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Gifts for the teacher

Posted by School Run Mum on 30/11/2011. Tags: School Run Mum Parenting Teachers

text re imageSomehow or other, December is upon us and as the Christmas lights start to flicker and flash in streets and houses across the country, my thoughts turn, once again, to Christmas gifts for teachers.

I had a conversation with a teacher about this at the end of the last school year, proudly telling her all about the lovely homemade bouquets of tissue-paper flowers which my children had taken in for their teachers and the homemade biscuits they’d painstakingly decorated at Christmas. She laughed and told me how funny it is that parents think the teachers will prefer a cute little homemade gift, but actually, all they really want is a nice bottle of wine or anything in a Brown Thomas bag.

I left the conversation feeling more than a little disheartened.

Surely, with belts being tightened even further than they were last year, teachers don’t really expect parents to buy an expensive Christmas ‘thank you’ gift – do they? Do they? Surely, they can see the ridiculous situation parents find themselves in when there may be two, three or more teachers to buy for. Surely something personalised and made by the child they see five days a week means more than a bottle of hand cream from some fancy boutique?

Or am I getting this totally wrong?

Before I start breaking open the kids' piggy banks or rolling out cookie dough, please let me know what you think – parents and teachers alike. Are gifts necessary at all or is a simple ‘thank you for doing your job’ sufficient? And if gifts are expected, do they have to be of a certain value, and will my homemade efforts continue to be ridiculed in the staff room?

Yours festively.
School Run Mum



(01-12-2011 15:35)

I think the teacher probably was very thick skinned & didnt realise how hurtful the comment was & thought she was just having an honest chat but insensitive person. I bet she wished she got all gifts from BT or wine to relax with! Some parents at my school did give dear gifts others handmade but rarely on teachers wish list. One teacher told me at christmas each year she mostly got either a candle or a box of roses. She said usually there might be one or 2 parents who bought an unusual or expensive gift but it was not the norm & all the teachers were used to getting home made gifts too. Dont worry about it too much I think the teacher was just dreaming and im sure shed be embarrased & feel bad if u actually took her seriously & went there.


(14-12-2013 23:42)

I am a teacher of Junior and Senior Infants and I am always embarassed by the amount of gifts that I receive at Christmas and in Summer. I am also a parent and it is not just the financial pressure of purchasing gifts but the time element involved in buying yet another Christmas present. Before I had my own children, I used to love holding on to the gifts that I knew children had put so much work and effort in to, but now, I just have about enough room on my fridge and attic to store all the lovely momentos from my own little crew at home!!! So Im thinking that may have been where that other teacher was coming from at the start of this thread? When she mentioned BT bags-Im not sure what planet she was coming from -can you get 5 vouchers from Bt these days???!!!!

B O'Brien

(30-11-2011 10:02)

As a mum, Our household like most households, is under enough pressure without an idiot like this teacher. Our DH's teacher takes joy in any and all of the homemade gifts she and the other kids bring. No issue with a gift but Brown Thomas?? Utterly mad!


(04-12-2011 21:50)

I am a primary school teacher. My colleagues and I do not expect or want any presents from children at Chistmas time or indeed at any other time of the year. I am a parent and am very aware of the expense and strain parents are under at this time of the year. Please do not assume that all teachers expect gifts, in fact I have not met any teacher who wants or indeed expects gifts. A homemade card is perfectly welcome and appreciated. I have never met a teacher who has received Brown Thomas gift cards or anything comparable.


(02-12-2011 00:16)

got a note today from the school saying not to buy any teacher a gift but that instead they wanted every child to bring in 1 and they will give the money to a charity ... hurrah what a relief... and they want all the children to make a homemade card for the teacher instead...maybe people could suggest this at other schools aswell.


(01-12-2011 09:37)

@Maria - What a predicament. But I would suggest just the card, with some 'excellent' hand writing inside it. This allows the teacher to put it up at home, showing it to her family. If you are worrying about 'appearances' to other parents.... There could be money or a voucher in there, the other parents don't know.


(04-12-2013 20:08)

As a teacher can I say that the nicest gifts I have received include a homemade card telling me what the child liked best about being in my class, a rose picked from the garden and some of Granny's soda bread. However, I would never expect a gift and think it unnecessary for doing a job that I love. Schools should discourage gift-giving as parents are under enough pressure as it is.


(02-12-2015 13:02)

A simple thank you is enough!!!


(17-11-2013 19:24)

I don't really think teachers expect presents, but it is a tradition going back so far and the children enjoy giving the presents. The majority of teachers are very gracious in accepting these gifts even if it is the 10th bottle of cheap perfume or whatever that day. The teachers are seeing handmade art and craft from their pupils every day after all they are the ones doing it with them so i think it is very naive to think a teacher is going to treasure the child's handmade gift - however, should you care? as far as your child is concerned teacher did love and cherish her gift - teacher is hardly going to tell her otherwise - the present giving is actually for your childs pleasure not the teacher. So as long as your child comes home happy . This comment about wine and bt bags was probably a sarcastic retort - lets face it with 25-30 students that would be some hangover if the each brought a bottle of wine.

Ted Bradley

(30-11-2011 10:07)

The question I would have is why are we giving teachers gifts and what do we hope to achieve by doing so? Teachers presently are better paid and in a more secure job that I am. Not that this is to say for me it isn't important to acknowledge their vital contribution to my children lives, however, I believe that its more likely that teachers will remember positive feedback with backup examples than gifts. We probably will be give the teachers presents this year but its more about keeping up with the Jones rather than a particular reflection on the great work that some of the teachers are doing. I also note we probably wont be doing the same 2nd school, who's teachers also are making a very positive contribution to my eldest life.


(03-12-2011 22:35)


(30-11-2011 23:59)

Our little girl only started school last year,so don't have much experience. Last Christmas we gave a box of sweets her teacher on the morning of the last day. That afternoon they all got newsletters with a piece on it bout how gifts weren't necessary as they were only doing there job. So find myself this year wondering to give a gift or not. I'm afraid if i don't she will be the only one not giving a gift. So i have a card an a small gift put aside and on the last day if i see loads with gifts i will give it to her if not it will be used in our own house.


(10-12-2011 16:43)

My children schools don't allow store bought gifts... but we are making little things which will mean more and the kids will have fun doing it. It is always nice to know that what you do is appreciated even if it is your job!! Which is quite important and stressful....


(17-11-2013 19:27)

Just to add to my comment earlier my sons teacher in junior infants last year actually gave every child a gift - she took the time to wrap 27 parcels containing pencils and a christmas candy treat - it was a lovely gesture which the kids loved


(12-07-2016 15:01)

I am wondering why it is not school policy that no gifts be given to a teacher. I think it is absurd. In most other lines of business you cannot accept gifts. You could even be fired for doing so. Also you have to declare gifts of a certain value for tax purposes. There is enough pressure on parents without adding more. I am certainly going to raise this within my own school that there should be a policy of no gifts to teachers. I'm just laughing at the lady who got a note saying gifts were not necessary. Why didn't they say they were not allowed.


(03-01-2012 10:20)

As a public servant, I am banned from accepting gifts from any contacts that relate to my employment. Even small gifts like a bottle of wine go into a pool for an Xmas raffle, to eliminate any possibility of 'buying influence'. It should be the same for teachers. Schools should send a clear message that teachers are not allowed to accept gifts, but a home-made card or craft item is always welcome.


(14-12-2013 23:48)

that should have read ' 5 euro vouchers'

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