Thoughts from a mom of four on controlling the chaos of gifts with four little ones.

Gifting Times Two

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Categories Parenting

Gift-giving is on everyone’s tongue right now. Instead of the weather, people are greeting me with, “have you finished your holiday shopping?” I strongly dislike shopping, malls, and buying stuff, but to answer your question: Yes, I have finished. I got it out of the way a while ago, mostly online, so I could enjoy the season and be present in all these chaotic holiday moments with twins and my singletons running amok in the house.

One consideration I have been careful to make is gift-giving and our twins. Ours are identical girls, soon to be four years old, who also have two other sisters. We have learned to strike a balance between repetition, individuality and superfluous giving. As the girls grow older (as they are wont to do, in spite of my wishes), this will evolve, of course, but here is what has worked for us:

  • We have made suggestions to family and friends, but never have we ever dictated what people should buy them. Above everything else, we would like to model grace, gratitude and humility for our girls. Those values come before presents.
  • When asked (usually by grandparents) if one should buy the twins similar, the same or different gifts, our answer has been: Similar gifts (please) when possible. A doll, for instance, with slight differences in colour or outfit means each twin opens a similar gift and can share in each other’s enthusiasm while still feeling ownership over the toy that is clearly chosen for her. Being made to feel special and chosen is important, no matter what age.
  • When possible, (and accommodating their young ages) we have tried to have them open gifts at the same time. Delayed gratification can be hard for two toddlers to understand. If I can find the two similar-sized gifts from the same giver, I’ll have them open them simultaneously. It just avoids the crying from one twin, with far-fetched assurances like “yours will come later/next.” Call me lazy, but Christmas morning is not the time for difficult lessons in patience and understanding.

Like every other stepping stone on this crazy journey parenting multiples, we learn as we go and sometimes have to do things differently from families with singletons. Holiday gifts (and birthday gifts) can bring out the best and worst in little-people behaviour. If patience, kindness and understanding are at the root of our intentions, then I’m sure we’re doing our best.

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SarahN

Sarah is the mother to four girls, two of whom are identical twins Hailey and Robin. They were born in the Yukon in a very small hospital at 35 weeks, and though they were small, they were mighty. She now lives in Ontario, where her high school sweetheart husband works very hard, and she stays home with the girls, freelance reporting on the side. In her past life, she was a journalist who covered everything from fast-paced federal politics to cats stuck in trees. Her writing has appeared in local newspapers and magazines, and in national publications like the Globe and Mail and ParentsCanada Magazine. She is a yogi, a mediocre cook, an awesome Beyonce dance move imitator, and an avid blogger at Cure for Boredom.

3 thoughts on “Gifting Times Two”

  1. It sounds like you and I have a very similar approach to gift giving and opening. I even had my daughters and their best friends open their coordinating gifts (as mentioned in my last post) together well before Christmas to make sure that everything was kept fair and simultaneous. That may have been overdoing things, of course, but I can’t help folding my girls’ best friend into our family as if she were a triplet.

  2. I was just thinking about it last night, Christmas Eve, that I very rarely have something that is specifically for one child. Our girls had a total of 6 gifts this morning. Four were labeled “To A&B”, and there was a set of books for each girl, although I’m sure those will be shared, too.

    We do have two dolls…the one in pink belongs to B, and the one in blue, to A. Other than that, outside of toothbrushes and backpacks, everything is communal property.

    At some point, I’m sure the girls will develop more specific interests, but for now, we just roll with sharing.
    MandyE recently posted The Ultimate in One-on-One Time!My Profile

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