Christmas presents – a seasonal problem?
As Christmas hurtles towards us thoughts turn to present buying. What shall I get? How much shall I spend? Could get away with not buying anything? I’m not thinking about family presents but those exchanged at school.
Many teachers agonise over whether to buy their children a gift. Some parents are unsure of the etiquette – can you give a bottle of wine? I’m not sure when this custom started. When I was at school (yes a few decades ago now!) I can’t remember buying or receiving a present from my teacher.
My experience as a teacher is that children love to give you presents. Some children buy a gift at the end of the year as well as at Christmas. In July, a parent asked me what sort of thing she should buy. What makes a good gift – chocolates/bubbles/flowers? I was once given a Formula One annual. I hadn’t expressed any interest in the sport! The elder brother was not best pleased when he discovered that his younger brother had given away his recent birthday present!
For teachers, it is a real problem, especially if you have 30 children in your class. What can you get them that doesn’t put you in debt for the New Year? Many PTAs and Friends groups raise money and buy gifts for the children at this time of year so do they need something from their teacher? In my own school a staunch band of volunteers would buy and individually wrap 350 gifts for Santa to give out!
One of my teachers wanted to use the opportunity to show the children that not everyone was as lucky as them. Rather than buy gifts for each of them, she sent some money to ‘Adopt a Cow’ in Africa on behalf of the class. The children received details of the animals they had bought and the work that was being done in the village. Some parents however, were quite vocal in their displeasure at the action of the teacher. They felt it wasn’t fair as other children had received presents!
So, what should happen? Do children generally get enough at Christmas? Is this a chance to show some charitable thinking? What is the protocol in your school?