Thursday, November 29, 2012

To Gift or Not To Gift

Assuming that none of you out there was the lucky Powerball winner (I mean $500M??  Can you imagine how much that will buy you at The Container Store or - gasp - Staples?!  The organizational possibilities are ENDLESS.  Don't even get me started on the shoes I could buy...), the question I'm thinking about today is to gift or not to gift. 

Every year at this time, in addition to keeping the lid on my boiling pot of friends who were oh-so-over-excited about the holidays, I began to think about putting together a gift to give them before our vacation.  A Holiday Something from me to them.  As with many things in my life, I have found that this situation is also a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Let me explain...

In my early years of teaching, I used all my bonus points and extra pocket change to buy each student two books I just knew they would love.  Joy!  Giving! 'Tis the season! 

Inspired by my own generosity (I have never been afraid to toot my own horn), I followed that gift up with At Home Kits Of Fabulous.  Each child got a new pencil box filled with fun art supplies and ideas for at-home-fun-while-on-vacation.  Ooooo!  Aaaaaa!  Fabulous!

Then I found one At Home Kit of Fabulousness discarded carelessly in the entry way of the school building.  Boo!  Hiss!  And a hearty dose of WTF?!

The next year, you got a pencil with a bow on it.  Blerg.

Then there was the year I began my doctoral work and had to pay for books, classes and, you know, food.  Hershey Kisses all around! 

But do you know what?  (Here's the part where I whip out that janky mirror and hold it up to  my old shriveled heart a-la-the-Grinch and you get to watch my heart burst with the joy of giving.  Consider yourself warned.)  When I gave out the books?  The kids flipped out and practically fell over themselves to hug me.  When I gave out the At Home Kits of Fabulousness?  The kids flipped out and practically fell over themselves to hug me.  When I gave out the pencils?  The kids flipped out and practically fell over themselves to hug me.  When I gave out the Hershey Kisses?  The kids flipped out and practically fell over themselves to hug me.

For real.  Of course, there were a few party poopers who could have given a rat's ass (hence my kit of fabulousness discarded on the floor), but you can't win them all right?  Bottom line?  My friends could have cared less what I got or how much it cost?  They were just thrilled that I thought to give them a gift - from me to you.  Nine times out of ten, each thoughtful gesture I extended to them was met with so much love and appreciation that I was blown away.  Every single time.

What about you?  

4 comments:

Em said...

I used to give new boxes of crayons, a pencil, a boon (bought with bonus points) and a candy cane. That was when you could get a box of crayons at back to school time for 20 cents though.

Realistic Teacher said...

I'm right there with you! As much as I love, love, love the holidays I feel like to much emphasis is put on gifts. My students earn a special celebration - we do an activity & have treats (provided by parents) and I provide them with a hershey kiss and a pencil. They love spending time with each other having "fun" rather than any big gift I could give them. Okay - off my soapbox!
So glad you posted about this because I always feel guilty!! :)

Realistic Teacher said...

I'm right there with you! As much as I love, love, love the holidays I feel like to much emphasis is put on gifts. My students earn a special celebration - we do an activity & have treats (provided by parents) and I provide them with a hershey kiss and a pencil. They love spending time with each other having "fun" rather than any big gift I could give them. Okay - off my soapbox!
So glad you posted about this because I always feel guilty!! :)

EmTeaches said...

Best gift I've ever given to my students....a Christmas card in which I included a snapshot of myself with the student, a class photo, and a personalized note (yes, I was up all night the night before as I am a terrible procrastinator). They read the note repeatedly to themselves and one another and many profess to still having it long after they've left my class. I may have spent $5.00 total on the entire class's "gift" and a bit of time, but I promise that they treasured it.

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