Might be useful throughout the year for him.

lljkk Thu 06-Dec-12 18:16:50

Another vote for what Flora & Pigletmania said. But all depends whether you think they'll notice (I know mine won't).

Doneinagain Thu 06-Dec-12 18:30:48

Op that sounds lovely and fine DO NOT get wrapped up (no pun intended) in the whole commercialisation of Christmas but instead count your lucky stars your DS has simpler tastes. You have put thought into your presents and wrapped them well please don't now down to pressure to spend more money it is soo easy to fall into that trap.
Would really love to hear back from you on the big he doesn't even notice. Will be too busy stuffing his face with chocsgrin

handsandknees Thu 06-Dec-12 23:58:01

Thank you once again for your comments - on both sides of the argument! I am going to visit a DIY shop and see what I find. I'm thinking hammer and nails (with head in sand about hammered fingers). Maybe even a glue gun. I am happy to spend a bit more knowing it's something he will like. These are things I had just never thought of getting so thank you all!

Blackcurrants I can only speak from my experience but life is many things but never boring with a boy in the house! Congrats on your boy number 2!

Curiousmama he has a go-kart - one of those you can do big skids on and give your mum a heart attack and uses DD's scooter sometimes. DD1 will probably notice if there's a difference in value of gifts but I know she wouldn't say anything. DD2 won't have a clue.

fuzzpig - raw materials is exactly what I'm thinking now.

Doneinagain I will come back and update and I promise there will be much face-stuffing.

ImperialBlether Fri 07-Dec-12 00:12:57

I think he sounds fantastic! I'm sure he'll be really employable in the future, too.

Could you give him some money and tell him it's to spend on things he wants for his inventions? I think he'd love that, particularly if you take him to the right kind of shops every now and again.

blackcurrants Fri 07-Dec-12 00:46:51

hands that sounds like a grand plan! DH was reading part of this over my shoulder and said "ooh, when I was his age I had a reasonably well stocked woodworking bench which I used without any real injuries." (his dad was a blacksmith) so yeah, we think he's old enough to probably do fine with a few tools. Lucky lad! smile

zipzap Fri 07-Dec-12 13:07:10

DS1 is 7 and also loves making things. For the past couple of years one of his best presents each year is a ream of white paper to use however he wants. (he loves making things out of paper - complete Deadly 60 animal watching set including video recorder, snake hook and polar bear rifle anyone?)

Last year I gave him a nice origami book as I used to love doing it when I was young. He's also got into doing it - however as origami paper can be expensive, especially when you are practising and and want to make 73 of the same thing, those little blocks of square memo paper you can get from stationers with hundreds of sheets for a pound or two are great, then they can use the nice stuff for a few special models.

He's also had a proper adult's camera since he was 4 (I got fed up of him borrowing mine!) and he loves to take pictures and videos of things on it. If he is using his ds to take pictures, why not get him a proper little camera which can also take videos so he can record his experiments properly? There are some good 'proper brand' (ie canon, nikon, samsung, panasonic) cameras around that are being sold at £50-ish which is half their normal price. Only thing I would do differently if I were to buy ds's camera again is to buy one that has a rechargeable battery in (and maybe get a cheap spare one from somewhere like and if you already have cameras, then think about getting one from the same big brand because they tend to do things in the same or a similar way so it is easy if you borrow the camera or get asked questions. ds's works in a very different way to mine to I have to think each time I use it!)

If you think he might like to add computer coding and experiments into the mix, think about a Raspberry Pi - it's a credit card sized computer that plugs into the tv. It's designed to be used by kids and to teach them about coding (think back to the days when I was young and if you wanted your computer - sinclair, BBC, Atari, etc - to do something - then you had to write little programs yourself or copy them from magazines. These days computers are so advanced that when schools say they are teaching computing they tend to mean word processing, spread sheets etc not 'computing' in the old fashioned sense of making your computer do something.

Anyhow, it comes as just the innards of the computer - you need to buy a case, power source, SD card to act as memory, think the whole lot usually comes to about £70-ish. Maplins will sell a kit of all you need. Loads of info online about putting it together and what you can do with it - but it's the sort of thing that people use to make amazing projects with rather than just do a bit of word processing (although it can do that too). It was originally designed by the Computer Science team at Cambridge Uni because they got fed up that there were fewer and fewer people applying to do CS and those that did apply didn't have the skills that they would have done 10-20 years ago, because kids these days don't ever need to code - and if they do anything they just do HTML or web based technologies rather than have the basics they previously expected them to have. However, they have since taken off in ways unimagined when they were first invented a couple of years ago and are becoming incredibly popular... (although maybe for this year they might blow your budget a bit!)

picketywick Fri 07-Dec-12 13:44:49

we dont spend a fortune,

redwellybluewelly Fri 07-Dec-12 13:54:49

OK. Have read majority of the thread and now going to chime in. You have to do more than a box of paper and some selotape - it sounds like is very spatially orientated and fascinated by how things work. Why don;t you spend some time 1-2-1 with him and go a model shop or a scrapyard, or even better a second hand junk shop type place and just observe what he is interested by. There is a scrapstore near us (Norfolk) and it is awesome!!

