Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Holiday Gifts for Teachers

I read an article yesterday that a district is setting a limit of $50 for the entire year for a family's gifts to a teacher. Do you give gifts to your kids teachers? How many gifts does that entail? Some years a savior of a class mom will send home a note asking for a donation toward a class gift. Sign me up for that. When did extensive gift giving start? Holiday gifts, end of year gifts. How many apple shaped Christmas ornaments can one teacher stand?

My kids have a SPED teacher and an aide, regular ed teacher and that classroom aide plus multiple therapists. The list gets long! Some years I've been able to do something for 15, 20 people. Other years? Finances mean I have to get creative.

I'd love to give everyone who works with my girls a million bucks. (That's what several quiet hours in an empty house is worth.) Everyone on the girls' teams is dedicated, devoted, well trained and highly capable. We're very fortunate to be in our district in CT where autism programming is strong.


Anonymous said...


It does get expensive to provide gifts to all those people. Special needs children have so many people that help them thru the year, of course you would like to acknowledge them with a lovely gift at Christmas time.

A suggestion for future holidays- you may want to consider a homemade gift. Something that you could get the girls involved in.

For a few years we collected various size jars (pickles, mayonaise, spaghetti sauce, etc..) throughout the year. Then we would paint them and decorate them to look like snowman, Get some fabric to and cut it to look like a scarf, tie it on. Buy a single light on a cord you drop in the jar and put the sock on it and you have a homemade, really cute Christmas gift.

My kids loved making them, it kind of became a tradition for us, making our snowmen. The teacher's loved them. This year we decided to make a homemade edible treat, stick it in a Chrismas tin and attach the recipe.

Now, I'm no Martha Stewart, but the kids love it, it's not expensive and the teachers seem to really appreciate it. Only thing is it takes pre-planning, and I know sometimes things don't go as we plan. (see crapisode)

mcewen said...

Don't get me started on this one! Two children in spec ed. Each class has a teacher and two aides [exceptionally lucky family] 13 'doses' of therapy a week with different therapists. Did I skip the speech therapist and OT in school for each boy each with a different therapist? I did.

A pal of mind who used to be a teacher said 'Starbucks' for everyone. [find independent coffee store instead?] That is a pretty hefty bill, and that's just the holidays - want about the end of the school year!

There again, how much can you 'pay' to each individual who is making such a fundamental impact on the most important people in our lives.

Cheers and very big best wishes

Kim Stagliano said...

Can't you smell the three pans of browies cooling right now? LOL!

I'll share one of my favorite inexpensive gifts -- feel free to borrow it. I buy a lottery ticket and write a card that says "Thanks a million!" and then I hope they win some holiday money. I've also made custom cards with a photo of the kids as a small thank you.

One year I bought 17 $25 cake servers from my hudband's company...

AS long as we say "Thanks" I think the teams are happy.

Thanks for the ideas!

Teacher said...

I am a special education teacher working in an autism spectrum disorders program. I can understand the dilemma parents face this time of year. I myself have 5-teaching assistants (not all full time- but wouldn't that be nice!) my students also have OT, PT and speech therapists. I think your daughters' teachers and therapists will love and appreciate the brownies! Yummy! I really like the homemade gifts I receive. (Anonymous- the snowmen gifts sound great!) Teachers know how expensive gift giving can be for families- especially families like yours where so many teachers/aides and therapists are involved. If parents really want to buy gifts the Dunkin Donuts/Starbucks gift cards McEwen suggested are always a big hit! I truly appreciate every gift I get- but I cherish the cards especially when they are filled with the thoughtful comments on your post and in the comments that were left. I have some parents who do like to buy me expensive gifts because they can afford to. But I honestly don’t feel slighted if I do not get some kind of gift from each of my students. I also struggle to buy gifts for my many co-workers and I like to get a little something for my students. This year one of my parents gave me a $50 gift card. (Yes that is A LOT! It was extremely generous!) I gasped at the amount but then got teary eyed when I saw what she had written on it - "Thank you for your dedication!" Those simple words meant so much!
I am sure what ever gift you give to your teachers and therapists will be great! Have a wonderful Holiday!

Anonymous said...

Hello Teacher and THANK YOU! We all know how hard you work and we appreciate the break your work give US. Truly. I hope you get a winning lottery ticket this year.


Pam G. said...

As a SPED teacher myself, I must say that I find myself basing my efforts at school on what type (if any) gifts the child's family has provided me. I know it's selfish and all, but that's just the way it is.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Pam g. We don't get paid enough money to justify anything less than say, a $100 AMEX gift card. Screw the $50 limit. Where's that? Some candy assed Massachusetts school where they don't let the kids play tag? You want an IEP worth the paper its written on? You gotta fork over some paper of your own. And brownies too. And maybe some coffee would be nice. Starbucks or Caribou, not that Dunkin Donuts swill. And two jelly donuts. And a bialy. With shmear.

Holly Jolly

Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher of kids with autism. Please, please, please, don't buy me crap such as ugly ornaments or figurines. IT REALLY, TRULY IS ABSOLUTELY FINE IF YOU DON'T BUY ME ANYTHING AT ALL. There is no way for me to state this that makes it sound convincing. If you feel utterly compelled to buy something, get classroom paraphernalia. We have to shell out pooploads of dough on this crap. A few standards that will always be appreciated:
- tissues
- chalk or dry erase markers/erasers
- pencils
- books (ask which ones)