December 19, 2008

More Gift Ideas: Teachers

Teachers. Gifts. Every year I fret. Evidence of past fretting:

Teacher Gifts (Dec 2007)
Teacher Gifts (May 2008)
Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2008)
Teacher Gifts, Part One: Time to Worry! (May 2008)
Teacher Gifts, Part Two: The Worrying Intensifies! (May 2008)


Well, okay, apparently I mostly worried in May 2008.

Myself, I have read one too many article/comment saying things like "Teachers don't want a bunch of crap to lug home" and "I have no closet space because I save all the gifts I hate," so I'm a convert to gift cards. $10 Target cards all around!

31 comments:

Jill said...

I bring in a "box of joe" from Dunkin Donuts for the secretaries, specialists and principal, on the day before Christmas break and Summer vacation.

JEB

Mommy Writes said...

I'm married to a teacher.

Gift cards are awesome, especially to stores like Target; gift cards for movies and nice restaurants are a little frustrating for us because we have to pay a babysitter to use the gift. Things that are edible are also awesome.

For Christmas, I make all my Christmas goodies before school gets out, including sugar cookies that the kids help me cut out and decorate. Then we give each teacher an assortment (including at least one sugar cookie picked by the student) in a Christmas themed bag/plate/container thing that I either pick up at the Dollar store or regift. This way I get to have 4 different kinds of Christmas goodies around at Christmas without actually eating, say, 3 pounds of fudge.

No need to fret.

AndreAnna said...

Now here's a good question for you: We use an in-home "family care" provider. She's had my daughter for 2 yrs (shes 2.5 now) and my son since he was 8 weeks old (he's now 5 months). What the HELL is appropriate for her?

She's more than a classroom teacher as she's sort of like an extended family member. Last year, I gave gourmet coffee and a nice mug set and of course I bought the wrong kind of coffee not knowing she likes decaf (WHO like decaf?). She was gracious about it but ended up exchanging it. I'm at a loss and need to have her gift by Monday. Nothing like waiting till the last minute, huh?

I'm not sure how much to spend, what to give, basically ANYTHING.

Help?

Snoopyfan said...

I am also an advocate of Target or Visa/AmEx gift cards for teachers. Problem is, I didn't get my act together in time and it now sits in my daughter's backpack until next year. School was cancelled today due to the heavy snow. :(

DCMomma said...

Pier 1 gifts are cute. Starbucks cards. Coffee samplers from Target. Gift cards.

Tracy H said...

To AndreAnna: I used to be in the same boat. Gift cert. for Mani/Pedi or even a massage if you are feeling generous. I had a difficult baby (reflux/meds) so I was very generous with my gifts for our home daycare provider. Find out where she gets her hair done and get her a gift cert. Or, grocery store or bookstore gift cards are good too.

Kristine said...

We went with $25 gift cards to Target all around. Landon has 3 regular teachers and 2 women who watch him in the morning until his teachers come in. So it adds up to quite a bit, but since I had budgeted for his day care over the week we'd be off, and they allowed me to take 2 simultaneous half priced weeks (i.e. a free week), we fit it in nicely.

Nowheymama said...

Our school sent out a letter saying that we were not to provide gifts for teachers and other school employees in these trying economic times. So do you do it anyway, or not? I've already donated items to the classroom. I think I'm going with a heartfelt note and an ornament made by my daughter.

Swistle said...

AndreAnna- Oh, that's SO HARD. I would fret up a STORM. I wonder if...like, a percentage of a week's pay would be appropriate? Or a big Target giftcard and a small token gift (ornament, for example) to go with it?

Joanne said...

I am admitting here that I did not get my son's teachers anything for Christmas. It just - he has off today! I didn't realize it, it's so weird, it's a grading day or something. SO I missed it. I was just going to bring in cookies for the teacher, assistant and his two therapists. I think I will bring them in now after the new year. He goes to school in a pretty poor neighborhood and my husband and I were kind of ashamed that yesterday he brought home a gift bag that was apparently part of a gift tree at some church. He got a Curious George stuffed doll, two books, a tshirt, and a sweat suit! We took part in a similar gift tree at our own church and I was just glad that we didn't end up shopping for our own son! Ha!

FWIW, I think the gift card is the way to go. I worked in a school for several years and everyone seemed to appreciate it.

the new girl said...

Teachers LOVE gift cards. Especially to places like Target. Trust me that they don't need a candle or a mug or whatever. I don't think that you can go wrong with gift cards.

Erica said...

This is my daughter's first year in MDO/preschool and I got her two teachers a $20 gift card to Starbucks each. Costco had a deal where you got five $20 Starbucks cards for $80, which is basically a card for free. Not a bad deal, right? Anyhow, I have no idea what her teachers like and I figured there's something for everyone at Starbucks.

