shutterstock_121336075I hate the Christmas counting games. If you have more than one child, you know exactly what I am talking about, unless you are one of those parents who makes sure each and every kid has the exact same number of gifts. My middle son wanted a very expensive gift, so he has a lot less gifts than his little sister, because crayons, coloring books, sparkle socks and fashion dolls are cheap.

Older kids are no fun. They always want video game systems, or new cell phones, or laptops, or other boring things that are expensive and pretty much wipe your Christmas present budget out except for the big-ticket item and a pair of boxer shorts. On one hand, it’s better because you know the item will get a lot of use and it’s something they really want, plus, there is a lot less to wrap. But on the other hand, it takes away the fun of finding the perfect little items that your kid wasn’t expecting, the fun little toys that make watching them unwrap presents exciting.

And then we have the math-y kids, the ones who count the number of presents they receive and compare it to their siblings. I know my son will do this, and I know when I say “Well, Santa got you _____, which is a lot more expensive than your sister and her _____ and ______ and ______.” He will apologize and say “No, mom, I know, I’m not being ungrateful..” But I can’t help but feel a bit bad that a part of him may feel slighted. I did buy him a few pairs of cute, colorful socks and I actually did wrap the pairs separately to make up the slack.

I suppose I could do what a mom friend of mine suggested that her own mother did to stop the present counting and comparing, and wrap up boxes of cereal to give my son to make up for his measly pile of Christmas swag. Plus, I know he would end up eating the cereal. But that seems like a lot of work and he is old enough to understand that his big gift would be about all Santa would be bringing him.

I don’t have spoiled kids. They are always thankful for what they have and are eager to donate gifts to those less fortunate. They are empathetic, and compassionate, and they know how incredibly lucky the are. One of them just really likes counting. Ugh.

(photo: MaleWitch /shutterstock)