Sibling Gifts

I Missed the Memo–Are Sibling Gifts the New Standard?

Mom Jeanine
July 26, 2011


Birthdays, Gifts, Good Question, hot topic, Jeanine Edwards

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I recently learned that over the course of the year, the most babies are born during the summer months. And you know what that means? Tons of summer birthday parties. I’m actually headed to one this weekend, which means I have to buckle down and decide on a gift for the little girl.

But here’s something I never considered. Should I bring a gift for the birthday girl’s brother, too?

If that questions sounds absurd to you, you’re not alone. When a few of my coworkers first suggested the idea of a sibling gift, I was like WTF? I’m already driving all the way up north to the party with a present for the child we’re celebrating. Isn’t that enough?

Apparently not. Sibling gifts, which are typically smaller, less flashy presents, are intended to help quell the jealousy factor. If you have a sibling, you know what I’m talking about. Nothing sucks more than seeing your brother or sister buried in awesome new toys and clothes while you’ve got the same old stuff you had the day before.

I totally get the point of a sibling gift, but I still think they’re absolutely ridiculous. I’m sorry, but I’m just not getting your other kid (or kids!) a gift so they don’t throw a hissy fit at your child’s birthday.

What about you? Do you bring sibling gifts to the birthday parties you attend or do you think they’re kind of ridiculous, too? Share your opinion in the comments.

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  • Qtpies7
    July 26, 2011

  • Never. Going. To. Happen. I have 7 kids and I can tell you that we’ve never gotten them gifts to quell jealousy! If they are THAT jealous, then they are going to lose what they DO have, rather than get MORE things. Sibling gifts when there is a new baby is one thing, and I rarely even think that should be done.

  • NJ
    July 26, 2011

  • No I don’t and won’t do sibling gifts at all. In my opinion its the parents responsibility to quell the sibling’s potential jealousy during the birthday boy or girl’s birthday. Not the responsibility of the guests. To me being hurt or jealous is apart of life and its the parents responsibility to tackle those issues early on, not try to sell their kids as a unit set. Besides the birthday child has the right to have a day that’s celebrated specifically for them.

    Its the same w/ sleepovers and ticket specific birthday parties (like going to the movies or baseball game etc) If one child is invited and the sibling isn’t the parent needs to deal w/ that not try to push the sibling on the birthday host Sometimes extra tickets aren’t always easy to get and the extra money for an extra ticket may not always be in the birthday host’s budget.. Not to mention fire codes at some venues can prevent extra people from attending

  • Ash
    July 26, 2011

  • I’ve done it a few times for the children of close friends especially when the sibling is young (under 5) and doesn’t quite understand. It is usually just a small gift. Between Target’s dollar spot or sale items – I don’t spend a lot and it seems very appreciated.

  • Janice
    July 26, 2011

  • This is nothing new to me.I have been doing this for the past 40 year’s.I find the perfect gift for the sibling some thing they like.To me its saying to them when your little brother or sister comes you will be mommies big helper.
    In my opinion it’s like seeing one kid with a ice cream cone and the other not.
    Maybe this is why I get so many call’s on holiday’s from all over the world.

  • DS
    July 26, 2011

  • I agree with the other comments…siblings birthday gifts are unnecessary and it’s the parents responsibility to help their children understand birthdays and other special events when there might be more attention on a sibling. The only time I have ever purchased a sibling gift was when there was a new baby. I bring a nice gift for the baby/parents and a small little something (usually an activity-related gift to keep them busy) for the older sibling. BUT, only in cases where there was only one older sibling to consider…if there are more siblings, then I think it gets out of hand.

  • lisa
    July 26, 2011

  • I just can’t believe it. Let the parents take care of it. These kids are getting coddled.

  • K
    July 26, 2011

  • I had an aunt that use to give me a small gift at my sisters’ birthday party. My siblings had close birthdays and always had a joint party, so I was the one left out. It was nothing that I expected. I would consider buying a gift for the sibling if it was a niece or nephew, but not my kid’s friend’s brother. If the kid is feeling left out, it’s up the the parents to get a small gift for their child that isn’t having the party.

  • Shari
    July 26, 2011

  • It never crossed my mind, and I do not intend on starting that trend with my friends! However, when I invite children to my sons party, I give them all a NICE gift ($5 – $10 range each) AND I also include their siblings if they come to the party (choosing and age appropriate gift for them). But when it’s a birthday party for a specific child…NO……I do not buy their siblings gifts. Ridiculous.

