Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Boy, Do I Feel Like An Idiot

Alternative Title: I'm Glad This Email Came Today and Not Tomorrow!

So, it's Christmastime (I know, where have I been, right?  Up to my neck in finals-giving, finals-grading...)

Anyway, so I had started to think about what gifts I wanted to get for my daughter's caregivers at daycare.  This thought process had been a little tricky because:

1.  This is our first Christmas at daycare.  She started daycare at the beginning of January this year, so I don't have any observations of whattheotherparentsdo from last year to fall back on.

2.  She has just transitioned from the caregivers she was with for 10 months to a caregiver she has been with about 6 weeks.  I really would like to include her former caregivers in whatever gift I get, since they are still very important to her - she likes to stop in and visit them when we arrive in the mornings or when we leave in the afternoons.

3.  The "Twos" are divided into two rooms - one is her room, with five children and one caregiver.  The other is a larger room of older Twos (like, you know, kids who are ALREADY TWO and such) with two caregivers.  That is the room where my Wee One gets dropped off in the morning and picked up if it's after 5:00.  So they know her, participate in her care, etc.  The book exchange party will be with the entire group today, for example.  So I feel like I should include those two caregivers in whatever gift I get also.

So that means I'm buying gifts for 5 caregivers.  What about the director and assistant director, who both let me sit in their offices and cry when (1) we first started at the center and she wouldn't eat or sleep, and (2) when she transitioned to the Twos room?

Then what about additional "float" caregivers that she is fond of, who are only there during early morning drop-off?  Where do I draw the line?

I drew the line at 5 for gifts, maybe baking treats for the others.  I was comfortable with that.  And I even knew what I was going to buy.

You see, I had been shopping on Etsy, coveting luscious little treats I thought would be wonderful for us to give.  I don't like giving sugary baked goods, because you never know what someone's dietary restrictions are.  But handmade soaps and bath salts and lotions and soy candles and vegan lip balm?  I imagined crocheting little baskets and filling them with the goods.  This would be the best gift ever, they would love it! 

Should I put fuzzy socks in there too?  The ones with aloe in them, that make your feet really soft if you manage to sleep all night without kicking them off and losing them in the sheets? 

But, this is getting a little pricey here.  Even if you get $4 candles and $5 hand lotion, I was looking at dropping a hundred bucks on Etsy for 5 gifts with shipping for all of it - even if I bought as much as I could from one seller and had them combine shipping.  The shopping would have to wait until payday ... the 15th.

So today is the 15th.  And while my wee one is probably right at this very minute enjoying a new book from her book exchange (I hope she gave up the one she brought graciously.  This morning it wasn't looking so great when we wrapped it), I am getting ready to do my Etsy shopping...

..when I get this in my email inbox at work from another parent at daycare:

"Dear Parents, Grandparents, Guardians, and Families, Over the last several years, I’ve found myself struggling to come up with a unique gift for my children’s teachers that reflects my sincere appreciation for the loving care and patient and skillful guidance they provide every week. With that struggle, I’ve wondered how many other bottles of lotion, bars of soap, pairs of fuzzy socks or slippers, picture frames or ornaments will be given in addition to mine. It’s hard to select a gift that will be useful, meaningful, and unique while not being too expensive. And, particularly for those of us whose children have been at the center for several years, I frequently wish that I could afford to give gifts to former teachers and staff members who’ve formed lasting relationships with my children.

Last year, we pooled our resources to do something really great for all the teachers and staff at Bright Horizons downtown, and I would like to extend an invitation to coordinate the same thing this year. I will collect donations from any interested families and will divide them equally between the 22 employees (including all staff and teachers). Purely by way of example, if each of the 70 families whose children are enrolled at the center give $30, that translates to a gift of about $95 for each employee! (Of course, you should feel free to give whatever you want to if you choose to participate at all!) Holiday cards will also be placed in a central area at the entrance so that families can leave their personal holiday messages for each teacher and staff member. These cards will be presented on December 22. On the day the cards are given out, families can bring in holiday treats (cookies, candy, hot chocolate, etc) for the teachers and staff to enjoy."

Dude, she totally just dogged on my whole gift plan.  Fuzzy socks and all!  Are you serious?
BUT .... there is a silver lining.  It would actually be cheaper for me to give money than buy all the stuff that apparently, according to this parent, they loathe and scoff as gifts anyway**.  AND since the gift is evenly divided, then it is going to the former caregivers, the current caregiver, the caregivers in the other room, the fill-in and float caregivers, and even the cook in the kitchen (I believe.  That wasn't specified by the parent who wrote the email.  I shall assume.)  While I wouldn't bring in gift cards to hand them out, because I think that would be tacky, apparently they did this last year and all the caregivers really loved it.  (It's money, who wouldn't?)
So I'm all for it, and totally glad this email came today BEFORE I did all my Etsy shopping.  And now I know what the protocol is, so next year ... wait, next year she'll be in preschool.  Never mind.
**I don't really think they loathe and scoff.  I mean, who scoffs at vegan lip balm, anyway?


Funky Mama Bird said...

*snort* I'm so lame I just bake a whole wicked lot of cookies and divide them up amongst everyone we know. And if the recipient doesn't appreciate homemade cookies and truffles? Then they certainly don't deserve a better present than that!

I'm actually sort of dreading preschool next year around this time after reading this!

Anonymous said...

So jealous! I have been fretting over the same issue. I simply cannot afford to buy gifts for the 6+ people that care for her daily.

So I'm taking donughts tomorrow.


Jellybean Mama said...

I realized last night that TODAY was the Christmas party and last day of preschool before the holidays, and therefore the day I needed to take the teacher gifts. Did I have teacher gifts? No, I had very loosely outlined ideas of personalized mugs, lotions, hot chocolate, cookies, all wrapped in pretty cellophane. Thankfully it snowed so I have one extra day to go to Target and get gift cards.

Teachers HATE getting ornaments, mugs, lotions and socks. It's what they always get. But WTF else are we suppose to do? My best gift when I was a daycare teacher was a bottle of Tequila, but we can't all be that cool.

I LOVE that parent's idea.

MommieV said...

And since I found out my overload for next semester didn't make, so I won't have the extra funds I have this past two semesters, I'm super glad I didn't drop that money on Etsy. My budget is leaning more toward bills than presents at the moment ....

FruitFish said...

I remember talking with one of my coworkers who had a daughter in elementary school at the time and saying that teachers really don't want another candle (and that was just as a student teacher and hearing all the other teachers talking). To which she replied that that was what she got for her daughter to give to her teachers (ah, foot in mouth disease!) So when she said they were from Yankee Candle, I totally back peddled and told her those are really nice, so they'd probably love them :)