OK don’t hate me, but I don’t usually buy my students Christmas or holiday gifts. I see all these teachers talking about what they are going to buy their students for Christmas and I wonder how they would react if they knew that I did not buy gifts for my students as a whole. Hear me out before you start throwing stones. Here’s my train of thought:
- I would rather spend my money on things so my students can EXPERIENCE the GIVING of GIFTS. In my class we make lots of gifts for other people through the entire year and not just at Christmas. For example, during Thanksgiving we give a Thanksgiving card to several people we love with a cute little turkey handprint on it. And sometimes during Mother’s Day I will buy those mylar balloons on plastic sticks so the kids can surprise their moms. And during the winter holiday / Christmas season my class gives to all of our specials teachers and our support staff throughout the school. We make extra ornaments and projects and as a class we deliver them the week before the holiday break. To me it is much more worth my money to let kids experience the giving as opposed to the receiving something small from me.
- There is usually 1 or 2 kids in my class who really need the help during Christmas. Instead of getting each of my students one small gift I will make sure that 1 or 2 students’ families have everything they need for the holidays. I will advocate for them with agencies, shop for essentials, and make sure these students have 2-3 gifts for under the tree. I will even make sure the parents (or guardians) have something small to open as well.
- Kids get so much these days as gifts and especially at Christmas. Even in low-income neighborhoods (and I have worked in some very poverty-stricken schools) most students in my class have had pretty good holidays from what I am aware of.
My job, my career, my passion is to teach children to not just read and write but to be compassionate people who will be successful in the world. This is just one of the many ways I try to achieve that.
In 14 years of teaching I have never had a child or parent complain that I did not give out gifts for Christmas. I am not against those who do, nor am I saying those who do don’t do the things listed above (because I know they do.) Just wanted to put it out there – get it off my chest.