As a child, I went to a Jewish day school. Half our days were spent studying math and English and social studies, the other half we spent learning Hebrew and Hebrew Bible and the commentaries. For the Jewish studies, our teachers were rabbis. Nobody gave anybody a Christmas gift. In fact, I got all my Christmas information from TV commercials and so I thought the only people who gave each other gifts were immediate family members and the aunt who came for dinner with a platter of cookies and a twinkle in her eye.
By the time my own kids were in preschool, I had enough Christmas experience to know that the gift giving extended way beyond just families, so when the email about holiday gifts went out, I was prepared and relieved for the direction from the school. But not every school tells parents who want to give a holiday gift what to give. Enter the blogosphere. Because there are teachers our there blogging who will tell you.And according to those blogging teachers, the simplest gifts are the most deeply appreciated. A sincere thank you from a parent or guardian, a homemade note from a child, these are meaningful gifts with deep value and no storage requirements.
As for actual, physical, wrappable gifts, teachers like things they can us in the classroom. Like classroom supplies. Post-Its (which are expensive!) and highlighters and crayons. Books, used and new, donated to the library and art supplies are always, always welcome. Student subscriptions to educational magazines are also welcome. In this age of slashed budgets, no school item can be taken for granted.
I would add to this list that a donation to the school itself in honor of the teacher, or to a local public library system, or to a cause you know a teacher supports always counts as a thoughtful gift.
And what teachers don’t want to unwrap during the holidays? Candles. Tchotchkes. Clothing. And, finally, the one that broke my cookie-baking heart, home made food. Apparently, there have been just too many poisoning incidents for teachers to feel safe eating the home baked goodies.
The bottom line: Whatever you choose for Christmas giving, think ‘Thank You’ and not ‘Mug.’