  • Grammarian
    July 26, 2011

  • I don’t mean to be ugly, but Janice — PLEASE learn the proper use of the apostrophe. Plural words and words that just end in “s” do not need an apostrophe. Aphostrophes signify a contraction or a possessive.

    To answer the original question, sibling gifts are ridiculous. They rank right up there with the new trend of the birthday kid not opening his/her presents at the party because it “makes the other kids jealous” and they don’t understand why they’re not getting a gift.

    SERIOUSLY, people. It has to stop. You get presents on YOUR birthday, period.

  • Helen Williams Chaffins
    July 26, 2011

  • First of all isn’t it an important lesson for a child to learn that they are not the center of the world and just because someone else is getting a present doesn’t me you’re getting one as well. Next if you want to get your child a small gift because they are very young and won’t understand why their sibling is getting all the attention then do there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s just rude to expect anyone else to be hauling gifts over for your other children.

  • davismama2003
    July 26, 2011

  • NO NO and NO. It’s a terrible idea. Teaching kids that they should be able to expect something every time someone else gets a gift is awful. It’s good for kids to know that there are times when they get the special attention and times when their sibling or friend does, because everyone has their own special day. Ugh. Talk about raising a world of self absorbed selfish people. ick.

  • Amber
    July 26, 2011

  • Sibling gifts seem totally unnecessary to me. Children need to learn how to cope with the emotions different situations can create. It reminds me of the ‘giving everyone a trophy because they played the game’ kind of situation. Just because some children may not understand the concept, doesn’t mean they should get a gift.

    @Grammarian—actually, it seems to that you do mean to be ugly. Maybe pointing out improper punctuation helps you feel better about yourself? I didn’t see Janice asking for unsolicited grammar lessons. Why should an apostrophe, the proper use of it, or anything else keep someone from posting a comment on a blog? If you don’t like seeing improper grammar, stick to you reading your own writings. Let’s give people the benefit of the doubt. There is a possibility that Janice might be using her phone for posting and the predictive text could have put an unintended apostrophe in the sentence. What difference does it make anyway? I can still understand what she was saying, even with the ‘improper’ punctuation. There’s no need to be rude about an apostrophe.

  • Julia
    July 26, 2011

  • Totally ridiculous. I also get the point, but really! Many of us can’t afford to get extra presents for siblings when it isn’t their birthday. Never mind, I didn’t get gifts at my brother’s birthday party, and he didn’t get them at mine. There probably was jealousy on some level when we were little, but it helped us to learn that not every special event is to celebrate me! There are other important people in this world, siblings first and foremost. Let each kid have their special day.

  • TreZ Unique
    July 26, 2011

  • Absolutely not necessary but definitely a nice gesture especially for close friends and younger siblings.

  • Luna
    July 27, 2011

  • Sibling gifts should only not be expected. If they are given, it should be from a close friend/family member and only to small children (under 6) who do not understand the concept of it not being their party too.

  • Josy
    July 28, 2011

  • WHAT?! How about the parents teaching their other children that the world doesn’t revolve around them and that there will be times in life when someone else gets the spotlight??? Parents these days are so afraid of their children, its insane.

  • Stephanie
    July 28, 2011

  • I would not give a sibling gift. My mom never did this with me growing up with my siblings but yet she started doing the trend when my nephew and nieces was born. I refuse to take part in it. When it is each birthday, they have had in the past been expecting a gift and verbally stated so “where is my gift?”.

    To me, when it is your turn, you get one. Expecting to gain off of another one’s special day is wrong.

    A child can not deal with their emotions of jealousy if a parent or other parents enable it with gifts. The child’s bday is just that. When the other child has a Bday, it will be celebrated. Too many children do not know how to handle their own emotions because parents (mainly mommy’s) want to protect. I am a mommy, but i sure want my daughter to learn, know and understand that she will not always be at center of attention, she will not always leave a store with a toy, she will not always get to do what she wants or go where she wants.

    I will not allow gifts like that to my children; however, I can put them up for a future holiday or birthday if needed.

  • ~*Aria*~
    July 31, 2011

  • Absolutely not! Part of being a parent if preparing our children for the adult world, and the adult world isn’t going to coddle them and give them presents because someone else got one. The real world isn’t going to care that they’re tired and that’s why they went to work late. The real world isn’t gong to care that someone else had an advantage. The real world isn’t going to give trophies just for making a little bit of an attempt at something. Kids need to stop being taught that this is how things work and need to learn how it is. Yes, we need to protect our children from bullying, something we as adults are not expected to put up with, but we shouldn’t be protecting them from how life in the adult world will be. There will be jealousy in the adult world. Kids are perfectly capable of learning to cope.