The end of the year is a wonderful time to show appreciation for the people in our lives, especially those who interact with our children every day. Yes, I’m talking about teachers. For some families, it only gets more confusing and more expensive as the kids get older and switch classrooms more often. This week, I’ll answer your questions about gift-giving etiquette and provide ideas specifically for the classroom.
A Kind Gesture
At our kids’ school, the Parent Advisory Council collects donations from parents to buy gift cards for the school staff, so we don’t have to worry about individual gifts. However, I know this isn’t the case at every school and it may not be the norm as my boys get older.
That said, gift cards are usually the most popular, and requested, show of appreciation. While it may not seem to be the most thoughtful idea at first glance, you can still be creative with this approach. Try tucking a card into a mason jar filled with a favorite sweet, a handcrafted felt envelope or – if you’re skilled – within some origami.
There are also some wonderful (and free!) printable tags or cards online that cleverly express thanks. Some can even be easily customized. All you need to whip these up are a printer and some tape or string to attach your gift card.
Homemade or Heartfelt?
If anyone understands working within a budget, it’s a teacher. Don’t feel like you need to outdo yourself (or anyone else) with a teacher’s gift. It’s not a matter of how much you spend, so long as your gesture is thoughtful. Ideas include a tower of school supplies, which saves teachers money they’d probably be spending out of their own pockets.
Not crafty? Consider purchasing a recent Newbery or Caldecott Medal-winning book, or having personalized stationary made for your children’s favorite teachers.
What Do Teachers Really Want?
Several friends and co-workers have asked me about the proper etiquette for buying holiday gifts for multiple teachers. “Do we only purchase one for their primary teacher? Do we buy one for the art teacher, music teacher and the librarian, too?” These are all good questions and, for better or worse, the answer is up to you. If your child is heavily involved in band, then a small gift for the band teacher is probably a lovely gesture, but it’s not necessary.
Truly, what tops most teachers’ lists isn’t a snack or clever trinket – it’s acknowledgement. A note from you or your child (or, ideally, both) thanking the teacher for all he or she has done is one of the most meaningful gifts you can give.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens or visit http://communityamerica.com.