The holidays are in full swing. We’ve made the list. And when checking it twice we realize we still have to get something for our children’s teachers.
It’s something we usually want to do or at least feel we should do. The group of professionals surrounding our children are working so hard. A token of our appreciation around the holidays is important. But when you count all of the teachers and therapists and specialists and support staff and bus drivers – it adds up. My oldest son has 7 people working with him; his brother has 2 teachers; baby sister in preschool has 3.
I surveyed parents and compiled a list of options; ranging from expensive to cheap, simple to laborious. Please share your ideas in the comments.
WHAT TO AVOID:
Tempted to get a coffee mug or an ornament – think again. Imagine how many trinkets your child’s teachers or therapists must have after all of these years on the job. It’s the equivalent of a tie on father’s day. Just don’t do it!
Or … perhaps that is the perfect gift to give the teacher you are not so fond of …
WHAT TO GIVE:
Gift cards might as well be gold. You can keep it simple and just sign your child’s name. You can include a holiday card with a photo. Or you can take the elaborate route: a Starbucks card in a travel mug (avoid the regular mugs). A Target card attached to a pair of gloves. Just make sure the gift card is for a generic store (can’t go wrong with Amazon) unless you know the teacher’s specific tastes.
Wine might not be appropriate to give in all settings. Depending on your relationship, however, it could be the perfect gift. You can get a few bottles at a reasonable price and dress it up in a wine bag. If the receiver doesn’t like it or doesn’t drink, he or she can always re-gift it or take it to a dinner party.
Food is always a tricky one. There is so much of it this time of year that it might not be appreciated. At the same time, it’s the thought that counts. If your child is helping you make cookies, you can bring a tin to your teachers with a copy or a recipe and a card that says little Timmy helped out. One year I made my homemade granola as a healthy alternative for everyone to snack on. If the food is non-perishable, all the better.
Store-bought cookies or chocolates are a great option because they can be regifted or saved for after the holiday deluge of sugar, like parent teacher conferences in March or January 2nd.
Cut flowers are fine. But what about an amaryllis or a paper white? It’s beautiful to watch it bloom. It could be planted at home, in the office, or even in the classroom. You can find them everywhere this time of year and they are affordable.
Depending on how much your child’s team has in common, you could do a sort of care package full of things available in bulk. Get a gift bag or better yet a reusable, festive store bag then fill it up! Think chap stick, hand sanitizer, Kleenex, tea, instant coffee, mints. You could throw in mittens or a scarf. Try to think of things he or she might use on a regular basis.
TRAVEL MUG/WATER BOTTLE
Coffee mugs are tired, but what about a really nice travel mug with a box of tea? Or stainless steel water bottle? It’s something that always comes in handy or can be easily re-gifted.
OUTSIDE THE BOX
Gift certificates to a movie are always welcome. Car wash coupons might be appreciated. A gas gift card. A one-time meal delivery service. Or give a gift card to a local cafe or restaurant.
One parent said that there have been school years where the teachers were so difficult, she felt like they should be giving her a gift. When that happens, she’s given them pens or other supplies that classroom might need. Think of a nice gesture that would benefit the classroom rather than the teacher.
A CARD WITH KIND WORDS
Sometimes the sweetest gift is a smile and kind words. A heartfelt card to each team member telling them how much they mean to you and your child. If your child can sign it, write it, or make the card – great. But words from a parent expressing their gratitude is more than enough. The season isn’t about how much you spend. It’s about letting others know you care and they are appreciated.