In a recent survey carried out by the TV programme This Morning, most parents plan on buying their children’s school teachers a Christmas present this year, but why has it become such a big deal?
Listen I’m not gonna get on my high horse and start bad mouthing those parents who do the teacher present thing, jeez I have totally been that parent so I know the pressure and I know the stress of deciding whether to make or buy the ideal gift. And I can hold my hands high up in the air and admit to being that mum who insisted their children make something themselves to show that they’ve had at least some involvement in the present and if I’m completely honest because I revel in the smugness that comes from being a Pinterest mum. Come on you know the ones…they totally look like they’ve got everything under control, ALL the time! Little Johnny’s smart, popular, has handmade costumes for school dress up days and yep come Christmas he’s the one carrying in a decorated shoebox filled with hand crafted confectionary goods beautifully wrapped in cellophane and curled ribbon…that was my child!
I didn’t, and still don’t, like the ideas of kids giving alcohol as gifts, so wine was out of the question (sorry teachers!), shop bought chocolates just seemed a bit….well…’everyone’s doing it’ and I was never so committed that I wanted to organise the class clubbing together and buying vouchers, ‘cos why should everyone else take the glory of my amazingness!?!? I sound like a right cow don’t I? But the thing is, well I enjoy making stuff, and when I had kids it was like all of a sudden I had a free pass to be able to start cutting and sticking and playing with glitter again, so I was gonna damn well show off my talents.
Don’t worry…the novelty soon wore off.
First child, first year of infant school, the teachers got the best of me, and for a few years after that the handmade presents were still high quality and filled with vast amounts of effort, but come the start of junior school suddenly I’d had enough. And so too had the kids. My eldest no longer wanted to take a present in for his teachers, because 1) it just wasn’t cool enough and 2) if he was completely honest he didn’t really like his teachers that much to want to give them anything anyway. So I didn’t force him and for the first time I felt as though actually I didn’t have anything to prove.
Ah ha and so you see, there we get to the crux of it don’t we…. because my theory is (and I reckon I may get blasted by some folk for this, but hey ho!) that it’s not the kids who want to give the presents is it? It’s the parents!
It’s the parents who want to score some brownie points with the teachers, you know buy them a little something so that their child ‘get’s looked after’ a bit better in the classroom. It’s the parents who want to look good to both the teachers as well as all the other parents in the playground as their child comes in with the biggest, best, most expensive gift. I’ve been that parent – I KNOW!
So yes, when I made those handmade chocolates and my kids decorated the giftboxes, I was totally showing off. I wanted some teacher praise, hey maybe I even wanted a much lusted after sticker or to have my name moved up onto the star. OK, so I’m not that bad, but in a job role that gets very little reward, thanks, or praise, it’s not much to ask for a mum to be given a pat on the back every once in a while is it…?
Thankfully I’ve grown out of it, I have way too much other stuff to be doing these days than to be spending my time perfecting stocking shaped peppermint creams, but if my children want to give a present to their teachers (and god knows they deserve it having to look after my two throughout the year!) then I am happy to help them…we just approach it very differently now.
This year the boy out and out said no he didn’t want to get his teacher’s anything (it was hard enough convincing him to write a card so that is one battle I can’t be bothered to fight!), but my daughter who is a very giving child by nature was keen to give something to hers. The most popular gifts for children to give to their teachers are chocolates, alcohol, flowers, toiletries and handmade goods, but we’ve decided to go with none of those ideas this year. No, instead we have opted to donate £10 per teacher to charity. My daughter chose the homeless charity Crisis as she really doesn’t like the idea of people being alone, outside in the cold at Christmas (as well as being very giving, she’s an incredibly sensitive child too), so she made and decorated some labels which included a print out of the donation and she wrote the words “Rather than give you chocolates or wine, I’ve donated £10 to the homeless this Christmas time”.
OK, yep it was totes my idea… it seems a leopard really can’t change it’s spots after all 😉
Where do you stand on the teacher Christmas present argument?
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