Today’s topic is gift exchange. I’m guessing that this is addressing group gift exchanges, such as for work and such.
Hmmmm what do I think of this one? I think it depends. I do like the idea of having to get one gift instead of a whole bunch of gifts. But, then I always struggle with the whole idea of what to buy. I really hate the “buy a gift for a female” or male depending on your gender. This is so generic. Often times people buy things that they would like, and if you’ve read my blog enough you know that most likely means I wouldn’t like it. I don’t wear a lot of makeup. I’m super picky about accessories especially jewelry. I have more baking/cooking items than I’d need. So what do you get? The easy answer is a gift card. But then where do you get it? So many people go… I know Starbucks. Ummm I don’t like Starbucks (neither does Richard). So what do you buy???
I don’t mind doing it when I know the person and even more so if you are given a cheat sheet list. Then they know what you like and have some kind of direction on what to get. You have some premise on what is a good gift and can put a bit of thought into it.
We are doing a Secret Santa at work this year. We are buying $5 gift for the first two weeks and then a $10 gift for the holiday party. I purchased my person a cute snowman mug and hot chocolates (hot chocolate was on her list of drinks she likes). That was week 1. This week I did 3 smaller gifts. I got her an inspirational bracelet (she said she liked inspirational books), 2 bottles of a drink she likes and then 3 chocolate bars (she said that chocolate was something she likes but doesn’t buy herself). For her big gift I have pens, a notebook and then a snowman dip bowl.
My Santa got me a bottle of water, hummus and pretzels and chocolate Santa bars for week one. This week they left me a hugs Minnie mouse mug and hot chocolate. These were all ideas that are off my list.
So I guess for me I don’t mind exchanging gifts, with criteria?
Its my 7th day of Blogmas and my list said to me…. talk about homemade gifts please.
Homemade gifts…. hmmm my first reaction is ummm no thank you. But, then I think about it and I think it is more…. it depends. I do give out home baked cookies often as gifts, so that is a homemade gift. I have received some homemade gifts over the years that have meant something to me, or were at least special at the moment.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that it typically isn’t the gift that means something to me, as much as the thought behind the gift. If I feel like you picked out, made, purchased, whatever a gift because you felt it would mean something to me, it is a worth while gift. If I know you spent time putting it together, finding the right item, baking, whatever and you did it to bring joy to me, and/or my family, and others that you created the gift for… than it is special.
So often we get stuck in thinking about the end product. What will I use this gift for? How will this gift effect my life? And, we forget to think about why the person picked out the gift in the first place. Why did they think I would like this?
When you create a homemade gift you are more likely to put thought into the gift. You will put time, effort and love into creating something for someone. It puts the giving back into gifts. So, I say if you are going to put the thought into what you make and who you make it for. If you are going to put your time and energy into creating the perfect gift… than go for it. Even if the receiver doesn’t appreciate it to the level that they should, you will know that you put the giving back into gifts.
There are many articles out there about what to get and not to get teachers. I often get asked this question as well since I am(was) a teacher and have two children of my own.
Most teachers do not expect to get anything from their students, but truly appreciate whatever you give them. But, just know that the space in classrooms to store gifts is very limited. I have a few items that I have kept over the years, two are poems about being a teacher that were framed. This goes against most of what you read about teachers. But, these were both given to me by students after they had left my classroom. They were given 1 or 2 years later and they came back to say thank you. This is when a teacher gift means more, this means that you have touched that child beyond the academic year. Beyond that I have gotten rid of everything that was given to me with the word teacher on it. (Sorry to anyone who gave me these gifts). I typically keep them on my desk for the rest of that school year and then donate them.
One of my favorite gifts I was given was a basket of cleaning and teaching supplies. Yes, you read that correctly. It was filled with Clorox wipes, tissues, sharpies, glue sticks, and other things to use in the classroom. You may think as a parent that this isn’t a good gift, but as a teacher it means less money out of my pocket to buy these items that we use in class. I have also gotten gift cards to teacher stores (Teacher Pay Teacher gift cards would be a big hit with many teachers), Amazon gift cards and even grocery store gift cards. Teachers spend a lot of their own money on their classrooms.
Over the years I have collected all the cards and letters that have been written to me by both parents and children. Not the “I love you teacher” things that the children bring in, the ones that someone took time to sit down and write. The cards and letters that say thank you for making me feel special. Thank you for helping my child love to learn. Those that said you noticed that I put time and energy into helping the child grow as a person. I have printed out e-mails and saved the cards. Taking the time to sit down and put your appreciation on a paper is the best gift you can give a teacher. And, if you really want to make a teacher smile… send a copy to the principal.
As to what I typically get my children’s teachers it changes over the year. I typically get gift cards and chocolate (good chocolate like Lindt truffles or Ghiradelli squares). For gift cards I tend to stick with things that many people would like (grocery store, Target, Amazon, unless I know a place they enjoy eating at or shopping at).
One important thing to remember with teachers, it’s not how much you spend, its the thought behind the gift. Teachers understand that this time of year is expensive. Teachers know… but they also appreciate!