All I Want For Christmas Is….A Thank You!

It’s around this time of the year that parents start thinking about getting their teacher a Christmas present.

These are usually a small token of appreciation and children love giving them.

Although teachers really appreciate a present, it can get a bit awkward, especially if you know that parents are not really in a position to splash any cash. This is why some schools have a poverty proofing policy.

Read more about poverty proofing in my articles:

Will You Be Having A Happy Christmas?

Poverty Proofing Schools

Have you poverty proofed your school?

Things can get silly depending on where you teach. In some schools, parents engage in present giving that can almost feel competitive in a “Who can give the best present?” type of way. I recall the BBC asking me about this a couple of years ago. I considered myself lucky but that was nothing compared to one teacher who received two packs of gold playing cards from Jude Law.

This is why most schools have a Gift Giving Policy and it stops things getting out of hand. Although these policies can and do vary, especially when it comes to private schools. For example, read this from one school:

The rules say that staff cannot accept any cash gifts, gifts with a value of more than £50 from an individual pupil, or vouchers or gift certificates worth more than £100 from a group of students.

This to me is excessive and more than enough – blimey, did I just read?! 50 quid? 100 quid? Wowzers!

Gift giving is a contentious area. Well, for some. Quite a few teachers have no qualms about accepting a pressie because they “have deserved it!” and why not, they certainly have.

But then again, some teachers aren’t too fussed and are genuinely more bothered about getting to the end of term in one piece with a thank you thrown in.

You can read more about my thoughts on gift giving in the following articles:

Should Teachers Accept Gifts?

Giving Teachers Gifts

Gifted Teachers

The problem of present giving gets whipped up by the media in lots of cases. Here’s a good ‘bad’ example of what I mean:

It’s been a really hard year for teachers, so when it comes time to show a little teacher appreciation — be it during the holidays, at graduation or at the beginning or end of the year — this is the moment to go the extra mile with those teacher gifts.

This comes from the Parenting & Relationships Editor of Good Housekeeping and an article frustratingly entitled 39 Non-Boring Teacher Gifts That’ll Get You to the Head of the Class.

There are a bunch of nice presents listed with a range of prices but I’m thinking of poverty proofing here and so the title alone is making my blood boil. This implies that buying a gift will somehow get you “to the head of the class”. What?! Are we talking bribes or something?

Then there is that bit that says….”this is the moment to go the extra mile with those teacher gifts.”

This has been the year from hell and Covid-19 has meant loads of people have lost their jobs or seen their hours cut. Some parents are heavily in debt and are relying on food banks. No, this is not the time to go the extra mile with those teacher gifts. This is the time to think our lucky stars we are still alive and kicking.

A teacher gift is a luxury item and teachers will know that Covid has wiped out the bank accounts of many families.

Some parents will read articles and get sucked in by the wording and language. They will start to think that they “have” to buy a present and that it isn’t enough to make a modest purchase but now we have to go the “extra mile”. Admittedly, the Good Housekeeping article does refer to affordable gifts and making donations to the school but the main drive is to look at a shopping list of ideas that someone else has decide are “non-boring”.

Do journalists think they are doing parents a favour having spent time hunting down the best gifts out there? Apparently so. Here’s another daft example this time from The Independent in which we are told:

To help alleviate some parent admin pressure we’ve been on the hunt for the best teacher gifts around.

Gee, thanks Independent, I don’t know what we’d do without your amazing suggestions. Perhaps next time you could perhaps give consideration to poverty proofing and just what the lockdown world looks like from the perspective of those with no money.

And it’s worth pointing out that at the end of their article are the words: “You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world and expert advice.”

You can make your own mind up here but I think I know what this means. One of their suggestions is the Fortnum & Mason personalised champagne and chocolates box: £76.50 with the expert advice being as follows:

If you’re on the hunt for the crème de la crème of gifts, then this is it. This wonderfully presented swish Fortnum & Mason gift box is certainly one way to show your child’s teacher some appreciation.


Personally, I’d be disappointed not to receive The Fortnum’s Classic Christmas Hamper, as it is Christmas after all. Can’t stretch to that? Okay, I’ll make do with the Fortnum & Mason, The Teatime Gift Box for those extra special CPD sessions.

Covid-19 should change present giving this year. Some schools have issued statements to parents warning them of the  potential risks associated with the virus and how it could be transmitted on cards and presents. That’s probably the most sensible thing I’ve heard in a long while.

Based on advice from Public Health Wales, a council in Rhondda Cynon Taf, has advised children not give one another Christmas cards or gifts this year due to the risk of passing on coronavirus.


The Best Gifts for Teachers, According to Teachers

31 Teachers Share The Best Gift They’ve Ever Received


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