I suspect every mom has done this at least once: you get the presents out of wherever you have stashed them, and make a pile for each kid so you can wrap them...and then realize oops, one kid has a lot more than the others.
I think this especially becomes a problem when your kids' interests start to diverge, with one leaning more toward "big-kid" wants and the other still into toys. For example, my daughter wants an iPod or Nintendo DS this year, while my son wants a remote control monster truck, some Legos, a toy garbage truck (I don't even know where to begin, there) and some race cars. His pile would be a lot bigger than hers unless I totally blow my budget to even up the present count.She's kind of at the tail end of the Santa years, too, so I can't explain it from a budgetary standpoint.
I'm getting around this by giving her my old iPod Touch and buying her fancy earphones and a gift card for apps, thus making the unwrapping equal and my budget unblown. But this might be the last year I can get away with that. I know some families do the "Victorian four": something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read, while others do three gifts, for the Three Kings, which are good ideas too.
Don't really count the number of gifts. I spend the same amount on both, so if I chooses to want something more expensive they will get fewer gifts. Never had a problem and kids are adults now and I still follow the same routine.
Lol, yes I do and right now I'm having trouble with finding gifts for my youngest! I actually had a cute overnight bag I was going to give my oldest on Christmas, but because she has more gifts I gave it to "them" the other night when they slept at my mom's. My MIL is going to get my youngest the same bag, but in a different pattern, so once that happens I will let my oldest know the peace sign bag is all hers ;)
my kids don't care that he/she got a few more gifts. my daugther is 9, my son 5. she's getting to the point where she really doesn't want many toys anymore, but is interested in pricier items. like this year all she wants is a guitar, mustache bacon socks (she's so unusual ;o) & some moshlings. at 5 my son has a much bigger list but all the items are allot cheaper than even a used guitar.
each year we set a price limit for the kids & sometimes it ends up with one getting a few more gifts to unwrap & sometimes it works out equal. we never fret over the number of gifts, just sticking to the budget.
my mom on the otherhand had to make sure everyone got the same number of gifts. if she got everyone 3 & then saw something one of us would really like she'd got out & get everyone 1 more gift. we always told her she didn't have to but it's what she felt was right.