Combo Gifts

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Joined: 01/25/02
Posts: 2023
Combo Gifts

Last year we got the boys one combo gift for their birthday, it was a tent and tunnel set (2 tents 1 tunnel), and they were one. They got maybe one combo gift from family, and I was okay with it, because they were one. My step-mom even said, "I know this is the only year we can do a combo gift" and it was a bigger gift that two could easily play with. I know their birthday is super close to Christmas, and it is a lot of cost at the same time of year, but I am hoping that most family will NOT do combo gifts. My mom has twin boys (adopted from her current husband, she came in when they were 5, they are 21 now), so she knows better. My mother in law should know better, her mother was an identical twin who had identical twin girls also, my mil's younger sisters.

So obviously she bought them a combo gift. She was just here visiting from AZ, so they got to open their Christmas and Birthday early. They got separate Christmas presents, but for their birthday she got them the cookie monster keyboard to share. Its cute, but the thing is tiny! It fits on one baby's lap, so really not for two babies. Within the first five minutes they had abandoned the Xmas presents (shake and Go Cars) and were fighting, screaming, and biting (Abram) over the keyboard. I was so frustrated for them. Then MIL says, in a wise sort of tone, "I kind of thought this might happen." Seriously? You thought about them fighting over it and decided it was okay for them to share? Seriously?! They are two. Then she says, "Looks like you might have to get another one." Really? Because I already bought all their birthday and Christmas presents and because you decided to buy only one gift, I Have to buy them something else?

I feel they are already shortchanged having their birthday 3 days after Christmas, and then being twins on top of that. Of course I can say nothing, I don't know that dh even notices. And she didn't even buy them a birthday present last year, and this is the first year in at least 3 years that she got my almost 7yr old a birthday present (his bday is Jan 3, so also lost in the Christmas shuffle, I so did not plan the bdays this way, all three were due at the end of January lol).

Does anyone give your kids combo gifts, and are you okay with it?

I remember when I was about 7 my mom told me one of my birthday presents was something cool I could share with my younger sister, she was probably close to 2 at the time. I kept thinking of what toys we could play with together. Her birthday was in August. I opened it and it was a cute pair of flannel pajamas with a second pair in my sister's size. I felt seriously gypped. It was my birthday and she was getting presents. I'm sure my mom got a good deal, and maybe Shar needed pjs, but to make it seem a cool thing that she got presents on my birthday did not go over well in my 7yr old mind. There is a pic of me holding my sister in our matching pjs, and I smiled in the pic, and pjs for me I really would have been fine with as a gift, I liked anything as a kid, but every time I see that pic, it still kind of annoys me. So I think it helps me to not do the same with my kids. lol

Joined: 04/24/11
Posts: 1253

We haven't been through this yet as they are only 3 months, but my friend has 4 yr old twins and even @ their first b-day I still bought them separate gifts. Its enough that they have to share the same b-day, they shouldn't have to share gifts too. I would be PO'd too! I did buy them one combo gift for x-mas (its a piano that teaches shapes, colours, etc.) and I feel bad. We'll see with this x-mas how many combo gifts they get. Sorry that this happened, she, of all ppl, should know that 2 2yrs olds are not going to share one little toy. Happy B-day to the boys Smile And your Son on the 3rd Smile

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

**Lurker**
I totally get this! We have triplet nephews and my DH does not get the idea of a gift for each kid, one year we did buy a combo gift but it was 20 hot wheels and a car mat (that is easily shared). The boys are 13 now so not such a big deal but I remember having arguments over presents for the boys.

The only way I would do a combo gift for 2 year olds is if it was a play house/jungle gym/etc ie a BIG gift. Your MIL is nuts for getting only one toy.

jhj
Joined: 08/06/11
Posts: 360

Not sure if you mean combo gifts for birthday and Christmas or one gift for both twins... but... in my family (my brothers were twins), they would often get the same gift but just in different colours, so we would mark on the tag that it was a "twin gift" and then they would make sure they each had their gift, and would sit back to back and open them at the same time. That way neither would see the other's before they had a chance to open their own!!

Heather

Joined: 01/25/02
Posts: 2023

Margaret, glad you get it.. I wish others would, thankfully most do though. Smile

Heather, both actually, but in this case, the fact that they are given on birthday gift for two boys to share. She got them separate Christmas gifts, each got a shake and go car, but they are supposed to share their bday gift. We actually do very few of the exact same gift for the boys, sometimes something similar, sometimes not, just depends on their interest, and yes, sometimes a color variation, but it will be very rare occasions they are expected to share one gift btw the two of them. Smile

Joined: 06/04/09
Posts: 46

My boys are also two, and I actually requested that relatives only get one gift for the two of them. With each boy getting their own, and their birthday being in November, we get WAY too many toys close together. I feel like our house is over run, as it is.

