…And the 5 things they really, really want you to know!
They look after our cherubs while we’re at work. They teach our kids about acrostic poems and Pythagoras’s theorem. And they wipe our little one’s hands, butts, mouths and noses when we’re out with our buddies having a well-deserved break. The people who care for and educate our children are an integral part of family life, and so, naturally, at this time of year we start thinking about how to show our appreciation with a Christmas gift.
To help us make sure we show that appreciation in the most fabulous of ways, we’ve been chatting to a cross-section of carers, teachers, and babysitters to get an insight into what they’d really, really love (as well as what to avoid at all costs!)
Here’s 13 gifts they’ll really, really love…
1. A subscription to their favourite magazine
“Buying magazines all the time can be too expensive on my wage, so a regular dose of my favourite mag delivered to my letterbox would be an amazing treat!” Early Childhood Teacher, 31.
Last year I gave magazine subscriptions to my son’s class teacher, a couple of our regular babysitters, and also the staff at my little one’s kindy, and they’ve all mentioned to me throughout the year how much they’ve enjoyed it. As an added bonus, I reckon they’ve cut me extra slack when I’ve forgotten to pack spare undies, or am late with homework. Win/Win!
2. A gift card to a beautician or day spa
“Massages, facials, and manis/pedis are always, always appreciated!” Nanny, 21
3. Special teas
“Especially blends that promise to ‘relax and unwind’ 😉” Babysitter, 55.
4. Delicious home-made treats
“One year I received really yummy homemade ginger biscuits. I think I ate the whole batch in 10 minutes!” Teacher, 29.
“After a year of looking after twenty two nine year olds, it’s nice to unwind with a couple of drinks.” Primary School Teacher, 42. Depending on their tastes, look for lovely bottles of wine, champagne, or a bottle of premium Vodka.
6. A voucher to an amazing restaurant
“One of the most memorable gifts I ever received was a night at my favourite restaurant for my fiancé and I.” Pre-School Teacher, 28.
7. Potted blooms
“They’re so happy, and last longer than a bunch of flowers.” Kindy Teacher, 37.
8. Tickets to events like the Open Air Cinema, The State Theatre, or the Movies.
“One of the best gifts I ever received from a family was tickets to a show at The Opera House.” Babysitter, 65.
9. Scrummy-scented candles
“Always a treat, as I’d never buy one for myself.” Nursery Teacher, 45.
10. Gift cards for major shopping centres or retail groups
“These are fantastic as you can get whatever you like.”Primary School Teacher, 25.
11. A bottle of perfume.
“Once I received a bottle of Chanel. Best. Gift. Ever.” Child Care Teacher, 32.
12. Special Coffee Mugs
“These are always well received.” Day Care Office Admin, 26.
13. A nail polish pack with loads of different colours
Brands like OPI and MECCA Cosmetica release limited edition Nail Sets especially for Christmas.
…and the 5 things they really, really want you to know:
1. “PLEASE don’t buy us chocolate!”
Unanimously, the carers I spoke to didn’t want chocolate. One even visually shuddered as she mentioned it. “Anything edible just makes us fat and we have to give it away!” Teacher, 25.
2. It is the thought that counts.
As this 29-year-old teacher beautifully explained: “All gifts are so lovely. Parents are so sweet to even give gifts, and I have never been disappointed. I think that parents have SO much on their plate that gifts just add to all the stress. Also money is tight for everyone at the moment, especially young families.”
3. Group gifts go gangbusters
“When the class parents combine funds together to buy one large gift instead of a bunch of smaller ones, it’s awesome – better than getting 30 tiny little gifts.” explained a Primary School Teacher, 29.
4. No photos please!
“I was once given a photo book filled with pics of the kids, and it was obviously expensive. While I adore all the kids I teach, having photos of them to keep forever is a bit much. Think of it like this – would you like photos of your clients as a Christmas gift?” Teacher, 29.
5. Play Super-sleuth
“To make sure you’ll buy something they’ll really love, speak to other staff members that the teacher is close to, to find out specific details such as the name of their beautician, what perfume they wear, where they live, their favourite clothing store, what they drink, etc.” Primary School Teacher, 29.
And to prove the point, last year I asked a friend’s nanny, 55, what she’d really love as a gift, and with a far-away look in her eye she replied, “A family photo of my own family: my husband, my son, my daughter and me.” Not something that’d be top of mind as a gift, but one that’d pack a real impact with the person who might be packing your kids’ lunches every day. I secretly passed this onto my buddy, and guess who received her dream gift last Christmas?!
If you’re a teacher/carer/babysitter, what’d be your dream Christmas gift from your charges’ parents?
And parents, what are some of the gifts you’ve given that have received the best response?