Now that Christmas is over, reviewing if you spent too much money and why while the season is still fresh in your mind is essential.  You can make a plan now, based on last month’s Christmas spending, to spend more wisely 10 months from now when Christmas rolls around again.

When Bookworm attended private school, I always struggled with the idea of giving his teacher a Christmas present.  After all, does it look like I’m asking for preferential treatment if I give a gift?  To avoid the potential ethical conflict, I would give the teacher a Christmas card and wait until the end of the year to give a gift.  That way, our relationship was over, and no matter what I gave, the teacher’s opinion about my son and his work would not be affected.

Americans are not alone in their desire to give their kids’ teachers presents.  The findings of a recent survey have provided evidence that the age-old tradition of parents in the UK treating their children’s teachers to a Christmas present is well and truly alive and kicking. UK budgeting account specialist commissioned the investigation, which found that roughly a fifth of British adults give Christmas presents to their child’s teacher. I couldn’t find data on American parents, but I’m guessing many more than 20% give their children’s teachers a Christmas present.

Why Do Parents Give Christmas Gifts to Teachers?

Why do parents like to give presents to their children’s teachers?  Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities:

It’s tradition! – Christmas is all about traditions. Could giving presents to teachers be another festive custom we just do automatically?

Raw ambition – …or do parents have an ulterior motive when they smilingly hand over a gift to their progeny’s teacher? It might be that some moms and dads believe a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine could pave the way to good exam results for their kids.

Contrition – There’s nothing like a good Christmas present as a means of saying sorry. The mothers and fathers of particularly unruly youngsters might feel a gift for the person who looks after their child for five days a week shows them how much they appreciate it.

Sweet disposition – Much of the above is a little cynical, so we’ll adopt a more cheery view and end the discussion by saying that maybe – just maybe – the majority of the parents who offer presents to their child’s teacher are doing so out of the kindness of their hearts. Thinkmoney’s director of communications Ian Williams agrees: “It’s heartening to see that hard-working parents can still find some spare cash to show their appreciation for their children’s teachers during the festive holiday. Christmas can be a difficult time financially for parents, particularly when the economy hasn’t been doing well. Our research shows that people really do think of others at Christmas time.”

Should You Cut Costs and Eliminate Your Child’s Teacher’s Present at Christmas?

During the holiday season, it can feel like everyone is vying for your money.  You need to buy gifts or leave larger than normal tips for the hair dresser, mail carrier, babysitter, teachers, basically anyone that helps you during the year.

I reduced the amount I had to pay out at Christmas by giving my child’s teacher a gift at the end of the school year instead.

If you’d still like to give a gift, remember, it doesn’t have to cost a lot.  You could make something like cookies or even a meal.  If you’re crafty, you could create something the teacher could display in the classroom.  The choice is yours.

What is your experience?  Do you give your child’s teacher a present at Christmas?


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