Tis the season of frantic emails between friends to say “hey, what are you getting for. . . the babysitter, your grandmother, the dogwalker. . . ” As I’ve talked about in the past few posts, gift giving is hard, expected, and exhausting. So let’s pool our ideas and try to figure things out. Here’s what I’ve gotten in the past (or am getting this year. So if you are my dogwalker, assistant, day care provider, or babysitter, stop reading now.)
Day Care Providers:
I mentioned in my Liberating Working Mom blog post last week that I’ve found a gift that works for our day care providers and I’ve stuck with it through the years. These blankets from Lands’ End are soft, cozy and look very nice. Who doesn’t like a nice cozy blanket? I write a note about how I hope that the blanket allows them to feel as safe and loved as they have made my daughters feel in the past year. Everyone seems to like the gift. You can even get it monogrammed. (And, if you use Ebates, you can get 6% back at Lands End right now!) I’m including a small tube of Aveda hand lotion for each as well since they wash their hands so often.
In addition to the main teachers in the classrooms (2 for each girl, so yes, 4 blankets!), there are classroom aides, the administrative staff, directors, etc. I like to be sure they know we appreciate how hard they work to keep our children happy and cared for daily. I send a box of Cheryl’s Cookies to the front desk for the directors and support staff. If there aides who are regularly in the kids’ classroom, I may get something small for them. This year, I’ve gotten the main aide in Lila’s class some salt scrub and a Theo candy bar.
I know not everyone is lucky enough to have their own assistant, but you may have people within the workplace who make your life easier in some way – be it the mail room attendant or the lady who saves you the last blueberry scone in the coffee stand. I’m lucky enough to have my own assistant and I like to make sure she is happy and feels appreciated because she does a lot to make me look good on a daily basis. She likes coffee and tea and delicious food. For this year, I got her some Starbucks coffee, a tea sampler and a gift card to Whole Foods. Nothing fancy, but something that shows I hope she has a very nice holiday.
So first of all, you’re probably beginning to realize it takes a mighty big village to run this family. Second, we love our dog walker. She has her own nicknames for Cal, she loves him and helps him get the exercise he needs while we’re at work. It’s an odd relationship since I have almost no personal interaction with her, but she has my alarm code, key to my home and cares for my pets. I also know nothing about her other than her love of dogs and reliable nature. So I’ll go generic, probably cash. It may be impersonal but I know she can use it as she would like.
I love our babysitter. She is awesome, amazing, and other than A there is no one I trust more with my children. So keeping her happy is high on my list of things to do. Being that she is a sweet and caring nursing student, I made a donation in her name to WorldVision to support medical care in the neediest locations. I want to give her something that she can use herself so I’m thinking of getting her a pretty scarf – I think she’d like this one from Gap. It matches her bright but practical style. I think I’ll get her a nice Christmas ornament too so that years from now when she no longer sits for us (heaven forbid) she’ll remember my girls, as I remember the kids I babysat for in college.
Grandparents are a big part of this blog’s readership, so let’s keep it simple and not give away all our secrets. Every year since the girls were born, grandparent gift buying as been pretty simple. Put a grandkid’s face on a variety of items = instant fantastic gift. I do calendars every year and they continue to be a hit. So much so that starting last year I make one for myself as well. There are many sites that can make photo calendars, but we have always used Shutterfly.
Do any of these gifts speak to you? What’s on your gift list for all the supporting players in your life?