Every Holiday Season we get many questions about tipping: how much, who, when, gifts or cash? One of the trickier questions has to do with who. The answer is simple: people who have provided a service for you and to whom you want to show appreciation. That, after all, is what tipping is about. There is another guideline that helps – generally speaking we don’t tip professionals: doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, and dentists. However, it is certainly reasonable that you might want to give any of those folks a gift when the service they have provided was especially meaningful. Many children want to give a gift to their teacher. While giving a cash tip to a teacher is not appropriate, involving your child in giving a gift makes perfect sense. Two points to keep in mind:
- First, check out school policies. Some schools have strict policies around gift giving and you don’t want to put the teacher in a difficult position.
- This is not a time for spending a large sum of money. The point of this gift is to engage your child in giving, to show the teacher how much you appreciate what she/he does all year long and to express a sense of caring.
It’s only natural that children want to give gifts to their teachers: after all, they spend hours every week with them. But what gifts can they give? Here are some suggestions. But don’t limit yourself to these: they are simply ideas. Also, talk with your child. After all, it’s their gift to their teacher.
- A gift of cookies, homemade jellies, jams or salsa packaged in holiday wrapping with a card written by the student is always appreciated.
- With digital cameras, it’s easy and fun to take photos, make and decorate a cardboard frame, put names and dates on the back, and give to the teacher to enjoy.
- A small plant or good luck bamboo in a small vase brightens up their desk and the classroom for the rest of the year.
- A mug full of jell beans or an individual pack of hot chocolate mix. Add a candy cane for a special mint hot chocolate treat. If the teacher has been in the business for fifteen years, they may already have a zillion mugs, but a new teacher may be just starting their collection.
- If you know of a special interest the teacher has, shop for an ornament or box of note cards that reflects it.
Wrap any gift in festive paper and help your child write a note to go with the gift. If they are too young to write, have them color the message part of the card and “sign” their name. Before the day gets started at school or after school, go with your child to see the teacher and help them give the gift. That way you can share the experience and joy of giving together.
One idea for you, the parent. Add your own note of holiday cheer and appreciation. It’s a gift from you that means a great deal to the teacher who gives to your child everyday.