While they are young and don't know the difference, I definitely want the combo gifts to continue. They get enough to unwrap that it doesn't matter. As they get older, I will make the decision to get them each a gift, but at this point I am not sure when that will be.

daniellec.parker's picture
Joined: 09/06/09
Posts: 895

I understand completely! This is something i have given a lot of thought to. While we don't have twins in our family, one of my brothers' has a bday Dec 20. I wanted to do whatever I could to make their birthday separate from Christmas. (I have to say that that 1 brother actually wrapped their bday gifts with Christmas paper though--- I was like, really?! You of all people...) What we did this year was pick out gifts that they both would play with--- like a sit to stand alphabet train and a learning baby laptop. They both had two presents to open on Christmas, and 2 on their birthday (Dec 29-- I didn't realize so close to your twinkies Lol At this age they don't really have a sense of yours and mine, so we wanted gifts they would both enjoy. I don't like the idea of duplicate gifts only because we don't have room for two of everything. But we tried to keep it as even as possible as far as the type of gift and the cost. As they get older it will be a little different for us since they are b/g-- not too many things to share. If it was something like a huge swing set, that would be different. I know I don't want their Christmas and birthday gifts to ever be combined. If someone can only get them each one gift, they can choose to give it to them on their birthday or Christmas. I have even thought about having them a party in like June or July for "birthday" gifts so that things can be spread out some. But I'm not sure about that either.

Joined: 01/25/02
Posts: 2023

Tania, I hear ya on the too many toys too close together. Smile Maybe your boys share better than mine. Smile That stinkin' piano was just constant fighting and "no mine" for at least a week. I finally hid it... got it back out today, and same thing.

Danielle, I don't think I realized your twinkies were so close to my boys birthday either. Smile Alaina, we have done the same thing, gifts that are different but something for each of them, but also something that both will enjoy. I don't like doing two of everything either, two of a few things are necessary, but not most, at least at our house. I too have thought about a birthday in July party at some point.. but for now, they have no idea that birthdays and Christmas are spread out for most. We make a big deal about birthdays at our house (probably because my mom did so little when we were growing up) and my almost 7yr old has never complained about his birthday being close to Christmas. (His bday is on Jan 3). My 9 yr old even said she wished her birthday was close to all the boys, so we could just have one huge family birthday party. lol. Smile (her's is in sep, we go from Feb-sep with no bdays).

Joined: 04/09/06
Posts: 1244

We did some combo gifts--not birthday/Christmas, but shared gifts-- this year. The girls got a kitchen from Santa. That was a combo gift because...well...you cannot really just give one kid a kitchen and not the other and we aren't buying two kitchens. They also got a picnic basket Leapfrog toy and something else that was shared. I did buy them both their own My First Disney Princess Doll and dress up set. K got Rapunzel and S got Belle. They also each got a book and a DVD or CD. They don't really know what is for them yet, so they were just happy to open presents. Next year will be different. However, I think shared gifts are a good thing. As twins, they need to learn to share and cooperate more than singletons IMO. So, I am not against having a bigger shared gift for now. When they are 8 or 12, it will be different. Obviously, they need things of their own as well.

I am against two of a specific toy. They only have one shopping cart and sometimes fight over it, but we don't have room for two. Plus, we have found that even if you have two of something, they still fight over it. The girls have two stroller walkers and two doodle pros. They forget that they have more than one and get mad if they see the other one playing with one. So, having duplicate toys does not cut down on the fighting in our house. Maybe when they are 3 or 5 it will work, but for now, it doesn't really matter.

Joined: 01/25/02
Posts: 2023

Mel, I am all for shared gifts, if they are shareable, like a kitchen, etc. The combo gift in this case was a toddler sized lap piano, and I don't think we need two of them, but giving one gift and seeing one play with a brand new toy while the other is just supposed to look on at 2 is just a tiny bit unreasonable. lol I just think were they not twins ppl would not expect them to share, and I think they already do so much more sharing than my singles did at this point, they are actually so much better at sharing than most other kids their age (at least ones I have seen). I'm sure it will be a frustration over the years, oh well. lol

Joined: 04/09/06
Posts: 1244

"rachelrazzle" wrote:

Mel, I am all for shared gifts, if they are shareable, like a kitchen, etc. The combo gift in this case was a toddler sized lap piano, and I don't think we need two of them, but giving one gift and seeing one play with a brand new toy while the other is just supposed to look on at 2 is just a tiny bit unreasonable. lol I just think were they not twins ppl would not expect them to share, and I think they already do so much more sharing than my singles did at this point, they are actually so much better at sharing than most other kids their age (at least ones I have seen). I'm sure it will be a frustration over the years, oh well. lol

I do agree that sharing a smaller gift is not really fair. Plus, my girls had other gifts to occupy them, so they had no clue what the other was opening. They were too busy opening their own gifts. I do think it is a challenge to remind people that the twins are not just "the twins." They are individuals and they need to be treated just like a singleton when it comes to birthdays and holidays. You would not make a singleton share a gift with their brother who is 3 years older, so why make them share something little with their twin? I get it. I just do feel that at a younger age, they can share some gifts. I am not looking forward to the older ages when we have to get them both electronics because you know there will be no sharing of that.

Joined: 11/02/09
Posts: 43

"Stompin" wrote:

My boys are also two, and I actually requested that relatives only get one gift for the two of them. With each boy getting their own, and their birthday being in November, we get WAY too many toys close together. I feel like our house is over run, as it is.