Melissa said...

Ugh! After reading the comments from the other 4 posts and then this one, I feel like crying. I worked hard on the cookies and chex mix for the teachers, but I feel like it was the WRONG thing to do. This whole teacher thing is new to me as my son is in Kindergarten. I guess I shouldn't worry about how the gift is taken or appreciated (or should I?) and try to do better at the end of the year. Sob!

(Seriously-I have tears in my eyes because I feel like I SCREWED UP!)

Lorraine said...

Hellloooo! There is no such thing as a "wrong" gift! It's your expression of appreciation for someone. Unless you got them a baggie of unsavoury doggie doo, then be assured that the sentiment is appreciated (and I would totally be thrilled with cookies and chex mix!) Homemade gifts are a genuine gift of time. ***HUG**** You done good Melissa....

Swistle said...

Melissa- I feel the SAME WAY! I gave gifts for years, and then saw a bunch of articles/comments that basically said the things I chose were not only wrong and unappreciated, but actually offensive. I just about threw in the towel. But my MOM is a teacher, and she says she thinks the teachers who say those things are in the minority: she says she always liked getting treats and ANYTHING she got. I've switched to gift cards mostly because I've become so self-conscious about it---but according to my mom, we shouldn't be.

claddagh said...

Delurking to say that as a teacher in an inner city school, any gift is appreciated. And while I would probably appreciate a gift card (I have never received one), the edible gifts are always nice to share with my family and friends at Christmas. The faux Hummel figurine I received today, while "cute," will probably not find a place in my china cabinet. The thing I love the most though is when the kids write me a card with a special message-- it means the job is getting done.

Lippy said...

Personally, I LIKE the home baked goods. I have had many students bring me awesome treats, then I ask for the recipe. I don't know anyone who puts down gifts from students. I teach high school, so we tend to get fewer gifts (which is fine). We all understand it is difficult to pick out a gift for someone you don't know. I think most of the teachers you know would feel horrible that you are all stressing this way. They are teachers because they love kids (I hope). And everyone understands in this economy that money for gifts is hard to come by. Personally, I feel uncomfortable if a student gets me a gift card for more that $10 or so, my parents never could have afforded to do that, and I don't want anyone to feel like they have to.

As for the home daycare, we have had the same lady for five and a half years. She is like a part of our family, we always do a huge plate of homemade cookies. One year we did a gift card to her favorite restaurant, but she really seems to like the cookies better. Every year she tells me which ones her father loves, which are the cousins favorites etc. I feel like I have become part of their family tradition the way she is part of ours.

Wow that was loooongg. Sorry Don't worry we will love your kids no matter what.

Mama Bub said...

Former teacher with a teacher husband. Gift cards are awesome.

But to Melissa, any gift is appreciated. When it's coming from your students and their families, it really is the thought that counts.

brooke said...

Hi guys,

I don't know any of you, but I wandered over here from the Swistle's baby names blog...In regards to teacher gifts I just wanted to say that it is totally the thought that matters, not the actual gift!!!

My sister teaches in the one of the richest private schools in the country and my mother teaches in one of the poorest inner city schools. Needless to say, they are given very different types of gifts :) My sister comes home with awesome gifts - fancy wine, chocolate, soap, and purses. While my mother is given gifts that obviously come from the Goodwill or Dollar Store if she's lucky.

If someone is given a gift, that means they are appreciated and loved. People are not entitled to gifts. If a teacher resents a gift from a student, then it sounds like that teacher needs a wake-up call about what matters in life. Yes, everyone will get a gift they have no use for, but come on - it's Christmas :)

Just my two cents! PS I would love to receive cookies and chex mix.

CSC said...

Oh, thank-heavens this came up I was really worried about the gift I got my son's MDO teachers. I was fretting that the Target gift card ($25) was not personal enough, but because I am so bad at picking out gifts for people I figured better a gift card than nothing at all. I feel so much better!

BUT, if I could bake awesome cookies/chex mix I would have done that..so I think you did good there too!

StephLove said...

We're thinking Starbucks gift cards and a homemade gingerbread cookie for our elementary school son's teachers. Someone organized a group gift for the preschooler's teacher-- twelve bottles of wine and a scarf with patches made by the kids. I'm all for thoughtful gifts if someone else does the thinking.

Melissa said...

Thanks so much, ladies. I want to send cookies and chex mix to each one of you!

I know my son's teacher appreciated it (she said, "All this and you work full time!") It was just...uh, reading the teacher's comments about getting another mug that will just "collect dust" (the chex mix was in a mug!!!) was a little disheartening.