He sounds as if he has all the hallmarks of an engineer even if he hasn't quite decided what he wants to engineer, a trip to the natural history museum or books on how things work.

I think he sounds brilliant and interesting - good on him for using his brain not just glueing himself to electronic entertainment.

and FWIW my mum always di, does and will spend more on my sister than me at Christmas, pays for all her parties, buys her a car etc - it hurts.

CuriousMama Fri 07-Dec-12 14:15:10

Sorry to hear that redwellybluewelly sad You should never favour one over the other. I bet your a great parent though. We learn from our own parents mistakes don't we? I know I have.

OxfordBags Fri 07-Dec-12 14:21:06

Zipzap's idea of a Raspberry Pi is brilliant. My geeky Dh has one and our nephew is always round here wanting to have a go. I also think that some larger items that show that you take his creativity and free spiritedness seriously would be a good idea: you can get special rables for arts and crafts, special shelving for all sorts of oddments, tools, papers, etc., you could get him a special box or case full of compartments for storing everything (handy for you, too!), or you could even get him something to create a den in his room, which could be his 'brainwaves spot', where he thinks up amazing ideas. There's also all sorts of tools, instruments and materials you could get him beyond what you've already collected, as other posters have listed. A trip to a big arts and crafts store could really fire your imgination.

AlienRefucksLooksLikeSnow Fri 07-Dec-12 14:24:06

OOoo redwelly where is the scrap store in Norfolk? think my DS would love that smile

ICBINEG Fri 07-Dec-12 14:26:39

Just to highlight the ridiculousness of the suggestion that value = monetary cost....

My DM still worries that I have been hard done to because my education cost so much less than my siblings (they are younger and had to pay fees etc.)

She spent almost nothing on mine (oxbridge 4 year degree) and spent about 12,000 on each of my siblings (Rusell group 4 year degrees).

They are the ones that ended up with loans and yet it is me she feels has been treated unfairly...

We all got the education we wanted, that is what is fair. The cost to my parents has nothing whatsoever to do with it....

So just in case the analogy isn't blatantly obvious - if your DCs all get what they want then they all get the same "value". The monetary cost is irrelevant. It is only money after all - not happiness....

Peka Fri 07-Dec-12 14:38:44

Your son sounds AMAZING! Love that he doesn't lust after all the cheap tat that's in toyshop windows - hurrah for him! Just a thought, but perhaps a voucher offering to take him to the local tip, say 4 times in the next year to help him find things for his inventions - he might appreciate your time and involvement more than a 'thing'. Ah kids are amazing and endlessly surprising.

Kundry Fri 07-Dec-12 14:57:46

The Big Bang Fair sounds amazing - it sounds like he is really creative so doesn't want to follow instructions but if he met someone like him, it might inspire him that by following a few rules, his creations would really take off.

I don't think you need to spend the same on each child but I suspect that if you aren't crafty, and your son only knows what he knows, neither of you will come up with the super idea to take his creations to the next level. Eventually he will get frustrated and you will feel guilty - seeing some grown men who started out like him might be the inspiration he needs both at home and school.

He's actually reminding me a lot of my Dad who was v into science and engineering but he and his parents didn't know how to guide him. Our favourite story about my dad was him taking his dead goldfish across London to the Natural History Museum to find out how it died - apparently he was taken 'behind the scenes' to meet a scientist who explained it to him. My Dad was only 10 at the time and did this off his own bat! When he was 16 he joined the RAF as an apprentice and suddenly he was with like-minded people doing stuff he was interested in and he never looked back.

fuzzpig Fri 07-Dec-12 16:09:20

I think the difference between a basic paper-and-Sellotape present and a full kit of amazing materials is what really shows you know your son. And it's not about money, not at all - it's about the fact that you have taken the time - even if it is by asking a bunch of randoms on MN because you aren't sure yourself - to really properly think about who he is, and what he might like, beyond the obvious that he already knows about (ie what he asked for).

I am always very grateful when my mum tells me to choose something for my birthday/Xmas and she will pay. Of course I'm grateful - but I do really wish that just ONCE she would actually think about who I am and what I would like - even if it cost nothing. She is always amazed that DH manages to do this (he told her "oh you know, I listen hmm" grin).

fuzzpig Fri 07-Dec-12 16:14:18

Sorry for the waffle - needless to say it is a subject dear to my heart!

What I mean is, gifts really can show love, and it's not about the amount spent. I don't care if it's a cliche - it really is the thought that counts! smile

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