That might be one of the most exciting titles I've ever come up with.
Kidding! I'm just experimenting with SEO. We'll see if it works.
But seriously, several weeks ago I posted the first in what I promised would be a series of posts about helping busy moms get ready for the holidays. It's a good thing I didn't say it would be a regular series, because then I would be a bit of a liar, wouldn't I?
Anyway, the next task on my holiday "to do" list is to get something for our child care providers. It can be tricky to figure out a gift that adequately shows your appreciation for all they do for your children. Sometimes there is one person to consider, and sometimes there are several people who contribute to your child's care. Often, you may know them well enough to trust your child to them, but not well enough to know where they like to go to eat, or whether they would enjoy a gift certificate to a spa. Judging from all of the conversations I've had with other mothers, I'm not the only one who has this dilemma.
So I've wracked my brain and come up with the following ideas for gifts that show your appreciation.
This is our first year in a traditional daycare. There are two regular teachers assigned to my daughter's room, but there are many others in the centre that contribute to her care. I didn't want to buy something separate for each person, but didn't know what I could get that would be suitable for everyone. Then I went to Costco and saw all of their holiday gift baskets and found one that was perfect. Gift baskets are ubiquitous this time of year and there is plenty of opportunity to find one that is suitable for both the daycare workers and your budget. But no nuts. Forgetting that last one means I will probably have to go buy a new one for my daycare, but anyway.
2. Gift Certificate
For the past few years, the families at our old dayhome chipped in to get our caregiver a gift certificate to a spa (aka "Time for Herself"). The best thing about gift certificates is that they can always be tailored to your caregiver's interests. You can also show a personal touch by choosing a local boutique or restaurant instead of just picking up a gift card in the checkout aisle. I've found that gift certificates work best when they are for services that the caregiver will appreciate but is unlikely to get for herself.
I don't know any woman who would refuse a good necklace or pendant. This one might require paying a bit more attention to what her personal style is. And make sure she has pierced ears if you've settled on a nice pair of earrings. In these circumstances, I prefer to browse local handmade markets and try to find something a bit more unique than what you would find in the stores. Another option is to go the socially-conscious route. Me to We has a great collection of products that are made by mothers in Kenya. If you run out of time for online shopping, you can usually find some really unique items at stores like Ten Thousand Villages.
Oh I know it sounds crass, but let me put it to you this way: many employees receive Christmas bonuses from their employers for a job well done. If you are pleased with how everything is going, why not give your child care provider a bonus? You can always do it as a credit card cash card if the idea of giving straight cash is uncomfortable for you.
5. A Heartfelt Note
You know, in many ways our childcare providers are a lot like us. We want to hear from our bosses that we're doing a good job. Regular feedback is commonplace in office towers, but how many of us take the time to let our child care provider how much we appreciate what they do? In words? This is likely a gift that could be added to any of the above, but why not sit down with your kids and ask them to help you with a letter that says Thank You. It's my guess that long after all of the above gifts are used up, that letter will be safely kept in a drawer somewhere.
I would LOVE to hear what you have given your care providers over the years. Is there anything you would add to the list?