Uh oh. The last days of school are winding down before Christmas break, which means we are heading into the dangerous waters of…(dun dun duuuuuuuuuunnnnnnn!) teacher gifts. When I was a kid, we had one teacher, and we brought them one gift. It was often something terrible that either we made, or got for $5 at the mall that had some sort of teacher or classroom or apple theme. Probably a mug or an ornament. In short, the same types of crappy gifts we got our parents until we hit middle school and realized that grown-ups like nice things too.
Times have changed. Nobody has just one teacher anymore. And to make matters
worse better, people now value teaching more and feel that perhaps they ought to express that appreciation around the holidays with things that teachers might actually desperately need. Starbucks gift cards mostly. Ruby has outdone herself this year. She has only one teacher (mostly), and Ruby made her a…well, she is not giving it to her until the last day of school, which is tomorrow, so I don’t want to put it out there into the world yet, just in case. Suffice it to say that it is of professional quality and I would not hesitate to pay real money for it. So we are covered there. I think she has a career in making things. But then we have Edward.
One of the things we love love love about Edward’s preschool is the amazing student-teacher ratio. There are almost as many teachers as there are kids! Except we don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on teachers presents this year. Not that they don’t deserve it, because they do, but we just can’t afford it. So he has his main teacher, plus her teaching partner, plus the Head-Start person, plus the two or three aides, plus the para-educators who help out the kids with special needs. Not to mention the bus driver, of whom we have six (the driver, the aide, and the other bus driver that sometimes helps, and they are different morning and afternoon)! We don’t know for sure just how many adults are in there, and we also don’t know all of their names. Ack! Help!
Feeling determined to get it right, Edward and I set out yesterday afternoon to do some shopping. Today is his last day of school, so this was it. Our only chance. I asked him what we wanted to get for his teachers. “Tablecloths from the dollar store,” he declared firmly. I considered this option, but decided to advise him against it. We passed the dollar store without stopping and continued on to K-Mart, land of teacher gifts and more. There we were sure to find the appropriate gifts for a large number of unnamed people.
“I think my teacher will like this,” Edward decided, pulling down from the shelf a stuffed Baymax from the movie Big Hero 6. Baymax was clutching a Baymax towel or blanket or something, and was on sale for $9.99. A tempting offer indeed.
“Does your teacher like Baymax?” I asked innocently, secretly hoping that he would go on to regale me with tales of his teacher gushing over the movie, and wearing Baymax t-shirts to school every day. This would mean we were done shopping and I could go clean the house for the photographer who was coming over to take our family Christmas photo in just a few short hours.
“Well, I like Baymax…” he said tentatively, his 4-year-old self unsure if this was a good enough reason to get his teacher this present. But even he could tell that it was a losing argument. We put Baymax back with the other Baymaxes (Baymaxi?) and continued looking.
Items that were in heavy consideration included a Transformers mug, some men’s cologne, and a pack of Skittles, but we finally decided on a honey pot, that came with a little honey serving thingamastick and a small bear filled with honey flavored glop. Perfect. A perfect teacher gift. Now we only needed 5 or 6 more at least.
Edward was drawn to a display of Christmas potholders, but wouldn’t commit to them because, as he told me, they don’t cook at school. I mentioned that perhaps his teachers did use stoves and/or ovens when not at school, but he would hear none of it. Teachers do not exist outside of school. The end. But under the display of potholders was a display of cute hand towels with penguins, and pine trees, and other cute designs on them. Should we get these? “Well, we do spill a lot at school…” Case closed.
We bought six hand towels, one of each design, and we came home and wrapped everything up. The big honey box was easy to differentiate from the other gifts, and since we didn’t label any of the towels he was instructed to just hand them out to whomever he felt needed a present. He got a Sharpie and wrote big “E”s on all of the wrapped gifts, so that the recipients would know who the presents were from, and we put them all in a plastic shopping bag and sent him off.
Teachers. I hope you like your towels. I hope you know that I wish we could have gotten all of you something from your Amazon wish lists. I hope you see the love and care with which Edward picked these gifts for you. He knows who you are, even if he can’t always remember all of your names, and you make a difference to him. Thanks you for the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice that you give every day for my child, and for all children. And if you would have rather had a stuffed Baymax blanket friend, let me know. There’s always next year.