Monday, November 16, 2009

Which presents not to give teachers and why: Part 3

Want to know what not to get your child's/your teacher this year? Read on, and make sure you check out the first two parts of this! Arguments are welcome.

10. Fruitcake or shortbread.

I've been guilty of this before. It's probably not so bad, and since it was suggested by my teacher mother, it can't be too horrible, right? But I just realised that we have two old fruitcakes in the pantry right now. Hmn. At least you're usually fairly sure that it's clean, and it does last for a long time and won't go off! But it's another of those 'teachers get a lot of this at Christmas' things. So proceed with caution! When I got it for teachers, it was for high school teachers, who don't get many presents in the first place, so hopefully they didn't get 20 that year.

11. Bad Smelling Candles

Smell the candle before you buy it. Is it something you'd want burning or sitting around in your house? If yes, proceed! Candles, though generic, are one of those 'quite often greatly enjoyed' generic presents (Though some years you might get dozens of them, like what happens with chocolates). If not- please, choose a different one or something else entirely.

12. Giant Candle Holders

It goes in the 'where are they going to put it' category. Especially if Christmas themed. Keep it small, and try to keep it tasteful.

13. Bad smelling/cheap lotions and toiletries.

a) because teachers get too much of it.
b) because well, it's often really gross, and will not be used.
c) I have an issue with people assuming "She's female! She loves toiletries!!!" I do appreciate the sentiment behind bubble baths and things like that, that imply that the teacher can go and relax now, but most women after a certain age have a brand of hand cream, body lotion, etc, that they use already, so I've always been wary of getting it for anyone past their teens. But ah, forget it, can't get people to change years of traditional thinking just like that. :) Just make sure it smells nice, okay, and is decent quality? ... and please not Lavendar, even if I do like purple. An example of 'please use common sense when you buy'.

P.S. If you're getting chocolate AND a strong smelling soap- beware! Soap smells soak into chocolate SO fast.

And try to keep it age appropriate. My Mum keeps getting some that's clearly marketed at tweens- complete with cartoon 11 year olds, and glitter. You might be able to get away with that (and bath toys!) for me, but for 50 year old ladies? I've always found that odd. Though, some does smell really nice, or if it has cartoon animals on it, or has a theme like frogs, I can see teachers thinking that's cute. :)

14. Things that might be implying that the teacher is getting old, or that she/he's ugly or fat.

In conversation about this topic, several people have talked about getting anti aging cream. When they were in their 20s. (was it a joke? Were they saying the kids were stressing her out and she might need some anti wrinkle cream?) Similarly, makeup goes into that category, unless you have a decent reason (you're an Avon lady and you have some awesome lipstick that you really think the teacher will like, and the teacher wears lipstick generally), it will seem like you're saying she's unprofessionally dressed, you think she has bad makeup now, ugly, or that she should 'go out on the town' or something. (Though that could be a nice sentiment since teachers should go out and have a life. That would go into the 'if you have a decent reason' category). It is also inappropriate to buy things like a weight watcher's membership.

15. Inappropriate Jewellery or Makeup
Are their ears pierced? Check before you give.
Are they over the age of 14? Please, no play makeup for kids!

16. Totally random crap. Glitter or fake snow does not make it better.

"Unless you were the class mom of my 3rd grade class. With $30 she bought the teacher this mini mailbox looking thing, stuffed with pinecones, some fake snow, and a drawing made by her son.

I'm sure that got a prime spot in the teacher's house!

I think that says it all, from this Etsyer!
If it's dusty things from your own house, please try to pick things that are awesome that you think she'd like. Or at least dust it off. Thanks!

17. Gifts assuming that the teacher is exactly the same as any other woman or teacher.

This is a hard concept. People assume certain things about teachers. That they all like to read. That they all like bubble baths. That because they're female they like crotchet or craft. That because they're male they don't! I don't expect many people to 'get this right', but I thought I'd throw it out there- teachers are people. Try to get to know the teacher and aim for that person as an individual, rather than 'she's a teacher.' 'he's a man'.

18. Clothes.

Mum once got a skirt, and a top, from one of her students parents.
... both about four sizes too small for her. Had this parent never seen my mother? The parent was Chinese, ESL, and I'm wondering if she just bought a 'large' size and forgot that Asian sizes are not 'large' for us fat Australians.

19. Underwear.
In what world is this appropriate? I've heard several anecdotes while researching this list saying that underwear was bought by parents or students. CREEPY. Do NOT do it. EVER. Unless maybe you're a lingerie sales woman. Even then, you'd still not know what stuff the teacher likes, and she also probably doesn't want the child (or you) thinking about it. *shudder*.

20. Anything at all wink wink, nudge nudge.
Yes even if the teacher just got married.
Unless you as a parent are so close to this teacher (friendships happen) that you were invited to the Hen's Night.

Feel VERY free to add to this list, and I'll make another post when/if I think of more things not to give teachers for optimum present giving!

As before, I'd like to emphasise that all gifts are received knowing the kind intention, particularly if it's from a student. These lists are merely to help you in your decision making.
Please check out the first two parts of the list!


  1. LOL!!! The suspense is killing me... I want to know what gifts TO give teachers then! The clothes/underwear are terrible!!! How funny! I hope people don't think like that :)

  2. Another good list to make me laugh! :)

  3. Oh my!!! Great post :) my parents are retired teachers and some of the gifts were quite interesting, but never quite as interesting as underwear LOL!!!

  4. Beginning to wish my students' and their parents read your blog! Some of these would be a welcomed alternative to flowers and cakes, year after year!


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