Thursday, December 21, 2017

#HGG2017: Teacher Gifts

When our kids are younger, whether they are in daycare, preschool, or elementary school, we parents like to show our appreciation for their teachers with little gifts at the holidays, and/or at the end of the school year. Or perhaps we feel obliged to. Whatever the case, we sometimes struggle with what to give. I polled some teacher friends, as well as a few parents in the trenches, and these are a few of the suggestions.

The first point I should make is that the teachers all want you to know a gift is not mandatory. A heartfelt "Thank you!" means a lot, and you shouldn't feel you have to purchase something to show your appreciation. Handmade notes and cards from the kids are always appreciated as well.

Gift cards came up time and time again.

  • Teachers have to buy a large portion of their own classroom supplies these days. Gift cards to Indigo/Chapters, Staples, even the dollar store go a long way here.
  • Other favourites included Tim Horton's or Starbucks, to keep teacher fueled for all that lesson planning and grading; a spa gift card for some well-deserved pampering; or a liquor store gift card so they can pick out an adult beverage they love. That last one comes with a bit of a proviso in that it would be good to know first if they drink.
Consumables, such as home-baked treats, hand creams, bath bombs came up a few times.

Donations in their name came up from a number of respondents. Instead of purchasing an item for them, honour the teacher with a gift that gives back. For the past couple of years, I've chosen a gift from the Sick Kids Get Better Gifts catalogue. The gift benefits children having to spend their holidays in hospital, and the teacher gets a lovely card to let them know. Plan Canada's Gifts of Hope program is another great way to honour your child's teacher. These gifts benefit children and their families in the developing world. Consider purchasing a bed net for just $10 (5 for $40) to protect from malaria or a back to school kit ($40) to assist a student on their way to an education.

What kept coming through in the responses - teachers don't expect the gifts, and they don't need more "things" (mugs, candles, etc.). They do, however, very much appreciate the sentiment behind the gift-giving, and it is a wonderful time of year to let them know how much we appreciate them. Giving them something they will actually use (gift cards or consumables) or honouring them with a gift for others in need will ensure you it the right note.

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