By Lisa Thornbury
Other than an early retirement and a class size of eight, what do teachers really desire this holiday season?
Here are ten gifts that top both the Ho-Ho and No-No lists:
1. No-No – Chocolates. We lady teachers have an image to uphold; an image which does not include stretchy polyester pants. If you bestow a box of Purdy’s upon us, we WILL eat them. Teachers are voracious. If you want to witness this firsthand, check out the staff room on “Snack Day.” The horror… So please, don’t feed the teachers.
2. Ho-Ho – Cinema Certificates. Who doesn’t enjoy a night out at the movies? Escapism is everyone’s best friend. What to buy? A pass for two would be perfect. Or go in with another family and purchase a pass good for tickets and snacks. Popcorn is exempt from the “Don’t feed the teachers” clause.
3. No-No – Clothing. Outwear (gloves, a scarf) is fine. Underwear is not fine. It’s so far from fine I don’t even have the words…
4. Ho-Ho – Shopping Mall Gift Card. When a class of say twenty pools together $20 each for a gift card, that’s a lovely $400 shopping spree to be spent on exactly what the teacher wants! Sweater sets, horn rimmed glasses, clips for securing a tight hair bun, leather pants, whatever.
5. No-No – Coffee mugs. I’ve reached my quota for coffee mugs. For life. Unless you’re planning to run a bed and breakfast or open a diner, does the average person need forty-nine coffee mugs? I use the same “I Don’t Do Mornings” mug every day. The sentiment rings true, plus it’s enormous and the handle molds perfectly to my hand. The other forty-eight mugs are merely taking up space.
6. Ho-Ho – Coffee. Teachers work with your children ALL day. Caffeine is mandatory. A Starbucks, Timmies or Second Cup gift card, not stowed inside a cute coffee mug, but tucked inside a card made by your child, is always appreciated.
7. No-No – Anything crystal. Or mirrored. Buying home accessories is a crap shoot. Try if you will, but it’s a fair bet that nobody needs a crystal swan floating upon a mirrored lake. I’m no Grinch and realize that it’s the thought that counts. THIS is why eleven years later I still own a crystal swan floating upon a mirrored lake. I can’t bring myself to get rid of it because really, it IS the thought that counts. Dammit.
8. Ho, Ho– Soap. Until recently this gift was on the naughty list. Bath bubbles and lotions too. But, a trio of hand soaps from Bath & Bodyworks is the exception. I love them and have these tasty soaps (though the scent would have you believe otherwise, you can’t actually eat them) in every bathroom in my home.
9. No-No– Scented Candles. I like candles as much as the next person but some fragrances (I’m looking at you cinnamon and rose blossom) make my eyes water. If you decide to give the gift of candlelight, choose something very mild or unscented. And please, no gel candles or candles-in-a-jar or candles modeled into the shape of an apple.
10. Ho-Ho – LCBO Gift Cards. The same logic for the coffee gift applies here. Kids. ALL DAY. The only difference is that while coffee may be consumed during school hours, a glass of pinot is best reserved for 3:01 pm.
All kidding aside, the best gift you can give a teacher is your cooperation. Work with them to make your child’s school experience the best it can be. A sincere compliment here and there is pretty great too. Tell them how much your child is learning in their class or share some positive feedback from your child about their teacher. It means a lot.
Lisa Thornbury is a former elementary school teacher turned writer, who gets her exercise jumping on and off bandwagons. She is currently on the hunt for the perfect fine tipped dry erase pen for her (many) laminated lists. Lisa writes about the often serious, but mostly sweet moments of raising a child with special needs at foreverinmomgenes.com and whoops it up Party Mummy style at yummymummyclub.ca.