I attached a note to each gift plate thanking each teacher for all they do, so hopefully that makes up for the lame gift (I kid, I kid!)

Again, thanks so much! Virtual cookies for everyone!

Heather said...

Last year for my DD's preschool teachers (as well as DH's coworkers) we made Mason Jar brownies and gave them to everyone to bring home and make with their families. But this year I couldn't find Mason jars, and so for DD's new teachers I helped her make them homemade Christmas cards. She's just learning to write her letters, and she wrote out: "Merry Christmas, Mrs. X" and on the inside wrote her first and last names, then she traced her hand and wrote the date on it.

I think they loved those cards as much as anything we could have bought - she spent quite a bit of time carefully writing her letters and she decorated them personally. I think it's definitely the thought that goes into the gift, rather than the amount of money spent.

Michelle said...

Married to a teacher, too. Gift cards are great. Much better than the homemade Polish ornaments we got one year (in my opinion) ;) The huge thick wool socks he got one year were GREAT though. They've now worn out. But me? I do gift cards for EVERYone.

Paige said...

I know I am repeating a lot of what was said. But my husband is an elementary music teacher and is thankful and appreciative of any gift. He writes down who gives him what so he can personally thank them. He gets everything from gift cards to homemade treats to drawings. He came home yesterday with all of it and I pigged out for about a half hour on cookies and candy. But my favorite part is reading the little notes and cards the kids write. "You are the best musek teechar in the hole werld" Stuff like that, it's so sweet!

Also, I am shocked that Nowheymama said her school sent out letters telling people not to give gifts to the teachers because of the economy! If people want to give a gift, they should be able to. If they can't swing it, they won't. Why should the school get involved? Teachers get zero perks. Let them get a few gifts during the holidays. Sheesh.

AndreAnna said...

Ok, I'm back because now I am fretting MORE that I've read this.

I always bring homemade cookies but she's been actively trying (and succeeding) at losing over 100 pounds. So, I feel cookies may be undermining her progress since I know her personally.

I want to cry and throw in the towel. I feel a gift card is so impersonal for someone who takes care of my children in their HOME but I know it will be appreciated.

Maybe I could present it in a personal way? Like in a handmade card or mug from my daughter?

Oh Swistle, I never normally fret with you because I am by nature NOT a fretter, but this as me FREAKING THE FRICK OUT especially since last year I feel like I FAILED.

fairydogmother said...

I said this last year and I'll say it again: any gift or way of showing appreciation really will be appreciated. Just yesterday I received a holiday card & treat from a family with the nicest, most heartfelt thank you/happy holidays note inside. It truly turned my otherwise crappy day around. And I know for a fact that this family did the same thing for the entire staff. Just knowing that they took the time to do that means so much.

And to AndreAnna: I would suggest a gift card to somewhere like Target or Starbucks along with a card letting her know how much you appreciate all that she does for your kids and maybe a nice soy candle or bubble bath if you know what kind of scent she might like. Also, having your kids (well, your 2.5 year old, that is) participate in it somehow would be nice, like including a picture with the card or something. Or if you really want to pamper her a massage or manicure/pedicure gift certificate. But really, the card with the happy holiday wishes and just letting her know that you notice and appreciate all that she does will be what gives it that personal touch, I promise!

fairydogmother said...

Ooh, I just had another idea for AndreAnna (and anyone else!). How about making a sign that says Thank You and having your daughter decorate it a bit, and trying to snap a photo of the kids holding the sign to include with the gift/card?!

Totally unrelated: word verification is humpo!! What kind of blog is this Swistle?! ;)

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

As a future teacher, I concur with the previous comments - absolutely anything is appreciated! It's the thought that counts.

I totally agree with the home-made notes or cards from the children and maybe a special note from the parents (if it's a teacher you do appreciate, lol). I think these really make a teacher feel proud and appreciated for the hard work they're putting in.

Also: while three thousand mugs over a teacher's career might be a lot, if you have a newer teacher, she might appreciate a few of those mugs! New teachers LOVE getting "teacher swag" (any of those adorable ornaments, mugs, pens, etc that say a slogan about teachers).

OH! Another idea! Give them Cool Teacher Stuff For The Classroom! Stickers, cool pens, markers, those name plates for student's desks (my mom found me a bunch on sale at Target one time)... teacher's actually shell out A LOT of their own dough to make their classroom's great... I'm sure classroom items teacher's can use would always be appreciated.

Amy said...

I AM a teacher (well, I was...now a principal) who has to buy gifts for teachers...I bring them all Starbucks gift cards. The Target idea rocks.

Daisy said...

Great idea! Simple, practical, thoughtful. I'm a teacher in a school with a high poverty rate. I get few gifts, and I treasure the few I do receiver.