…And the 5 things they really, really want you to know!

By Andrea

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.

magazine subscription to GRAZIA

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.


5. Alcohol

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?

// Subscribe for Email Updates //
// Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter//
// RSS // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Instagram //


  • Some great ideas! Can I just say without meaning to sound ungrateful, that after 15 years teaching I have a draw overflowing with coffee mugs and candles 😉

  • I’ve taught preschool for 20 years, and still have gifts from children from when I started. The best ones are really tasteful things – a classy jewellery box; Christmas decorations from Country Road or Bed Bath & Table (this is now what I get my boys to choose for their teachers); wine is good. I think the voucher idea is now pretty standard and does let us choose something special and memorable that we wouldn’t normally buy for ourselves.

    If the staff at your child’s preschool/daycare have an end of year dinner, it might be an idea too put money/cab charge vouchers/bottles towards that.

    And also let your staff know that you’ve followed Big Steps on facebook and are writing to your local MP’s and others to lobby for increased wages. We love caring for your kids, but we still need to feed ours. 🙂

    • Brilliant ideas here Mumbos, and I love the Big Steps suggestion! Teachers play SUCH an important role for us all and should be compensated as such. x A

  • No school age kids here (or any kids… that’s a work in progress!) but I love the idea of gifting a foot massage voucher with the message “for keeping you on your toes this year”. Can’t resist a good (bad?) pun!

  • itunes gift cards are good; T2 gift vouchers are even better (u drink tea to de-stress); but the best are coles myer vouchers–choice to choose whatever you want!!

    • Really? Wow! It was VERY funny hearing this teacher talk about her ‘photo book’. Seems it was a running joke in the staff room. I’m sure it was cute though…

  • Erm coffee mugs?! Re photos of the kids in the class – at our school we do this – each child does a special painting or writes a story for the teacher and it is stuck in a scrapbook next to their photo. Tho I forgot to send the photo last year lol.

    • Hi Katherine, yeah…i must admit I was surprised by that one too, but 2 of the nearly 20 people I chatted to mentioned it so needed to include…. I’d forget the photo too 😉

  • Yeah as a former teacher I say skip the chocolates and overdose on the alcohol. 🙂

    What you have listed above are killer ideas. I didn’t often receive many of these but would have loved it.

    I always loved it when any gift cards came through, or candles and anything that helped me relax or pamper myself. Photos of the students is a no no!!! LOL

  • Yep we did the group pressie for my daughter’s prep teachers years ago and both teachers scored DJ’s vouchers for $200 and they were so happy and appreciative. We just bought our beautiful piano teacher a ticket to a major art exhibition happening here in Melbourne this summer and she was delighted that we thought of it. Wasn’t an expensive gift but it was definately the thought that counted.

  • As a nanny I have received jewellary and lots of art/craft from the children I work with. Each year I do up a photobook for the parents and a second copy for myself. Personally I like to have memories of the young lives that I have touched. Above all its the thought that counts.

    • Oh that’s so sweet Tami – and the parents would LOVE that! You’re absolutely right though, it’s the thought that counts x A

  • I’ve been teaching for 25 years. Please take number 12 off the list. Yikes. It’s bit like if every client gave you a coffee mug with some saying emblazoned on it. Where would they end up? Right. If people ask me what I would recommend, I would suggest a nice Christmas decoration, especially one that is unique. Teacher’s write the child’s name and year on the box and every year, they have a tree of memories. My tree, every year, if full of the happy hearts of children I have taught over the years – and I remember each one as soon a I see their name.

    • Rhubarb Whine, To be honest? I really agree (not a fan of the gift mug myself) but I did ask about 20 people for the article and it came up a few times… what can I say? Just know I WONT be giving mugs 😉
      The decoration idea is a winner! Thankyou for sharing that xA

  • I’ve previously given one of those little foldable shopping bags, the Enviro ones with the groovy prints on them. Hopefully they were well received! Last year at my daughter’s kinder class, about 40 families got together and put in $10 each, and we bought the kinder teachers a bright yellow pod coffee machine for the kinder, a ton of coffee and tea supplies, candles, hand lotions etc. all for the teachers’ area at the kindergarten. That went down gangbusters.

  • A teacher friend of mine said that although she appreciates every gift she could really do with less candles, mugs and cheap soaps / talcum powder. Home made treats are great because you can offer them around at family gatherings (you don’t have to eat them all yourself!). I volunteer with kids and my most precious gifts are drawings or craft done by the kids themselves. One year the kids and I tie-dyed calico shopping bags. They looked great, were cheap to make and were a big success.

  • Through gifts to child care teachers and now primary school teachers the most well received were – pamper vouchers, a DJ gift card (a young teacher having just moved out of home for the first time), coffee mugs/travel mugs filled with homemade treats (big hit with the sole male teacher – he had his own mug that wasn’t pink and the school bus driver) and baskets of homemade goodies. It’s the thought that counts so just remember not to forget anyone. 3 years ago Miss then 6 put the school groundsmen on the list. We made a box of gingerbread men. They were really touched – no one had ever given them anything before and they were gone in one morning tea break. Getting the kids involved is great – they get to show their appreciation too!

  • Gift vouchers all the way.
    Collective present of all students contributing to voucher is fantastic, I have always organised these when a parent class rep. Always go down a treat.
    My daughters school gives their own staff bonuses in the form of bookshop gift vouchers and the teachers love it, I like the previous suggestion of Coles Myer voucher (hadn’t thought of that, v practical and daggy but oh so useful at end of year).
    And always a card saying ‘thank you’

  • The only one I disagree with is the homemade goodies. I’m from a gluten-free house and can’t risk it. But apart from that, love this list. And NEVER chocolates. Just no.

  • Please remember this when your kids are in High School! I’m a high school teacher and out of 80 students only one mum gives a Christmas gift. It doesn’t have to be big, even a card would be nice…

  • DO NOT GIVE US COFFEE CUPS – seriously they multiply each year!! iT IS ONE OF MY MOST HATED GIFTS AS A TEACHER.!

    I also don’t mind getting a nice piece of jewellery – necklace or something.

  • One of my fav gifts from students is Christmas ornaments, I love remembering the children each year as we decorate the tree 🙂 otherwise, absolutely agree about group gifts!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *