My mum was a school secretary for years. Every Christmas, she'd come home with a mountain of mugs, tchotchkes, and boxes of chocolates from the kids at school. Of course she appreciated the sentiment, but we all agreed that there had to be a better way to acknowledge our teachers and caregivers than with another generic gift. As a parent, I was hard-pressed to come up with a better idea. After all, there are at least 6 people at our son's school who deserve a little something...what could we get that they'd enjoy without breaking the bank??
Last year, I corralled a bunch of the parents at our preschool to pitch in on group presents for the teachers. With strength in numbers, we were able to put together a generous box of homemade Christmas cookies for each caregiver, topped off with a significant gift card to let them pick out their own treat. These gifts went over really well, but it was a lot of effort to coordinate the whole production.
This year, I was faced with the same challenge of finding presents for a handful of staff at our child care centre, but also had to come up with something for the Kindergarten teacher. And since I'd been the ring leader last year, parents started asking me what to get. Recognizing that some of the best moments of a teacher's day surely had to be when they were NOT with the children, I decided to subscribe to a couple of magazines for the centre's staff room. And even better, I was able to do so through a fundraising program that generates cash for our school.
For the teacher, I found a lovely hardcover family style cookbook (on sale) that I hope she'll enjoy with her own brood. As I gave it to her though, I mentioned that we wholly sanction re-gifting if it doesn't suit her taste. At the very least, I figure we may have taken a gift purchase off of her list!