I never buy new toys but somehow our apartment is overrun with them, too. I'm for combo gifts, combing b-days and whatever other holiday, one gift total per kid per holiday, period... I've asked all our friends and relatives not to get them anything, or just books if they insist. My kids fight over things even when their grandmother gets them two identical toys, anyways. They want to collect both at once or they want the one their sibling is holding. One usually screams for a moment and then they settle it somehow. They still snatch from each other but nowadays they tend to give back the toy spontaneously if the other one cries for it. I hear them both saying "Please! Here you go please! Merci beaucoup!" and the screaming stops. I don't have to intervene much. If something is really causing trouble, like hitting, it goes to "sleep" in the closet for a few days or weeks.

It's not the same as having to share with a twin who is just as immature as yourself but I have a lot of siblings and most Xmas gifts were combos for at least a couple of us, and frequently hand-me-downs, too, and I feel like it taught us to share in the long run and not to expect a mountain of new things every holiday. There were some fights but even as toddlers we worked it out, and the focus was on other aspects of the day (not to get into one of my preachy anti-consumerist rants--I just mean I remember a lot of wonderful things about my birthdays and Christmases that have nothing to do with getting presents). My sibs and I, especially my sister with twins the same age as mine, agreed not to do holiday/b-day gifts at all for each other's kids and my parents mostly give them books or tiny gifts. They all end up with more than enough stuff to play with and for their parents to deal with.

Joined: 04/09/06
Posts: 1244

"Laetissima" wrote:

I never buy new toys but somehow our apartment is overrun with them, too. I'm for combo gifts, combing b-days and whatever other holiday, one gift total per kid per holiday, period...

Can you explain this concept to my mom? She overwhelmed the kids with gifts this year. They got more from my parents than they got from us. I had to tell her to stop when she called me in early December with even more things she had bought. We gave the kids about 4 gifts each and little stocking stuffers. We cut back this year because we are overrun with toys. My DS never wants to get rid of toys, but we made him give away a ton right before Christmas. I told him he didn't have any more room for any new toys. That got him to pick some stuff to give away. HA!

Joined: 01/25/02
Posts: 2023

I'm all for some simplicity too. We do three gifts only, the Savior got three gifts at his birth, and since we are celebrating his birth (at our house), three gifts is enough. I think it drives my mom nuts. lol. She buys them more than we do, but lots of little stuff, because she wants them to have tons to open. My kids have 4 sets of grandparents and one more single grandparent (she was my stepmom for 15yrs, so we are still close, she's close with my dad and his new wife as well), so the other grandparents get them one gift each, usually something smaller. We have way too many toys, but it is often as hard for me to get rid of toys as it is for them. lol. They also get three gifts for their bday, and thats it. And often its maybe one larger/more expensive things and two much smaller things.

And Sarah, so true about memories of bday and Christmas not always about the presents. My kids often forget what they got for their birthday not long after, but they remember the birthday prep and games played and what not. Smile

brady77's picture
Joined: 07/29/04
Posts: 62

I hate combo gifts. People only do it because they are twins and its annoying. If you are going to buy everyone gifts, they they should each get their own so they have something to open and enjoy. I have done big combo gifts in the past (i.e. a kitchen or something that is meant to be shared by many kids) but they always each get their own things to open, even if it is two of the same thing. Its not fair to expect them to share everything in life just because they are a twin. I've flat out told my MIL in the past if she doesn't want to buy two of something they really want, then please don't buy it at all. She would never buy one gift for the grandchildren that are just siblings, just "the twins!" Grrrrr!

Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

"melnzai" wrote:

I do agree that sharing a smaller gift is not really fair. Plus, my girls had other gifts to occupy them, so they had no clue what the other was opening. They were too busy opening their own gifts. I do think it is a challenge to remind people that the twins are not just "the twins." They are individuals and they need to be treated just like a singleton when it comes to birthdays and holidays. You would not make a singleton share a gift with their brother who is 3 years older, so why make them share something little with their twin? I get it. I just do feel that at a younger age, they can share some gifts. I am not looking forward to the older ages when we have to get them both electronics because you know there will be no sharing of that.

I was totally in agreement with you until I read this, haha! Even electronics can be shared. Smile In our household, we have personal gifts and family gifts. Electronics, games, and movies fall within the family gifts and must be shared. We had only one gameboy or DS in the house while my older kids were growing up. I know there would've been bigger issues if one kid got a game that the other wanted to play but the owner refused to share. Didn't want that headache or expense of running out to get another one. They had to take turns and while they didn't like it sometimes, they did not argue because they would've done without then. There's plenty of other things they can do while waiting their turn. It should be no different just because they're multiples.

As for the sharing of gifts, we've had an assortment of what people have done and so far, we've had no issues with the kids. We're big on sharing and rarely get two of the same thing. The combo gifts are usually bigger items and include all three kids since they'd all use it. Otherwise, some have given one package with items within that could easily be split. They're really big on giving dolls that look like them, so we have a ton of twin dolls at our house.

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