"Thank you is enough" says group urging parents not to buy Christmas presents for teachers
December is an expensive month – for everyone.
And if you are a parent, even more so.
There is a never-ending list of things that have to be bought, ordered and organized, and it all cost money. So much money.
Which is no doubt why a Scottish parenting group have now gone out and urged parents to think twice before picking up present for their child's school teacher this Christmas.
Why? Because buying teacher presents have in many places turned into yet another arena where parents are pitted against each other, competing to buy the most lavish, expensive present.
The Scottish parents’ organisation Connect is highlighting a growing online trade in bespoke gifts for teachers, with some items costing over £100, as it calls on local parent councils and Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) to discourage gift-giving this festive season.
Connect’s executive director, Eileen Prior, said: “We understand that families are really keen to show their appreciation and gratitude to their child’s teachers at Christmas, but this year we are urging parents to think carefully about what they are planning. A simple and heartfelt ‘thank you’ is enough.”
Retailers, of course, are cashing in on the trend of teacher presents.
Accordint to the Guardian, Marks & Spencer has many options in its teachers’ gifts section online, which promises: “From tempting chocolates to their favourite tipple, these top-class gifts for teachers will help little ones say thank you at the end of term.” On their UK website, the range includes boxed shortbread and whisky for £35 and a Miltonia orchid for £38.
Not on the High Street offers over 100 options in its gifts for teachers section, including a Letters of Gratitude Personalised Envelope Book for £31.75, to be filled by the class, as well as cushions, mugs and scented candles.
On Amazon you can find a teacher survival kit in a can, with earplugs, notebook and a whistle for £11.95, while a teacher’s wine glass with three engraved measure lines and the words “new term”, “half term” and “end of term” on them is £9.99 from The Gift Store.
Prior explained that expectations around Christmas put pressure on both children and parents, exposing financial differences between classmates and leading to clashes between parents over attitudes to appropriate gifts and affordability.<
“We hear from stressed parents who are being asked for £10 contributions to a class teacher’s present and told that if they can’t or won’t pay, their child’s name doesn’t get put on the card,” Prior said.
Connect’s recent parent survey on families struggling with financial hardship exposed how frequently involvement in the school community depended on spending money, be that contributing to end-of-term parties and fundraising activities or being able to afford a babysitter to attend evening events, Prior said.
The organisation has joined forces with the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) – Scotland’s largest teaching union – and Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) Scotland to press parents to think again about buying Christmas presents for teachers which, it points out, mainly happens in primary schools.
What do YOU think, parents? Have you felt pressured into contributing money towards a teacher gift/voucher? Do you think a card would be enough? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @herfamilydotie