My mom’s a teacher. I am poor. This works out well, as every year just before Christmas, she is given approximately 834 gifts she doesn’t want. She gives them to me, and I give them to all the people on my list I’m socially obligated to buy a present for but can’t afford it.
Every year she recieves:
2 dozen coffee mugs. She’s been teaching for 23 years. She’s single and lives alone. She doesn’t even need 2 coffee mugs.
2 dozen crappy handmade or dollar store christmas tree ornaments. She’s 58 years old. She has plenty of nice ornaments she’s bought or been given over the years. There’s an occasional nice ornament which she will keep or which I’ll use on my tree, but trust me when I say most of them are total crap.
1 dozen boxes of crap chocolate and 1 box of nice chocolate. Guess which one we keep!
Smelly candles, smelly bath stuff, smelly dried plants to put in bowls, smelly oils, smelly smells. She jokes every year that she better wear more deodorant, because obviously the students think she reeks. Problem is, she’s asthmatic and highly sensitive to scents, so she can’t use any of this, even the nice stuff.
Assorted ceramic dustables. Angels, candlesticks, bells, apples, etc. If she kept all of these, her house would look like a Victorian melodrama.
Mystery gifts. These are white elephants. Sometimes they’re just weird, sometimes they are unidentifiable. The teachers actually compare and laugh over them in the lunchroom. The crucified stuffed moose with mini Christmas lights hanging off his felt antlers was one of these.
Gift certificates. DING! DING! DING! We have a winner! She loves these. Restaurants, Target, movie theaters, whatever. Loves, loves, loves. Raves about 'em. She and other teacher friends pool them and go out together for a nice dinner and a movie.
You can guess what I give my kid’s teachers.
Of course, she is gracious and appreciative to the kids. They’re sweethearts, and they all mean well. It’s a definite case of “It’s the thought that counts.” But sometimes, you just have to wonder what they were thinking!
Sure! They should be generous to their teachers and fellow students every day. Generous with praise, generous with time, generous with effort. If they really do find “the perfect gift”, then it’s great, whether or not the teacher like it, she’ll understand the sentiment. But with so many of these gifts, it just seems obvious that the parents are cramming something in a gift bag at the last minute so they don’t seem parsimonious. Many times, the student doesn’t even know what’s in the bag until the teacher opens it. That’s not generosity, that’s something else. I’m not sure what.