Are you getting your child’s teacher a Christmas gift this year? If so you must read this blog! While some parents and kids seem to have the gift giving know how, teachers across America have desks full of useless mugs, tacky ornaments and other items that are better suited for a white elephant party.
Gift Faux Pas #1: Little somethings from Victoria’s Secret
I wasn’t going to share this story and then as I was reading, I saw three other stories of teachers who got similarly inappropriate items. Mine was a see through nightie with tassles. In case you’re thinking that your child’s teacher would like to be thought of more as ‘human’ and that this is a nice gesture–let me assure you it is not! It is mortifying for the student, and embarrassing for the teacher as she’s opening gifts and everyone wants to see what she’s gotten.
Gift Well Received: If you really want to bless your child’s teacher with a night out, opt for a gift certificate to a restaurant instead.
Gift Faux Pas #2: March of the Mugs
It’s not that mugs are a bad gift in the same way as the aforementioned ‘pajamas’ are. It’s just that it is very likely that she already has several. And by several I mean at least 4 for every year she’s been in the profession.
Gift Well Received: Try filling the mug with goodies such as chocolates. One year, a student gave me an oversized coffee mug with chocolate covered candy canes. When you put the candy cane in a hot drink the peppermint and chocolate melts and you have flavored coffee! What was especially nice is that the mug was tastefully selected and thankfully plain, but the child made the candy canes that went in it so it was personal too.
Gift Faux Pas #3: Do I Smell?
Everyone loves Bath & Body Works. Well, at least most people love something at bath and body works. Apparently this is a very popular gift because I quit teaching three years ago and I still have Bath and Body Works stuff left over.
Gift Well Received: If you think your child’s teacher needs a little pampering send her a gift certificate to a day spa instead.
Gift Faux Pas #4: Clothing
For every student/parent that has given me an item of clothing that I actually liked and wore, I have 4 or 5 pairs of ‘untouchables’. The year after I gave birth let’s just say I was not quite my pre-pregnancy size. So one mother sent me a sweater that was a 3X! I didn’t even wear a 3x while I was in my third trimester with twins! Another year, I had a student send me a really lovely assortment of hair clips and accessories for people with long hair–which at the time was not me!
Gift Well Received: Consider including a gift receipt with the item of clothing. That way if it is not the teacher’s preferred style she can tactfully exchange it.
Gift Faux Pas #5: Attack of the hand made ornaments!
As with the mugs, your child’s teacher has several boxes full of hand made ornaments. Perhaps even an attic full. However, one year, the parents got really creative on me, and turned their kids hand made ornaments into gifts well received.
Gift Well Received: The parents of my class got together, bought a small Christmas tree and helped each child make one ornament for it. More importantly though, they checked with the principal ahead of time to make sure I could store it at school and bought me the things to store both the tree and ornaments. From that year forward, my class got to enjoy a December 1st party where we decorated our tree.
My All Time Tavorite Gift
There is no corresponding ‘faux pas’ with this gift. It is just one of the best ideas I’ve ever seen. The parents all got together, put their funds into one very large gift card to the local teacher store. The result was a new electronic quiz game for their kids and future classes to enjoy!