I always know it's coming, but every year, without fail, I find myself in the thick of the holiday season fretting over gifts. With a growing list of present recipients, I have been in the position of analyzing the list and deciding if there is a way to pinch a few pennies by not giving everyone an individual gift. I always feel conflicted when wondering, should my kid get a holiday gift for their teacher? Because I struggle to find the balance between showing my appreciation without breaking the bank.
Since both my children have two teachers, that equals four gifts right away. Then there are all specialty instructors: librarian, music, art, guidance counselor, gym coaches. All of these wonderful people educate my children on a regular basis — I don't want leave anyone out. Depending on the ole bank account, some years point to "No" in the gift giving department, while others are yes. So I brainstormed alternatives to having my child bring each teacher a gift at the holidays and the amount of options surprised me. A theme emerged, and I discovered how giving the gift of time is both useful and doesn't cost a cent. As Real Simple magazine pointed out, "time is a precious commodity," and if you have some to give, you can help your teachers in multiple ways.
When You're A "No" On Teacher Gifts
If the dollar bills are stretched to the max, try these ideas to make a teacher's holiday merry and bright.
- Volunteer to help in the classroom, either cleaning or reading to kids
- Offer to cut, staple, or glue projects that need doing
- Donate gently used books from your home to their classroom library
- Find out if you can make copies for him/her at the school
- Volunteer as room parent
- Write a heartfelt thank you note and have your child do the same
- Ask if they have any needs for the classroom, and see if you or someone you already have that item and can donate it to the class
You don't have to give the teacher something wrapped in shiny paper to express your gratitude. There are lots of meaningful ways to give that will make a lasting impression on your kiddo's teacher.
When You're A "Yes" To Teacher Gifts
As Today's website explained, if you're going to give a teacher a gift, it should be something they really want. Most teachers who have been at their gig for a while is up to their eyeballs in red apple pencil holders, "World's Best Teacher" mugs, scented candles, and fruit flavored body lotions. If your teacher has a favorite things list, that's a great place to start for gift ideas. But if you're not sure what would be best, opt for one of these tried and true presents.
- Gift cards (no amount is too small, it's the thought that counts)
- Homemade sweet treats (or store bought if you're not a Betty Crocker)
- A group gift from the class (coordinate pooling funds with other parents)
- Classroom supplies
Teachers selflessly give to students every day, and no matter how tight the holiday budget is, parents should find a way to acknowledge this effort. More than anything, expressing your gratitude for their work is what your child's teacher will remember and appreciate this year.