A few of my suggestions would be:
- If you have a strict teacher budget of $10.00 or less then don't buy a gift
- If you have more than one child and they have multiple teachers (school, sport, piano, dance, church, etc) then don't buy a gift
- If you or your child feel like there is a bad connection between the teacher and you then don't buy a gift (a gift will not strengthen the relationship)
- If you are having a hard time buying for your own family, then don't buy a gift
- If you have to purchase it on a credit card, then don't buy a gift
Here are a few of my gift replacement suggestions:
- Donate your time once a month to come in and help the teacher with something in the classroom
- Lamaniting special items
- Cutting items out
- Grading papers
- Packing folders
- Change bulletin boards
- Sharpen pencils (kindergarten)
- Set the room up for the next day
- Ask her where you can help
- Support and defend the teacher to your whining child (even if you check matters out later)
- Write a thank you email and send it to her principal letting them know how much you appreciate the work he/she is doing with your child
- Save the money you would spend at Christmas, Valentine's and maybe their birthday and give them a nice end of the year gift with a true thank you note ($5-$10 isn't much of a gift at one time but at the end of the year you can purchases a nice $30-$50 gift)
- Give them a nice fruit & veggie basket. Even the pickiest of teacher has to eat.
If you and your child's teacher are friends, and money is no issue for you then please, gift on! There is nothing wrong with giving, and obviously not every teacher is as disrespectful as the ones I mentioned above. It's only when we place ourselves in a stressful situation and put our budget in a hard place to give a token gift that it would be better to not give.
This year, take an honest look at where you are financially and what the mood of the holidays at school are and take care of your family first. Then, if it's appropriate, take care of that special teacher!