If there is anything my mom taught me, it’s that showing your appreciation can go far. I always wanted to be like her. She is a nurse and would always be the one to bring snacks, personalized cups, jackets, birthday, and anniversary cards to her job. I remember when she used to take me to work, and all of her coworkers would tell me how wonderful my mom was and would tell me stories about how she was there for them during a tough time.
Gifts are no substitute for building trust and a reliable, genuine relationship in the workplace, but it can be a means of making a deposit into the emotional bank account you hold with others. Because we have so many coworkers, especially if you work in a school, it can be hard to do this in a cost effective way. When I first started teaching, I was in Oklahoma, which was 51st in the nation for teacher pay, so I was definitely on a budget. I found a way to treat my coworkers even though I was on a budget. To help you out, I have some questions to guide who to plan to give gifts to. I’ve also compiled some ideas to help you do the same, and of course, in true English Teacher fashion, it is punnier than ever.
To Whom Should I Give Gifts?
Sometimes, we don’t give gifts because we operate under an all or nothing mentality (When I say “we” I am really talking about myself lol). You don’t have to get everyone a gift, and you don’t have to feel bad about it. I like to think through who I have the most proximity to, and who have helped me out throughout my semester.
Here are some categories that might be helpful parameters when thinking about who to give gifts to:
- Your hallway, or your department
- The administrative staff
- The custodian who cleans your hallway
- Your mentor/mentee
- The front office staff
- (and of course) your teacher best friend
Sometimes, I like to tear my gifts. For my department, and my teacher mentee, I like to splurge on a slightly larger gift because they are large contributors to my well being, and I work with them on a daily basis. I would do small gifts that I can make in bulk for my hallway and other personnel I come in contact with on a daily or weekly basis because they also contribute to the school as a whole, and I want to show my appreciation.
I am sure just a card would be a great way to show your appreciation, but sometimes being corny has its perks. I like to have a small gift like candy or a drink that you can buy in bulk, but I like to make it memorable with a gift tag with a pun wishing everyone well on their break. Even if puns are not in the realm of your personality, I would encourage you to at least write a note because the personalization is what makes it special and brings a smile to your coworker’s face. In case puns are your thing, then here is a list with their respective candy!
Have a TEA-riffic Holiday- an individual tea bag, or a bottle of tea.
Have a re-MARKER-ble Holiday- Sharpie markers. Everyone loves a good sharpie!
Have a holly JOLLY holiday- Jolly Ranchers
You’re a STAR, thank you for all your work this semester!- Starbursts
You’re un-BEAR-leavable! Have an excellent break!- Gummi Bears
Observation and listening are really your best friends when it comes to this. Splurge gifts are extra special when it shows that you listen and care about your coworker as a person, and not just as an educator. Here are some gifts that I got for my coworkers over the years.
Personalized mugs- If you know that your coworker, like many educators, are avid coffee or tea drinkers, having a mug with their name on it or their favorite quote would be a great fit.
Wellness Kit- If you know that an educator has had a stressful semester (like pretty much everyone at this point lol) a wellness kit might be helpful. I’ve included relaxing tea, a face-mask, their favorite snack, a candle, and a warm blanket. Anything that will help your coworker relax and encourage them to take some time for them.
Hobby Kits- I have coworkers who have side hustles, and hobbies outside of work. I like to get them something that will aid in that persuit. One of my coworkers have an Etsy store where she crochets cute gifts. I got her some yarn and a personalized card thanking her for all of her support. Think about what hobbies you have heard them talk about, and how you can aid them in it.
I know that the holidays can be stressful, and it isn’t the best time of year for many of us. Showing support and love in any way this season can truly positively impact someone’s life while simultaneously enriching yours. Don’t forge to follow me on TikTok: @stephaholic and instagram: stephaholic_11. I hope this was helpful, and I am so grateful you’re here. Remember, Mind, Body and then Classroom, in that order. See you next post!